Moscow (AFP) – U.S.security leaker Edward Snowden is set to start a new job at a major Russian website, three months after the fugitive was given asylum in Russia, his lawyer said Thursday.
“Edward Snowden will start working at a big Russian company on Friday, November 1. His job will be to support and develop a major Russian website,” lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told Interfax news agency.
Tantalizingly, Kucherena declined to give the name of the company, citing security concerns.
Speculation over Snowden’s new employer centered on the Russian equivalent of Facebook, Vkontakte, whose charismatic founder Pavel Durov publicly offered Snowden a post in August.
Its press secretary Georgy Lobushkin told RIA Novosti news agency he could not comment.
Two other major Russian Internet companies, Mail.Ru Group and Yandex said they had not hired Snowden, RIA Novosti reported.
Snowden received temporary asylum in Russia in August after exposing massive surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency. Since then he has been living in hiding.
His lawyer has said in interviews that the fugitive is running short of money.
So far a supporters’ website has raised almost $49,000 in donations.
Popular Russian website “Life News” published a photograph on Thursday apparently showing Snowden on a boat trip in central Moscow, without glasses and wearing a cloth cap.
The website, which specializes in sensational scoops, said the photograph was taken in September and that it paid the 100,000 rubles ($3,122) for the image sent via its smart phone app.
The same website earlier this month published a photograph of Snowden pushing a shopping trolley, later confirmed as authentic by his Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena.
The new photograph is much better quality and taken from a closer angle. It shows the landmark Moscow church of Christ the Saviour in the background and was taken on the Moscow river that flows past the Kremlin.
“Life News,” which has close contacts with law enforcement officials, said the photograph “proves that the former U.S. agent either lives permanently in Moscow or visits regularly.”
The man resembling Snowden is standing by the railing of a river pleasure boat, next to a woman seen from behind with pinned-up blonde hair, who could be Sarah Harrison, the employee of WikiLeaks who has accompanied Snowden since his arrival in Moscow.
He is not wearing glasses as Snowden often does, but shadows his face with a bulky cream cap.
A video was released this month showing Snowden meeting four U.S. whistleblowers, who presented him with an award in an unidentified location that appeared to be in Russia.
Snowden spent more than a month in a Moscow airport before receiving a year’s temporary asylum and heading to a secret address.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday questioned the sincerity of international outrage at Snowden’s revelations on surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency.
“I’m sure that everyone knew everything, or at least guessed,” Lavrov said.