Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

Snowden offered job at Russia's top social network

Hours after the fugitive was given temporary asylum in Russia, the country's hugely popular VKontakte site offers him work as a programmer.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read
VKontakte founder Pavel Durov's profile page. Screenshot by Dara Kerr/CNET

It's likely that Russia's top social-networking site VKontakte won't be seeking references from previous employers when recruiting U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden to its staff.

Despite being a wanted fugitive, Snowden appears to have no problem finding work. VKontakte offered Snowden a job as a programmer on Thursday, according to The New York Times.

"We invite Edward to St. Petersburg and will be thrilled if he decides to join our stellar team of programmers at VKontakte," the social network's founder Pavel Durov said in a VKontakte post. "At the end of the day, there is no European Internet company more popular than VK. I think Edward might be interested in protecting the personal data of our millions of users."

Snowden has been hunkered down in a Moscow airport for the last several weeks but was finally able to leave on Thursday. Much to the consternation of the U.S. government, Russia offered Snowden temporary asylum for one year. The whistleblower was also offered full asylum by several Latin American countries but has been unable to travel to the region because the U.S. revoked his passport.

Snowden is wanted by the U.S. for leaking top-secret documents to the media over the National Security Agency's surveillance practices. This leak has led to the public discovering that the government has been working to spy on people via metadata from Internet companies and cellular records in two programs -- the 2015 Program and PRISM. The NSA and the Obama administration have said the goals of the surveillance programs were to track down foreign terrorists and terrorist threats.

Snowden's Russian asylum papers allow him to work in the country, which is probably why Durov offered him a job. VKontakte, which is nearly identical to Facebook, is Russia's most popular social networking site. The site claims to have more than 210 million registered users with up to 47 million people checking in daily.