Actor Gerard Depardieu Bids Adieu to France, Becomes Russian Citizen
MOSCOW — French-born actor Gerard Depardieu arrived in the Black Sea resort of Sochi Saturday, according to Russian state media, a day after he announced that he had accepted Russian citizenship.
He is expected to meet with President Vladimir Putin — who granted the citizenship to him personally by presidential decree — on Saturday evening, official news agency RIA Novosti reported.
Depardieu could potentially receive his Russian passport during the meeting, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the news agency.
Depardieu and Putin are friends, and the actor has worked in Russia before. In a letter to journalists, Depardieu gushed with praise for the country and its society, RIA Novosti reported.
The movie star and businessman recently fled his native France in a high-profile protest against government plans for a tax hike on the rich, moving just across the border to the town of Nechin, Belgium.
France’s socialist administration wants to raise taxes on citizens earning more than 1 million euros ($1.3 million) annually to 75%. The Russian Federation has a flat income tax rate of 13%, RIA Novosti reported.
France’s constitutional council struck down the top tax rate measure at the end of last year, but President Francois Hollande has voiced his determination still to ask for more from “those who have the most.”