In what can be compared to a cold war era defection from the West to the Soviet Union, French actor, Gerard Depardieu has relinquished is French citizenship to become a Russian because of a dispute with the French government over taxation. Read the details below:
French actor Depardieu meets Putin, picks up Russian passport
Putin signed a decree on Thursday granting
Russian citizenship to Depardieu, who objected to French Socialist
president Francois Hollande's plan to impose the 75 percent tax rate.
His decision to quit France had prompted accusations of national betrayal.
Russian president and Depardieu were shown on state-run Channel One
shaking hands and hugging each other early on Sunday during what the
Kremlin said was a private visit by the actor to Russia.
brief meeting between the president and Depardieu took place," Kremlin
spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. "On the occasion of his visit to Russia,
he was handed a Russian passport."
did not say whether Putin personally gave Depardieu the passport or if
he picked it up through standard procedures. He said the actor also told
Putin about his career plans.
star of the movies "Cyrano de Bergerac" and "Green Card", is a popular
figure in Russia, where he has appeared in many advertising campaigns, including for ketchup. He also worked there in 2011 on a film about the eccentric Russian monk Grigory Rasputin.
asked Depardieu whether he was pleased with his work in the movie, TV
footage of their meeting showed, with the French actor saying he had
already sent Putin some excerpts from it.
bought a house in Belgium last year to avoid the French income tax
increase. French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called Depardieu's
decision to seek Belgian residency "pathetic" and unpatriotic, prompting
an angry response from the actor.
said last month that Depardieu would be welcome in Russia, which has a
flat income tax rate of 13 percent, compared to the 75 percent on income
over 1 million euros ($1.30 million) that Hollande wants to levy in France.
offered Depardieu a Russian passport, saying he had a close, special
relationship with France and had developed warm ties with the actor,
even though they had rarely met.
Some of Putin's critics said the passport move was a stunt and pointed out that the president announced last month a campaign to prevent rich Russians keeping their money offshore.
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