Snowden’s girlfriend gives moral support in Russia

By Anne Smolchenko and Jennie Matthew, AFP

MOSCOW/NEW YORK — U.S. fugitive Edward Snowden, who was granted asylum by Moscow after revealing the extent of U.S. global surveillance, has been reunited with his girlfriend in Russia, his lawyer said Saturday. Snowden’s longtime partner, American dancer Lindsay Mills, joined him in Moscow in July, it emerged Friday.

“Love is love,” Snowden’s lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told AFP. “She lives with him when she comes here. Moral support is very important for Edward.”

He said Mills does not live in Russia permanently because of visa constraints but visits frequently. The couple, who previously lived in Hawaii, have been busy exploring Russia, he added. “They go to theaters and cultural events together.” Kucherena spoke after a documentary by Laura Poitras, shown at advance screenings in New York late Friday, revealed Mills had joined him in Moscow over the summer. The two-hour documentary — due for release on Oct. 24 — paints an intimate and sympathetic portrait of Snowden holed up in a Hong Kong hotel in June 2013 as he blows the whistle on National Security Agency dealings and then plots his escape.

Mills is shown preparing dinner with Snowden in a wood-paneled kitchen, but the couple’s conversation is not recorded and she is not interviewed. The whereabouts of Mills, who once referred to herself on a blog as “a world-traveling, pole-dancing super hero,” were not previously known. She has never spoken publicly about her boyfriend, who has been charged in the United States with espionage, and some reports had suggested that the couple had split. ‘I may not be coming back’ But the documentary “Citizenfour” hints at a much closer union. It shows Snowden breaking the news online to Mills from Hong Kong that he would not be back anytime soon after she told him agents had turned up at their home in Hawaii, suspicious about his absence from work.