Edward Snowden is not the first member of the foreign intelligence community to be granted asylum in Moscow. But he will certainly have an easier time of it than his predecessors did, because things here most definitely ain't what they used to be. Still, thinking about what it was like for those colleagues of his, young Eddie would do well to consider the following 10 pieces of advice.
1. He should not put off studying Russian because, after all, there's no time like the present. And he must not even think about complaining that there's no time, or it's a really hard language, even though those are perfectly valid excuses for not cracking the books. Donald Maclean of the Cambridge Five1 gritted his teeth and learned his Russian. He then landed a slew of consulting jobs, wrote books, published articles in some pretty serious periodicals, and was fun to be around and a big hit with his many new Russian friends.
2. He should live downtown. He will be a busy man – no doubt about that – and the commute from a suburban villa to Moscow and back again will take four hours out of his day. And the Moscow gridlock is going to get very old very fast. He's still a youngster, unlike George Blake,2 who at the fine old age of 90 prefers the country life.
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