Snowden Retains FSB-Linked Lawyer

by Patrick Brennan

NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who’s residing in a Moscow airport and now seeking asylum in Russia, has hired legal counsel there that might get him purchase with the Russian security state, but isn’t likely to endear him to the U.S. government or human-rights organizations. AFP reports that Anatoly Kucherena, ”a Russian lawyer who helped Snowden file an application for asylum in Russia earlier Tuesday,” happens to “sit on the ‘public council’ of the Federal Security Service (FSB), which was created by Putin in 2006.”

President Vladimir Putin, an ex-KGB man himself, reorganized the old Soviet security agency into the FSB and a few other directorates in the 2000s, and the agency under his regime has been accused of a range of human-rights abuses and linked to some high-profile murders, including the polonium poisoning of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.

The council on which Kucherena sits is a public-relations body intended to improve communications with Russian citizens; its 15 members are approved by the FSB’s chief, currently Alexander Bornitkov, who is a close associate of and was appointed by Putin’s prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev. AFP notes that he runs a prestigious law practice in Moscow that takes on high-profile cases, and was a supporter of Vladimir Putin’s 2012 presidential bid.

Via Andrew Lebovich.