MOSCOW, January 3 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to grant legendary French actor Gerard Depardieu Russian citizenship, the Kremlin press office reported on Thursday.
“In accordance with clause “a” of article 89 of the Russian Constitution, the application for Russian citizenship by Gerard Xavier Depardieu born in France in 1948 has been granted,” the Kremlin press office said in a statement.
Depardieu has recently renounced his French citizenship and settled in the Belgian border town of Nechin. His decision to settle in Belgium came ahead of the Socialist government’s planned implementation of a 75 percent tax rate on annual earnings above $1.30 million. By comparison, Russia has a fixed 13 percent income tax.
Putin said in late December that Depardieu could count on getting a Russian passport if he wanted one. “If Gerard really wants to have a Russian passport or a residence permit, then he can consider the matter settled.”
Russia’s Federal Migration Service said at the time it had received no application from Depardieu so far.
Depardieu, who has appeared in more than 170 films and has won numerous awards, has also made headlines over several embarrassing episodes caused mainly by his love of drink.