French actor Depardieu gets Russian passport

French film star Gerard Depardieu has received a Russian passport at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, the president’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday.

“The president had a brief meeting with Gerard Depardieu, the actor is in Russia on a private visit,” Peskov said. “Depardieu has received the Russian passport,” he said.

At the meeting, Putin and Depardieu also discussed some issues related to the showing of a film about Grigory Rasputin in Russia, in which Depardieu played Rasputin, Peskov said.

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

The legendary French actor said he was glad to be granted Russian citizenship, adding that he loves Russia and promising to study the Russian language.

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.

France’s highest court later rejected the government proposal to impose a “super-tax” on the wealthy, deeming it discriminatory and therefore unconstitutional.

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