31/10/2013 12:55 GMT

Edward Snowden Gets Offered Web Job - Is It With Russia's 'Facebook' VKontakte?

Whistleblower Edward Snowden is to begin a new job in Russia, working on security systems for a major website.

The former National Security Agency contractor will start work next month, after being granted asylum in the country when he fled the US, according to his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, who spoke to the state news agency RIA.

"He is studying Russian now. As to his working in a Russian team, I’ve already said he is going to work in tech support of one of the largest companies," Kucherena told Voice of Russia. "You should understand that this kind of job first of all requires one to have expertise in computer software and program," he added.

Former National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden speaks during a presentation ceremony for the Sam Adams Award in Moscow

Snowden, who was temporarily stranded in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, when the US cancelled his passport as he attempted to reach South America from Hong Kong, can stay in the country for a year. The asylum can then be renewed annually.

Kucherena would not disclose Snowdon's location in Russia, his salary or the identity of his employer. He has only been seen on scant occasions since leaving Moscow's airport, including once at an awards dinner in the capital, where he met with ex-security officials from the US who back his cause.

In August, Snowden received a tempting job offer from Pavel Durov, the 28-year-old founder and chief executive of Vkontakte, Russia’s equivalent of Facebook.

"We invite Edward to St. Petersburg, and we will be happy if he decides to join Vkontakte’s star-studded programming team,” Durov wrote in a blogpost.

"In the end, there is no more popular European Internet company than VK. I think Edward might be interested in the protection of personal data for millions of our people."

Durov is no friend of the Kremlin, and shares some of Snowden's radical tech-libertarian views on surveillance, and a web free of censorship and restriction.

VK has come under pressure from the Russian government after Durov's refusal to block opposition groups from the site in 2011. His home has also been raided by police, and Durov leads a secretive existence.

VKontakte spokesman Georgy Lobushkin said he could not comment on the issue, but would not rule out his company had recruited Snowden, according to RIA.

Other major Russian online companies, including Yandex and, have denied hiring Snowden.