Putin grants France's Depardieu Russian citizenship
MOSCOW - Agence France- Presse
AFP PhotoPresident Vladimir Putin on Thursday signed a decree granting Russian citizenship to French movie star Gerard Depardieu, who has threatened to give up his French passport to protest a proposed tax hike on the rich.
"Vladimir Putin has signed a decree granting Russian citizenship to France's Gerard Depardieu," the Kremlin said in a statement.
Depardieu said on Sunday that a decision by France's highest court to strike down a 75 percent tax rate on millionaires would change nothing in his highly publicised decision to move out of France.
The government has vowed to push ahead with the tax rate, which would apply to incomes over a million euros ($1.3 million) a year, and propose a new measure that would conform with the constitution.
Putin at his end-of-year press conference said he was ready to offer Depardieu -- whom he called a businessman and a friend -- a Russian passport to resolve his tax row.
"If Gerard really wants to have a residency permit in Russia or a Russian passport, we can consider this issue resolved positively," Putin said on December 20.
Depardieu had previously mentioned moving to Belgium, although he is a frequent guest of Moscow cinema festivals and other Russian celebrity events.