France's Love-Hate with Russia: Why Depardieu Was Granted Russian Citizenship

The World

French actor Gerard Depardieu. (Photo: REUTERS/Stevo Vasiljevic)

French actor Gérard Depardieu has made lots of news recently. First he moved to Belgium – upset by the French government's proposed 75 percent income tax for millionaires. Then he agreed to become a citizen of Russia – taking up an offer made by President Vladimir Putin himself. Now, Depardieu has gone on national TV in Russia to praise Putin for his "political wisdom" and criticize the opposition. Depardieu's words may actually carry some weight in Russia. His movies are very popular there – and he's famous for his commercial endorsements, too. Depardieu would have to live in Russia 182 days out of the year to qualify for the 13 percent flat tax there. But he might easily find employment there since he's done it before. Laure Mandeville is Washington correspondent for the French daily Le Figaro. She said the love-hate relationship between France and Russia has been going on for centuries, and that Depardieu is one of many celebrities manipulated by the Russian government to make Russia look good.