LEADING NEWS SOURCE FOR TURKEY AND THE REGION

INTERNATIONAL > Pussy Riot wouldn't survive visiting a mosque: Depardieu

MOSCOW - Agence France-Presse

Print Page Send to friend »
In this Feb. 21, 2012 file photo, members of the Russian radical feminist group Pussy Riot try to perform at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow. AP photo

In this Feb. 21, 2012 file photo, members of the Russian radical feminist group Pussy Riot try to perform at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow. AP photo

French actor turned Russian national Gerard Depardieu on Sunday accused President Vladimir Putin's opposition of lacking vision and defended the Kremlin's treatment of the Pussy Riot protest punks.
 
Depardieu received a Russian passport at a Jan. 6 dinner with Putin that followed a bitter and very public fight with the French authorities over a disputed new tax on the super-rich.
 
The screen star has denied seeking to profit from Russia's flat 13 percent tax on incomes and has never specified whether he intends to live in the country long term.
 
But he has been feted as a hero by Russian state media for offering the Kremlin a chance to highlight the benefits of its policies in the face of broad criticism of Putin abroad.
 
Both Putin and Depardieu refer to each other as friends and the French actor served up a severe criticism of those who oppose the Russian leader's 13-year rule.
 
"The Russian opposition has no programme -- it has nothing," he told Rossiya state television's weekly analytical programme in his first extended interview as a Russian citizen.
 
"Unfortunately, the masses are stupid. Only the individual is beautiful," Depardieu said in remarks translated to Russian from French.
 
Russia's first mass post-Soviet rallies erupted a year ago in response to a fraud-riddled December parliamentary poll in which the ruling party barely hung on to power.
 
The opposition held a series of subsequent protests that reached up to 120,000 people at their height.
 
But Putin's thumping presidential return in May cast a pall over the movement and just over 20,000 turned out for a march held Sunday in protest against a new law banning adoptions by Americans.
 
Depardieu said the opposition had "very smart people" such as former chess champion Garry Kasparov in its ranks.
 
"But that is good for chess and not much else," said the star of films such as "Cyrano de Bergerac" and the "Asterix & Obelix" series.
 
He also heavily criticised the anti-Putin protest stunt that the Pussy Riot all-female punk band performed last year in Russia's main cathedral.
 
Two band members are currently serving two-year sentences in Russia's notorious manual labour camps.
 
Depardieu almost directly repeated Putin's argument that the band members would have received worse treatment had they gone to an Arab country and performed in a mosque.
 
"Imagine if these ladies walked into a mosque -- they would not come out alive," the actor said in a different section of the interview taped in apparent secrecy with the help of a cell phone.
 
"But when I say such things in France, I am considered an idiot," he added.
 
Depardieu's comments immediately spread among Russian opposition bloggers and were received as a challenge by leftist radical leader Sergei Udaltsov.
 
"He seems to be interested in Russian politics -- I heard he had a few things to say about the opposition," Udaltsov told the RIA Novosti news agency.
 
"We would be glad to see him at our next event. Please, he would be more than welcome." Depardieu instead lavished praise on Russia's culture and the merits of its "soul".
 
He said he knew "many Russians in France -- and not just France -- who have returned to Russia because they lacked this spiritual warmth" abroad.
 
And he added that he already understood the Russian language.
 
"I hope to speak it soon," the 64-year-old said.

January/14/2013

PRINTER FRIENDLY Send to friend »

READER COMMENTS

Notice on comments

Fred Doyle

1/14/2013 11:19:39 PM

Red Tail, Freedom?? He wants money!! He moved to Russia to save a thousands of dollars. The French have always been willing to trade moral high ground for a few bucks...pathetic. He is totally being used by Putin and he doesn't care. He took a page out of the Vichy playbook.

mara mcglothin

1/14/2013 8:47:26 PM

RED TAIL Most actors end up making fools of themselves. Just because they have a following of people who listen to what they have to say does NOT make them smart of aware of what is going on. There will always be a politician to use these kind of people. He is living proof that their are idiots in all countries.

kritiki intel

1/14/2013 6:21:50 PM

pussy riot is great. Support pussy riot.

Tekion Particle

1/14/2013 5:32:23 PM

They could if they were praying....

Zlatan Zinho

1/14/2013 4:57:17 PM

Pussy Riot would have no need to enter a mosque, at least not for the same reasons that they entered the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Their protest was aimed at the collusion of the established church with a state perceived as oppressive - in Islam, there is no 'church' as such.

Nikos T.

1/14/2013 4:19:23 PM

"Pussy Riot wouldn't survive visiting a mosque". True beyond any doubt.

Sid Mark

1/14/2013 3:02:03 PM

@Red Tail.He reminds me of Asil Nadir.Don't you agree?

Red Tail

1/14/2013 11:49:32 AM

He is making a fool of himself. If he wants freedom, which seems to be the point with his Moque remark, then why did he leave a free and open country. He is probably right. In France Pussy Riot would get a small fine, in Russia jailed and in a Mosque they would get killed by angry young men defending their religion.
< >

MOST POPULAR

AcerPro S.I.P.A HTML & CSS Agency