Russians mock Kremlin decision on Depardieu passport



Agence France Presse

Published — Friday 4 January 2013

Last update 4 January 2013 10:37 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

MOSCOW: Russians reacted Friday with amusement, disbelief and a heavy dose of irony to the news that the Kremlin has granted citizenship to French actor Gerard Depardieu to solve his tax woes.
In a letter broadcast on Russian television on Thursday, the former Oscar nominee declared his love for President Vladimir Putin and called Russia a “great democracy.”
“He is impressed by our democracy — he has completely lost his marbles,” wrote one Facebook user, Vladimir Sokolov.
Far-left politician Eduard Limonov suggested Depardieu could reprise his famous film role of French revolutionary Georges Danton and risk detention by riot police at a regular unsanctioned rally against Putin.
“Gerard, come to Triumfalnaya Square on January 31 with your new Russian passport in your pocket,” Limonov wrote on his blog.
“Our French friend: here’s an invitation to a real historical role.”
Depardieu seemed unlikely to take up this offer after Putin praised their “very friendly, personal relationship” at a recent news conference.
Many jokingly speculated about how the film star might adapt to life as a pensioner if he moved to Russia after threatening to renounce his French citizenship over a proposed 75-percent tax rate on the super rich.
If Depardieu, 64, opted to live in Russia more than half the tax year, he would pay just 13 percent tax to the government whose budget is highly dependent on state-owned energy resources.
“We’re going to meet him pushing a trolley in the shop, in the queue for blood tests at the polyclinic or at the social security office,” wrote journalist and blogger Anton Orekh on the website of popular Moscow Echo radio station.
As a Russian, he now qualifies for a respectful patronymic and can be addressed not as Monsieur Depardieu, but Gerard Renevich, because his father’s first name was Rene, Orekh added.
“I’m ready to let him register as a resident in my apartment, he can stay as long as he likes,” wrote television host Tina Kandelaki on Twitter.
Depardieu, like other Russian citizens, would have to register his place of residence with local authorities.
Yet some also questioned the morality of Russia fast-tracking Depardieu’s citizenship request.
His public opposition to paying high taxes in France showed he “loves money more than motherland,” wrote Orekh.
“Let’s give our passports to everyone who has lots of money and doesn’t want to pay taxes at home!” he said, contrasting Depardieu’s experience with that of ordinary applicants who spend years going through complex red tape.
Poet Lev Rubinshtein warned Depardieu on Facebook that if he chose to pay taxes in Russia, they would go to “gorillas with batons who joyfully beat up young men and women and old ladies.”
Russia has used Depardieu’s request to preen itself over what it sees as an endorsement of its economic policies.
“Depardieu’s case shows that financial and economic stability are often the most important factor in choosing a country not only for investors but for artists, too,” former economic development minister and now head of Russia’s largest savings bank, German Gref, told the Interfax news agency.
Meanwhile Depardieu’s threat to give up his passport over soaring tax demands has prompted much soul-searching in France.
Right-wing daily Le Figaro described the affair as a “bad farce” but stressed in a front-page editorial that “this 75 percent tax is an economic, political and diplomatic fiasco that we should not be smiling about.”
The canny PR stunt comes as Russia faces widespread international criticism over a recent decision to ban adoptions of Russian children by US citizens, and looks like an attempt to deflect public attention.
“Giving Depardieu citizenship is a strong PR move inside the country but it is the anti-orphan law that influences Russia’s image worldwide. This can’t offset that,” wrote Alexei Venediktov, chief editor of Moscow Echo, on his blog.
Putin last week signed a law banning US adoptions despite emotional appeals after Washington passed legislation targeting the Russian officials who were allegedly involved in the prison death of a lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Demand for housemaids is so high in the holy month that illegal domestics, working in violation of residence and labor laws, can easily draw a salary of SR3,000 during Ramadan.Due to difficulties in the recruitment process, Saudis are left wi...
JEDDAH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has condemned the terror attack on several military checkpoints in Egypt’s North Sinai and expressed his condolences to President Abdel Fattah El-Sissi, SPA reported. In a cable to El-Sissi, the k...
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman prays inside the historic Quba Mosque in Madinah. The king was accompanied by Prince Muqrin, Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, head of the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques and Prince Sultan bin Salman, ch...
JEDDAH: Shop rentals at certain malls have risen by 200 percent, with this cost likely to be passed on to the consumer, the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) said here recently. Muhammad Al-Shehri, chairman of the JCCI’s textiles and gar...
JEDDAH: People with special needs can now visit a park that has dedicated services for them.Jeddah Mayor Hani Abu Ras opened Al-Erada Park in Al-Salama district on Prince Sultan Street on Thursday.“The Kingdom provides special care for people with di...
JEDDAH: Is involvement in social media the right thing or wrong, particularly in the month of Ramadan? There is a difference of opinion with some arguing that it eats into the time that should be spent praying while some backing it for its religious...
RIYADH: The Argentine government has thanked the Kingdom for previously hosting its Umrah pilgrims for free.“They were part of a group invited by then Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah,” said Ambassador Jaime Sergio Cerda on Thursday.“T...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Education’s counseling department has approved the Rifq Program for the physical and psychological well-being of students.Nabil Mohammad Al-Budair, director of counseling for boys, said the program aims to reduce violence in p...
RIYADH: Sales of fireworks at public markets and main roads in Riyadh have increased during Ramadan, despite the Ministry of Commerce and Industry announcing a SR5,000 reward for anyone providing information about warehouses storing these dangerous i...
RIYADH: The General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) has reported that there were 69,241 work-related accidents in 2014, with expatriates making up 65,509 or 94.6 percent and Saudis 3,732.The accidents were in nine sectors with building and c...
JEDDAH: The Health Ministry’s expenditures over the past five years increased from SR29.29 billion to SR53.73 billion, an increase of about 83 percent.According to a study detailing the ministry’s expenditures between 2008 and 2012 issued by the mini...
RIYADH: Five people from the southern Indian state of Kerala were killed in a road accident at Salwa near Dammam in the Eastern Province early Thursday morning.Manoj Kumar, community welfare attache at the Indian Embassy, told Arab News that the vict...
MAKKAH: The government has deployed eight helicopters over Makkah to track the movement of vehicles and people, and assist in security tasks and medical evacuations.Maj. Gen. Mohammad Al-Harbi, commander of the Interior Ministry’s aviation security d...
JAZAN: A Yemeni woman (A.M.) has once again experienced freedom and a renewed sense of hope in life after reuniting with her family last week on her release from Jazan General Prison, where she spent six years on charges of murder of a citizen in the...
RIYADH: A delegation from the Kingdom recently visited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to explore that country’s successful experience in tourism, in a bid to further develop the sector. Saudi Arabia has been making all-out efforts to promote tourism,...

Stay Connected

Facebook