There are several techniques to earn a doctorate from a German university. One of the more common means is to plagiarize your dissertation (Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, Annette Schavan). Another way is to steal state secrets and leak them to the public:
The University of Rostock wants to give the former security contractor the doctorate after he leaked thousands of confidential documents exposing a mass spying programme which have embarrassed the US National Security Agency (NSA) as well as the UK’s security services.
The dean of the university’s philosophy department, Hans Jürgen Wensierski, said: “We owe it to Snowden to not forget him while he is in Moscow when he has dedicated himself to exposing truth,” the Berliner Zeitung reported.
He added: “We are impressed with the civic courage and civil disobedience of Mr Snowden. Moral courage is a central theme in research and teaching of the social sciences and humanities.”
Wensierski said civil disobedience such as that shown by Snowden was an important part of modern democracy. "Think about Rosa Parks in the 1950s, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Gandhi - all citizens who infringed states’ laws in the service of the greater good.”
I'm certain this honorary degree is also endorsed by Edward Snowden's landlord - Vladimir Putin. Putin is more than pleased that he has helped to drive a wedge between Germany and the United States. No doubt the professors of the University of Rostock believe that conferring this honorary doctorate is a brave act of defiance against the "soft-totalitarian" (Der Spiegel) American nation. Meanwhile Putin delights in presenting Snowden together with dignitaries from the German Green Party who are making a pilgrimage to Russia for photo ops with their hero.
While German officials fall over each other to praise Snowden, there is silence with respect to a true hero, who disappeared in Vladimir Putin's archipelago of prisons. Nadeschda Tolokonnikowa of the girl band Pussy Riot, was imprisoned for "blasphemy" and sent off to Siberia. The columnist Georg Diez is one of the few journalists who has investigated the young woman's fate:
Wochenlang war nicht bekannt, wo sie sich aufhielt, sie war auf einmal einfach verschwunden: nachdem sie ausführlich von dem Gulag-Gängelsystem berichtet hatte, dass russische Gefängnisse immer noch existieren. Nachdem sie erzählt hatte, wie sie 17 Stunden am Tag stumpf an ihrer Nähmaschine arbeiten muss und von den Mitgefangenen malträtiert und bedroht wird. Nachdem sie aus Protest gegen all das in den Hungerstreik getreten war - Nadeschda Tolokonnikowa, Gesicht des Protests, Ikone des Widerstands, Heiligenfigur des 21. Jahrhunderts.
(For weeks her whereabouts were unknown, she just suddenly disappeared: after she had had reported from the Gulag-system that Russian prisons still exist. After she told how she was forced to work 17 hours a day at her sewing machine and how she was mistreated and threatened by the other prisoners. Afterwards, to protest what was happening to her, she went on a hunger strike. Nadeschda Tlokonniowa: the face of protest, icon of the resistance, a saint of the 21st century.)
But the German press and the left are silent about her fate - out of respect for Putin, the Nemesis of the hated United States. Yes it is unfortunate that Putin sends protesters like Nadeschda to Siberia, that he has his thugs beat up and imprison gays and lesbians, that he arrests opposition candidates and murders reporters who investigate his corrupt regime. Because, after all, those facts are inconsequetial compared to the fact that the US monitored the chancellor's cell phone.