Russia Rolls Out Red Carpet for Depardieu

What 75% tax? Russia offers tax-dodger a free apartment

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 6, 2013 9:49 AM CST

(Newser) – Things are looking up for Gerard Depardieu: Not only is the French actor a newly minted Russian, he's already broken bread with Vladimir Putin, gotten a hero's welcome, and scored a free apartment. Depardieu grabbed his shiny new Russia passport from Pooty-Poot last night over dinner in Sochi, which will host the 2014 Winter Olympics, notes the AP. He then flew today to Saransk, where the mayor offered him the apartment of his choice. Depardieu hasn't said yet where in Russia he'll settle. France, which Depardieu fled in the face of its proposed 75% tax on millionaires, is less than impressed, with Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac snorting, "I find it a bit pathetic that for tax reasons this man—whom by the way I admire infinitely as an actor—has decided to exile himself."

Gerard Depardieu greets Russian President Vladimir Putin after his arrival late Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, at the president's residence in Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Gerard Depardieu greets Russian President Vladimir Putin after his arrival late Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, at the president's residence in Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics.   (Mikhail Klimentyev)
Gerard Depardieu, left, speaks to President Vladimir Putin and unidentified aides after his arrival late Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, at the president's residence in Sochi.
Gerard Depardieu, left, speaks to President Vladimir Putin and unidentified aides after his arrival late Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, at the president's residence in Sochi.   (Mikhail Klimentyev)
Gerard Depardieu greets Russian President Vladimir Putin after his arrival late Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, at the president's residence in Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Gerard Depardieu greets Russian President Vladimir Putin after his arrival late Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, at the president's residence in Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics.   (Mikhail Klimentyev)
Gerard Depardieu speaks to Russian President Vladimir Putin, unseen, after his arrival late Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, at the president's residence in Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Gerard Depardieu speaks to Russian President Vladimir Putin, unseen, after his arrival late Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, at the president's residence in Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics.   (Mikhail Klimentyev)
Gerard Depardieu poses with his new Russian passport on a theatre stage, wearing a traditional folk outfit, after he arrived in the city of Saransk, Russia, on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013.
Gerard Depardieu poses with his new Russian passport on a theatre stage, wearing a traditional folk outfit, after he arrived in the city of Saransk, Russia, on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013.   (Mordovmedia.ru)
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