Gerard Depardieu becomes Russian citizen
Gerard Depardieu has obtained Russian citizenship, according to a brief statement posted on the Kremlin website.
“Vladimir Putin has signed a decree granting Russian citizenship to Gerard Depardieu,” the message read.
Gerard Depardieu recently announced he would give up his French passport after the government criticized his decision to move abroad to avoid higher taxes.
In December, Vladimir Putin said he would be happy to welcome the actor in Russia.
“I’m sure the French authorities did not want to offend Mr. Depardieu. But if he’d like to have a Russian passport, consider it settled,” Vladimir Putin said during his annual news conference on 20 December.
Under France’s civil code, dual citizenship is permitted but it is unlawful to be stateless.
A person must obtain another nationality before giving up French citizenship.
Gerard Depardieu has not yet commented on the Kremlin’s latest announcement.
His highly publicized tax row began last year after Socialist President Francois Hollande said he planned to raise taxes to 75% for those earning more than 1 million euros.
Lambasting the government for punishing “success, creation and talent”, Gerard Depardieu announced in early December that he would move to Belgium.
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault retaliated by calling the decision “shabby”.
Although the Constitutional Council struck down Francois Hollande’s tax rise proposal on Sunday, Gerard Depardieu said this did not change the situation “one bit”.
The French actor, described by Vladimir Putin as a successful businessman and friend, has developed close ties with Russia, which has a flat 13% personal income tax rate.
He currently appears in an advertisement for Sovietsky Bank’s credit card and is prominently featured on the bank’s home page.
In 2011, Gerard Depardieu played the lead role in the film Rasputin, a Franco-Russian production about the life of eccentric monk Grigory Rasputin.
In addition, Gerard Depardieu has also helped raise funds for a children’s hospital in St Petersburg.