Gerard Depardieu registered as Russian resident

French actor Gerard Depardieu holds his passport registration Mr Depardieu has said he loves Russian culture

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French actor Gerard Depardieu has been formally registered as a permanent resident of the central Russian town of Saransk.

The actor sought Russian citizenship after the French government criticised his decision to move abroad to avoid higher taxes.

Mr Depardieu is now registered as living at No 1, Democracy Street in Saransk, in the region of Mordovia.

After the ceremony, the actor beamed and proclaimed a few words in Russian.

"Glory! Glory to Saransk, glory to Mordovia, glory to Russia!" he said.

He was quoted as telling Russian television that his registered new address, on Demokraticheskaya [Democratic] Street, was quite "symbolic".

Passport by decree

On Friday, after visiting Moscow's famed Bolshoi Theatre and the Illuzion cinema, Mr Depardieu said he was very familiar with Russian culture.

"I love it very much. I also know your composers. I can say that I was born with Russian culture."

Mr Depardieu was granted Russian citizenship by a decree signed by Mr Putin on 3 January.

The central Russian region of Mordovia Mr Depardieu will call home is known for its Stalin-era prison camps.

The French star's highly publicised tax row began last year after President Francois Hollande said he would raise taxes to 75% for those earning more than 1m euros (£870,000).

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

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault branded his decision to move abroad as "shabby and unpatriotic".

The actor, described by Mr Putin as a 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.

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