On Thursday, French actor Gerard Depardieu was granted Russian citizenship by the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Depardieu gave up his French passport after being involved in a sour fight over taxes with the government of France. Depardieu is a French citizen who was born there in 1948.
The Russian government’s website released a statement saying that Mr. Putin granted Depardieu’s application for the Russian Federation citizenship. The main state-run broadcaster of Russia said that Depardieu sent them a letter expressing his pleasure over the acceptance of his proposal. Saying that his father was once a Communist, Depardieu expressed his love for Russia’s history, culture, writers, and people in his letter. He also expressed his wish to make movies there.
However, it could not be confirmed if the actor had really sent the letter. His spokesman was not immediately available for commenting on the matter.
Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman of the Russian President, said that the application of Depardieu was granted on the grounds of his influence in the cultural sector and his important contribution in movies about historical figures and Russian history. Peskov also confirmed that it was not necessary for the French actor to live in Russia for maintaining his citizenship.
Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, the spokeswoman for the French government, refused to make any comment on this issue saying that it was the prerogative of the Russian authority to grant citizenship to a foreign citizen.
Mr. Putin offered citizenship to the 64-year-old French actor back in December after Le Monde, a French newspaper, reported that Depardieu was thinking leaving France for avoiding the country’s austere new tax regime and moving to Russia, Montenegro, or Belgium instead.
As a part of the austerity budget, the French government imposed 75% income taxes on high-wealth citizens. In a response to this move, Depardieu surrendered his French passport and sought Russian citizenship.
Russia has a 13% income tax rate.