Edward Snowden has applied for an extension of his year-long asylum in Russia, according to his lawyer. Anatoly Kucherena, who has represented the NSA whistleblower since last year, tells Russia Today that he and Snowden have "fulfilled the procedure to receive temporary asylum ... We have submitted documents to prolong his stay in Russia." The decision was widely expected, and Snowden said in a May interview with NBC that although he would like to return to the US, he would "of course" apply for an extension if the asylum looked like it was about to run out. Earlier this month, The Moscow Times cited a report by Russian news service Izvestia that he had submitted a petition before June 30th, the deadline for an asylum application. His current asylum term expires on July 31st.
Kucherena did not reveal whether Snowden would potentially be applying for Russian citizenship, saying only that "the decision lies with the Federal Migration Service." Wolfgang Kaleck, Snowden's lawyer in Germany, has previously said that he expects Russia to extend the asylum. Snowden has resided in Russia since being grounded in the country after leaving Hong Kong in June of 2013. After applying unsuccessfully in several other countries, he was granted asylum on August 1st, raising tensions with the US. His stay there has led to continued accusations of providing information to Russia or being a Russian spy, something Snowden has vehemently denied, saying that he has little interaction with the government and no longer has access to the documents, which were published with the help of former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, documentarian Laura Poitras, and others.
The effects of Snowden's leaked documents have continued to resonate since the first publication in June 2013 revealed a nationwide phone surveillance program. While their release has slowed, Glenn Greenwald, who recently published a book on Snowden and American surveillance, has continued to publish reports at The Intercept. Most recently, an article published this morning alleges that the NSA and FBI monitored the emails of high-profile American Muslims, including the executive director of the civil rights organization Counsel on American-Islamic Relations.