PSYCH JULY 9, 2013
It's been a while since we've had an update on NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who, for the last two and a half weeks, has been living in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport.
Today, the AP sent out an alert saying that "a lawmaker close to the Kremlin" tweeted that Snowden had accepted Venezuela's offer of asylum. (In case you missed it, Venezuela was all, hey, Snowden, make up your mind and tell us when you plan on arriving, okay?)
Then, just as Western Moscow-based reporters started jumping on the tweet, the tweet disappeared. The Guardian's Miriam Elder reached Putin's spokesman, who said, "If I were in his shoes, I would never send such a tweet without knowing more information." The lawmaker in question then tweeted defensively: "The information that Snowden accepted Maduro's asylum offer comes from the 6 pm hour of Vesti24," a Russian state news show. "All questions," the lawmaker said, "should be directed to them."
The lawmaker in question is Alexey Pushkov, one of the more delightfully bilious people in the gray constellation that is the Russian parliament. He is also adept at the twentieth-century Russian art of shape shifting to fit in with—and profit-from—the times: A child of the Soviet nomenklatura—he was born in Peking—he was once Mikhail Gorbachev's speechwriter, and, in the free-wheeling 1990s, a journalist. Today, he is one of Putin's most loyal foreign policy hawks. He famously alleged that the pro-democracy protests of 2011-2012 were State Department ruses, said Pussy Riot should be sent not to jail, but to the zoo, and called on his colleagues in the Russian parliament to ban adoptions of Russian children by people from countries where gay marriage is legal.
According to Wikipedia, his daughter Darya Pushkova is the London bureau chief of Russia Today. London, incidentally, is where RT contributor Julian Assange is based. Assange, as we know, has played the interloper this whole time, arranging Snowden's highly successful asylum caper and insinuating himself as "intermediary" between Snowden and his father—something Snowden Sr. did not appreciate.
Since no one could find the news show Pushkov was talking about, maybe RT is where he got it? But no, the Internet is wrong. According to various RT sources, Darya has worked at Russia Today. She was in London ages ago, but now she is a stay-at-home mom in Moscow.
And after that little flurry, we find ourselves exactly where we started this morning: Snowden is still stuck in Sheremetyevo—which is still nice, but not two-and-a-half-weeks nice—Wikipedia and Twitter are still shaky as sources of information, and Pushkov is still a vicious little shit.