Putin Gives Russian Passport to Depardieu for Christmas

January 6, 2013, Sunday // 11:39
Bulgaria: Putin Gives Russian Passport to Depardieu for Christmas
Photo by RIA Novosti.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has personally given French film star Gerard Depardieu his new Russian passport, announced Izvestiya Sunday.

Depardieu arrived late Saturday night on a private visit to Putin's Sochi residence, where the Russian President has spent New Year's and Christmas, which Russian Christians celebrate on January 7 under the Julian Calendar.

The two men, who have met before, embraced each other warmly, according to an official release, which however does not point out further details, given the private nature of the visit.

The presidential decree for granting Russian citizenship to Depardieu was issued last Thursday, and the whole procedure has been executed exeedingly quickly.

Depardieu's choice to leave France was motivated to new high taxes for the super-wealthy, as envisioned by President Francois Hollande.

This led to a dramatic exchange between the actor and French PM Jean-Marc Ayrault, with Depardieu symbolically returning his French passport to the PM.

End of December, the French Constitutional Court has however ruled down the new 75% tax on incomes over 75% as discriminatory and unproportional.

Other famous French citizens, including Brigitte Bardot and Jean-Michel Jarre, have also suggested they might move elsewhere.

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