The American whistle-blower seeks protection in a country that for years has violated civil rights and liberties, persecuted and locked away opposition members and wants to turn Snowden into a puppet.

Edward Snowden is moving to a country where nonsense flourishes. In days to come he will seek protection in a country whose leadership does not think highly of freedom. Of course, only a few places remain that would have received the former intelligence agency employee.

In Russia, he escapes the danger of further flight that Washington may have ended violently. Now the fate of a Kim Philby threatens the whistle-blower. After the British master spy fled to Moscow in 1963, he was permanently barred from his homeland. Philby died 25 years later, having grown lonely in exile in Moscow. However, Snowden’s decision to stay in Russia is by all means comprehensible.

It is already ludicrous that Russian President Vladimir Putin of all people is campaigning for freedom of expression. Shortly before the news of Snowden’s choice, Putin even allowed various Russian human rights groups to visit the National Security Agency employee in the transit area of the Moscow airport. Russian politics could not be more transparent.

Rowdy Gestures of a Show-Off

Vladimir Putin is using Edward Snowden and the Russian NGOs to position himself against the United States. For a long time the Moscow show-off has pursued this tactic with rowdy gestures to make his people believe that Russia is still a superpower at eye level with the U.S. Neither one nor the other is consistent with the facts.

The only strange thing is that the NGOs are participating in this game. Since the winter of 2011, the Kremlin has done everything possible to silence its opposition. Putin had protest gatherings violently dispersed, tightened demonstration rights and deleted unpopular websites. In addition, he set his state attorneys against Amnesty International Russia and Memorial.

Groups that are politically active and receive foreign donations must be registered as “foreign agents” as of last summer — and such a mark of Cain can bring numerous consequences with it in Russia.

Some followers of civil rights movements who are now rejoicing with Snowden in Moscow still face the threat of a trial due to alleged mass unrest that they supposedly participated in. They, and Snowden too, should know what Polish author Stanislaw Lec, experienced with totalitarian regimes, wrote: “It is easy to hang puppets. The strings are already there.”