Depardieu to study Russian

Legendary French actor Gerard Depardieu said he is glad to be granted Russian citizenship, adding that he loves Russia and promising to study the Russian language.

“Yes, I have applied for a passport and I am glad my request has been granted,” Depardieu said in a letter to Russian journalists posted on the website of Russian federal TV Channel 1.

The Kremlin press office reported on Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to grant Depardieu Russian citizenship.

“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 initially planned implementation of a 75 percent tax rate on annual earnings above $1.3 million. By comparison, Russia has a fixed 13 percent income tax.

Putin said in late December that Depardieu could count on receiving 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.”

In his letter to Russian journalists, Depardieu also said: “I adore your country, Russia, your people, your history, your writers… I adore your culture, your way of thinking.”

The actor said that if he were to live in Russia, he would like to reside in a small village rather than in a big city like Moscow.

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