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Snowden will 'build a new life in Russia': lawyer

Fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden's new refugee documents granted by Russia is seen during a news conference in Mosc
Fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden's new refugee documents granted by Russia is seen during a news conference in Mosc

MOSCOW (Reuters) - U.S. fugitive Edward Snowden will publish no more leaks but instead look to build a life in Russia where he has been granted a year-long asylum, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Anatoly Kucherena, a Russian lawyer who is assisting Snowden, said the 30-year-old has found shelter in a private home of American expatriates after leaving Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport following more than five weeks in limbo there.

A pledge not to publish more information that could harm the United States was the condition under which Russian President Vladimir Putin said the American could receive safe harbor.

But Snowden's promise does not extend to the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy group to which he has already handed over much of his material, Kucherena said. He has also said that Snowden does not believe his earlier leaks had done harm to his homeland.

It is likely to do little to appease the White House, which wants Snowden sent home to face trial for leaking details of secret government surveillance programs and which has signaled President Barack Obama may boycott a summit with Putin over the case.

"Edward assured me that he is not planning to publish any documents that blacken the American government," Kucherena said.

"But before that he said... when he was in Hong Kong he gave a part of that material to journalists, so that material, of course, he can't take back."

Kucherena, who sits on two high-profile Russia government advisory bodies, said the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor wants to rent a flat and find work in Russia, and has no immediate plans to leave.

"Snowden is an expert, a very high-level expert and I am receiving letters from companies and citizens who would eagerly give him a job. He will not have any problems," the lawyer said.

"He needs to work. He is not a rich man, and the money that he had, he has of course, spent on food. Of course, he understands that he has to work and he has to keep on living."

Snowden was already offered a job by Russia's top social networking site on Thursday, hours after the former intelligence contractor received asylum in Russia.

Moscow has refused Washington's repeated requests to hand Snowden over to face trial on espionage charges after he leaked details of secret U.S. surveillance programs involving phone and Internet data.

Although the spat over his fate has heightened tensions with Washington, Snowden is also a useful propaganda tool for Moscow, which often accuses the United States of preaching on human rights abroad what it does not practice at home.

A Kremlin-funded television station has made Wikileaks founder Julian Assange the host of his own program, while Russian spy Anna Chapman has found work with a bank and stars in her own TV show since she was deported by the United States in a 2011 Cold War-style swap.

Kucherena suggested Snowden might hope for the same hero's welcome in Russia.

"I don't exclude that he will have his own TV show," he told Reuters.

(Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Michael Roddy)

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