Gerard Depardieu 'pleased' to become Russian citizen

Film still of Gerard Depardieu as Grigory Rasputin Gerard Depardieu played eccentric Russian monk Grigory Rasputin in a Franco-Russian film in 2011

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Actor Gerard Depardieu has hailed Russia's decision to grant him citizenship, following a tax row with the government in his native France.

In an open letter, he said he loved Russia, calling it "a great democracy".

Mr Depardieu had recently announced he would give up his French passport after the government criticised his decision to move abroad to avoid higher taxes.

Moscow earlier said President Vladimir Putin had personally signed the decree granting the actor Russian citizenship.

In December, Mr Putin had said he would be happy to welcome the actor in his new country. "If he'd like to have a Russian passport, consider it settled," Mr Putin said.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault had called Mr Depardieu's decision to leave the country "shabby".

In the letter, broadcast on Thursday on Russian TV station Pervyi Kanal, Mr Depardieu said: "I filed a passport application and I am pleased that it was accepted.

"I love your country, Russia - its people, its history, its writers. I love your culture, your intelligence."

He said that he had spoken to French President Francois Hollande and told him Russia was "a great democracy, and not a country where the prime minister calls one of its citizens shabby".

'Friend of Putin'

Under France's civil code, dual citizenship is permitted but it is unlawful to be stateless.

A person must obtain another nationality before giving up French citizenship.

Mr Depardieu's highly publicised tax row began last year after Mr Hollande said he would raise taxes to 75% for those earning more than 1m euros (£817,400).

The actor accused the new socialist government of punishing "success, creation and talent", and announced in early December that he would move to Belgium.

Moscow residents on Depardieu becoming a Russian citizen

Although the Constitutional Council struck down the tax rise proposal on Sunday, Mr Depardieu said this did not change the situation "one bit".

The BBC's Hugh Schofield in Paris says the series of events would be amusingly eccentric, were it not also serious in its implications for France's international image.

Mr Depardieu, described by Mr Putin as a successful businessman and friend, has developed close ties with Russia, which has a flat 13% personal income tax rate.

He currently appears in an advertisement for Sovietsky Bank's credit card and is prominently featured on the bank's home page.

In 2011, he played the lead role in the film Rasputin, a Franco-Russian production about the life of eccentric monk Grigory Rasputin.

In addition, Mr Depardieu has also helped raise funds for a children's hospital in St Petersburg.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 667.

    Nice. Now someone should warn Mr.Depardieu that from now on he should watch his mouth. Russia is not France.

    Those who dare to speak loud against Mr.Putin have some stories to tell. About the taxes...well, Mr Depardieu may ask Mr.Khodorkovsky about how the Russian democracy collects taxes and which is the percentage that he pays. Abramovich is NOT an idiot who just liked the weather in the UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 666.

    If every non-rich citizen made a pact with each other to spend a period collecting provisions then withdrew their labour all the infrastructure the rich depend on would fail with no one to pay the rates/taxes as would their businesses & their gold & shares'd become worthless.

    This's why US SWAT teams rousted OCCUPY & people who use their gardens for self sufficiency in case it catches on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 665.

    Of course we need people with an entreprenurial spirit, this doesn't make entrepreneurs saints & it does not make them more valuable than your average sewer maintenance man or dust cart operative who keep our towns & cities free of vermin & disease. I bet there are many sewer workers & dust cart operatives who would love to be remunerated to the level where they are obliged to pay higher rate tax.

  • rate this

    Comment number 664.


    “you support the lopsided system that allows him to fleece you.”

    Are you daft? All the money M. Depardieu has received from me I gave freely. The same cannot be said of the legalized theft practiced on him by the French government.

  • rate this

    Comment number 663.

    If I am correct France operates a progressive tax system. If this is the case only income made over 1 million Euros will be tax at the top rate. I do think 75% is an excessive rate and quite short sighted from a development and investment point of view but I cannot support a person leaving a country to avoid paying tax when that country has given the person so much.

  • rate this

    Comment number 662.

    Governments world over trying to squeeze more & more money out of us all, rich, middle classes & the poor. Slashing hospital & school services. Depardieu's act is understandable. Here in the UK VAT @ 20%, taxes + NI = 40%+. Fuel tax 50%. Everyone one must understand how our governments have fed banks & at the greatest expense of our people. Spending out of control & hyper-inflation will come!

  • rate this

    Comment number 661.

    Says Totalastronomy (#450): “Francoise Hollande [. . .].”

    Cherchez la femme.

  • rate this

    Comment number 660.

    Calling Russia "a great democracy"? What's next? Calling himself intelligent?

  • Comment number 659.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 658.

    Oh to be in the higher tax bracket of whatever country I am a native, you wouldn't hear me complaining. Didn't Mr. Depardieu establish his great personal wealth & income living in a country which with others expended blood & treasure keeping the Russians at bay all through the cold & not so cold war, not of course Mr. Depardieu's blood even if he contributed some small part of his treasure.

  • rate this

    Comment number 657.

    If Scotland don't go for Indy I'm doing exactly the same!

  • rate this

    Comment number 656.

    History recounts that the French had a revolution where the rich did 'rich things' as the poor faced hardship. seems to be happening all over the Western world again. Maybe a worldwide revolution to get rid of this stupid bank/debt spiral is what is needed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 655.

    Barclays is at the epicentre of a global fraud scandal - HSBC for money laundering for criminals.Why censor fact?

    645. ThoughtCrime

    #534, your points are fine in theory but what gives you the right to tell someone what they must do with the money they earned?
    What gives you the right to assert they've "earned it" - the appropriate description would be received.

  • rate this

    Comment number 654.

    Can somebody give me Mr. Depardieu's address so that I can forward him a long handled spoon?

  • rate this

    Comment number 653.

    Getting russian passport doesn't imply he has to live in Russia or abandon Belgium citizenship (if he get one).
    I suppose he still will be living in EU and will be visiting Russia on occasions to pay taxes.
    By the way I heard he owns vineyards in Ukraine - another exUSSR country, and he was in Russia before many times, so I think it is not just a rash act for him.

  • Comment number 652.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 651.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 650.

    Mr. Depardieu, like most celebrities, is an idiot! He'll do just fine in Russia until he says something that pisses Putin off. Then his 'democratic savior' will turn on him... Good luck Jerry!

  • rate this

    Comment number 649.

    re. #635.cosmosmentis:
    "Even a 5-year-old child can grasp that what is at issue is not such about talent as equality.'

    Balderdash! If it was about equality then everyone would be equally talented, work equally hard, earn equal compensation, be taxed at the same rate, and be equally motivated to suceed. Even a 5 year old knows that's a fairy tale.

  • Comment number 648.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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