Why was Gerard Depardieu granted Russian citizenship

Citizenship: Putin makes Gérard Depardieu Russian

Russian President Vladimir Putin has granted the French film star Gérard Depardieu Russian citizenship. The President has signed a corresponding decree, said the Kremlin in Moscow. "In accordance with paragraph A of Article 89 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation," the application will be accepted, it said.

Putin called Depardieu a friend at a major press conference on December 20 and offered him a Russian passport. It is not clear whether Depardieu (“Asterix & Obelix - On Her Majesty's Order”) also formally applied for Russian citizenship.

Trouble about new law

Depardieu recently bought a house in Belgium to move his main residence to the neighboring country. He wants to avoid the new French wealthy tax of 75 percent. His plans sparked a heated debate in France.

The move to the village, which is just across the border but in close proximity to the French city of Lille, had sparked a heated debate in France. In the meantime the tax has been collected by the Constitutional Council.

In view of the fierce criticism of his project, Depardieu angrily announced that he would be resigning his French citizenship. According to the Civil Code, citizens can, upon request, surrender their French citizenship once they have applied for a different one elsewhere. In Russia, income tax is just 13 percent.