World News

06.25.13

Edward Snowden Is Livin’ the Dream at Sheremetyevo International Airport

If he’s really there, Edward Snowden might be having a blast. From fear-of-flying therapy to free Wi-Fi and fresh OJ, the airport’s not a bad place to hide out.

Call him a hero, call him a traitor—at the moment, NSA leaker Edward Snowden is nothing more than a bona fide globetrotter. And by globe we mean the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. While the White House desperately searches for a way to bring the fleeing leaker back to America, Snowden’s living it up in style. Below, some key details about his latest home away from home.

Where is he?

If Vladimir Putin is to be believed, Edward Snowden is currently residing in the transit section of Sheremetyevo International Airport. When we called the information number on the airport’s website, we were put through to a woman named Daria, the only person around who seemed to speak enough English to answer our questions. Daria, an “information service specialist” who provided only her first name, said that without a passport, transit passengers are generally not permitted to leave the transit area. But she did say that in special cases, like perhaps that of Snowden, the rules might be different. Whether he can access all the amenities that Russia’s largest airport has to offer is unclear. But if anyone can work the system, we’re betting on this guy.

The basics

The transit area, Daria explains, is made up of “three terminals: D, E, and F.” She added that because of its size, security is extremely tight. “Even airport employees of the transit section need to present special paperwork when they leave and enter,” she told The Daily Beast.

If he’s hungry ...

Whether he’s stuck in the transit section or has access to restaurants in other terminals, Snowden is likely far from starving. “There are plenty of restaurants ... at least a dozen,” Daria said. From American classics like Subway to Russian coffee houses like Shokoladnitsa, he’s got a buffet of options. Perhaps he’s testing out Burger King’s new summer barbecue menu or digging into a Caesar salad from Costa. And for dessert? Cinnabon, of course.

If he feels like shopping ...

If duty-free is his name, then shopping’s his game. The airport boasts an incredible amount of duty-free shops, selling everything from Swarovski crystals to fresh-cut flowers to alcohol to ... ladybug backpacks. Snowden could refresh his toiletries at Doctor Stoletov pharmacy, bolster his disguise with Fendi sunglasses from Dufry Moscow Sunglasses, or keep his tech prowess with some new gadgets from Euroset.

If he’s anxious about his flight ...

Two weeks ago the airport unveiled a new state-of-the-art “fear-of-flying treatment express center.” The center, in Terminal E, is “designed to provide precounseling to passengers” before they take off. Counseling sessions last between 30 and 60 minutes and use an “aviation psychologist” who uses VRET (virtual-reality exposition therapy) to help passengers cope with panic before flights. Coincidence that it opened right before Snowden passed through? You be the judge.

If he needs a drink ...

One of the most popular places to hang out is (or was), according to FourSquare reviews, a watering hole, open 24/7, called Kelly O’Conners Irish Pub. Also popular, especially among the transit crowd, is a bar-restaurant called Cheri —described by one reviewer as having a bizarre range of menu items, from Japanese to European. A few terminals boast vending machines that dispense fresh orange juice.

If duty-free is his name, then shopping’s his game.

If he wants to light up ...

Much to the chagrin of many reviewers, the Sheremetyevo airport is a smoker’s paradise! “You can practically smoke anywhere as there is no designated rooms, just air conditioner,” one reviewer writes. “The terminal is a smoking terminal with 'smoking zones' consisting of ashtrays placed around the terminal but not segregated from non smokers in any way,” says another.

If he needs to catch some Z’s ...

If Snowden has been lucky enough to escape the uncomfortable chairs at the airport, he’s likely to have stayed at the Hotel V-Express, a new capsule hotel where transit passengers can rent a room for as few as four hours. While some have claimed that it’s a two-star hotel at best, others report the rooms as “tiny but nice.”

If he wants to keep on whistleblowin’ ...

As long as he’s got his laptop, he probably can. The single best amenity at the Sheremetyevo airport, say the reviewers, is the free Wi-Fi.