VLADIVOSTOK, January 13 (RIA Novosti) – Russian opposition figurehead Sergei Udaltsov has invited French actor Gerard Depardieu, who recently received a Russian passport, to join the next protest march.
“Gerard Depardieu has received Russia’s citizenship, he is interested in our political life, and I heard he made statements about the opposition… why not invite him? We will be glad to see him at our next protest action, welcome!,” Udaltsov told RIA Novosti.
Depardieu received Russian citizenship on January 6 after President Vladimir Putin used his personal authority to award it to him. Earlier on Sunday, Depardieu made comments about Russia’s opposition movement in an interview with the Vesti Nedeli (News of the Week) program on Russia’s national TV Rossiya Channel.
“Russia’s opposition does not have a program. There are clever people, like [Garry] Kasparov, but this is good for chess. But politics is much more complicated,” Depardieu said in the interview.
Earlier this week, Russia’s Communist Party (KPRF) also invited Depardieu to join its ranks. “We are now waiting for his decision,” party First Secretary Valery Rashkin said.
Depardieu has said his reason for leaving France was to protest the imposition by its Socialist President Francois Hollande of a 75 percent tax on the wealthiest earners. Russia has a flat 13 percent tax on income.
The actor said he was unlikely to use his new citizenship to live in a major city and would possibly like to live in the provinces. He travelled to the remote Mordovia region shortly after receiving his new passport, where the local governor offered him an apartment.
He has also said he is seeking Belgian residency, after buying a house in Belgium last year, and denied his motives were financial.