Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered French actor Gerard Depardieu the chance to get a Russian passport. Putin says that the 63-year-old actor, who is in the midst of a bitter tax row with the socialist government in France, is welcome to move to Russia whenever he wants.
Putin weighed into the debate raging over the increase in taxes. Putin praised the renowned actor and offered the Frenchman the opportunity to become a citizen and move to Russia in response to a question that was put to him during his annual televised press conference. “If Gerard really wants to have either a residency permit in Russia or a Russian passport, we will assume that this matter is settled and settled positively,” he says.
Last Tuesday the French daily newspaper Le Monde reported that the actor had informed his close friends that he was taking into consideration three options, under which he could escape the new tax regime in France: to move to Belgium, where he already owns a home; to go to Montenegro, where he owns a business; or to flee to Russia. “Putin has already sent me a passport,” Le Monde quoted the French superstar as saying.
Depardieu is famous in Russia because of his appearances in a number of different advertising campaigns, and this year he was one of several celebrities from the West who were invited to the country to celebrate the birthday of the Kremlin-backed Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov.