Putin has signed a decree granting Russian citizenship to French
film star and tax exile Gerard Depardieu, who is renouncing his
French citizenship to search for an easier tax climate outside of
his native country.
Award-nominated Depardieu is a regular in Moscow. The actor made
headlines across the world when he announced in late December that
Putin has already sent me a passport! The statement
was a joke, but it soon became reality.
The day after
the announcement, Putin told a press conference that the French
bon vivant was a welcome guest in Russia: If Gerard Depardieu
really wants to have Russian residence permit or a Russian passport,
we can consider the issue resolved positively."
said that he has long had kind, friendly, personal relations
with the leading light of French cinema.
On the morning
of January 3, the Kremlin released a statement announcing that "Vladimir
Putin has signed a decree granting Russian citizenship to France's
The actor responded
to the news from the Kremlin saying that he is happy that
his request was met.
your country, Russia, your people, your history, your writers,
he wrote in a letter published by Russian First Channel after President
Putin signed the decree.
he would learn Russian and does not necessarily want to live in
Moscow, which is too big megalopolis for him.
actor said he was renouncing his French citizenship over the insulting
accusations of tax evasion he faced after announcing plans to move
to Belgium. "I don't ask for approval, but I could at least
be respected!" Depardieu wrote in an open letter to Prime Minister
who have left France have not been insulted as I have been,"
Depardieu said, referring to French Prime Minster Jean Marc Ayrault's
comment that the actor was pathetic for deciding to
leave his native country.
Depardieu confirmed he would stay in Belgium despite the fact that
a French court struck down the proposed 75 percent income tax rate
for the country's wealthiest. The French government agreed to axe
the notorious measure after it failed to recognize equality
before public burdens."
mentioned three countries ready to offer him residence: Belgium,
where he recently bought a house; Montenegro, where he has friends
and some businesses; and Russia, which has a flat 13 percent income
tax rate and could become a tax haven for the actor.
the president of the Belgian commission of naturalization reportedly
told Belga news agency that Depardieu's naturalization file would
be considered differently if the French actor becomes a Russian
citizen. "We do not collect nationalities," RTL quoted
Georges Dallemagne as saying.
citizenship of Gerard Depardieu would not change anything, technically,
in terms of his application for naturalization in Belgium. But we
would consider his case differently if he received Russian citizenship,"
Dallemagne said, adding that he had not received a formal request
for naturalization from the actor yet.
Committee will examine the opportunity to grant him Belgian nationality
and the motivations [of such a decision]. His request would seem
less compelling, less important One does not collect nationalities,"
A Belgian law
changing naturalization procedures for special or exceptional cases
came into force on January 1, RTL reported. It grants Belgian nationality
to those who contribute to the "luminescence of Belgium,"