Freedom’s parlous condition in Russia is not exactly a secret today, nor was it when [Edward] Snowden chose to fly to Moscow last summer and ask for political asylum. If his objective is to give people a voice in how they are governed, and to expose massive unbridled surveillance, he could speak out about practices of the Russian government that, in their scope and lawlessness, go far beyond anything ever undertaken or even alleged to have been undertaken by the U.S. government.
For better or for worse, Snowden has a huge following around the world. His words are listened to by millions — so he could make a difference where it counts. Yet he has been silent about the surveillance and other repressive state machinery surrounding him. Why? Is he being polite to his hosts? Does he have concerns about what the FSB might do in response to what he might say?
Whatever the answer, Snowden’s silence about the quasi-dictatorship where he has taken sanctuary is telling. It is yet more evidence, if evidence were needed, that he is not a whistleblower at all. It suggests that, instead of being a brave speaker of truths, he fears American justice, and not only American justice. It also suggests he is a hypocrite, with principles that he applies selectively against the democracy he has betrayed.
—Gabriel Schoenfeld. Read the whole thing, which is superbly written and highly informative.