Gerard Depardieu ‘granted Russian citizenship’

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


French actor Gerard Depardieu has obtained Russian citizenship, according to a brief statement posted on the Kremlin website.
“Vladimir Putin has signed a decree granting Russian citizenship to Gerard Depardieu,” the message read.
Mr Depardieu recently announced he would give up his French passport after the government criticised his decision to move abroad to avoid higher taxes.
In December, Mr Putin said he would be happy to welcome the actor in Russia.
“I’m sure the French authorities did not want to offend Mr Depardieu. But if he’d like to have a Russian passport, consider it settled,” Mr Putin said during his annual news conference on 20 December.
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 has not yet commented on the Kremlin’s latest announcement.

‘Shabby’ decision

His highly publicised tax row began last year after Socialist President Francois Hollande said he planned to raise taxes to 75% for those earning more than 1m euros (£817,400).
Lambasting the government for punishing “success, creation and talent”, the actor announced in early December that he would move to Belgium.
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault retaliated by calling the decision “shabby”.
Although the Constitutional Council struck down Mr Hollande’s tax rise proposal on Sunday, Mr Depardieu said this did not change the situation “one bit”.
The French actor, 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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