If Snowden’s stay in Moscow stretches into the fall, he would be in the Russian capital at the same time President Obama is scheduled to visit Moscow for a meeting with Mr. Putin. Mr. Obama is set to attend a G20 summit in St. Petersburg Sept. 5-6, and had accepted the Russian leader’s invitation to add Moscow to his itinerary for a bilateral meeting.
But with Russia harboring Snowden, furious members of Congress are calling on Obama to demand a venue change for the G20 summit, to snub Putin’s invitation to a bilateral summit meeting – and even to keep the US out of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The White House has indicated that a G20 venue change and an Olympics no-show are not under consideration. But Obama could still decide to opt out of the sit-down with Putin, some US officials suggest – especially since Putin snubbed Obama’s meeting of G8 leaders at Camp David last year.
Russia could also move more quickly on Snowden’s request for temporary asylum – in which case the fugitive from US justice would have the legal status to make his way to one of the Latin American countries that has offered him permanent asylum. Quick action on Snowden’s request seems all the more likely since Putin himself has indicated he prefers to see the young American bid Russia adieu.
But Snowden could still be in Russia for months to come, or even longer. A Russian lawyer who is helping Snowden with his asylum paperwork, Anatoly Kucherena, said earlier this week that Snowden has not ruled out seeking Russian citizenship.