Award-winning French actor Gerard Depardieu has been granted Russian citizenship, according to a post on the Kremlin’s website.
The message reads: “Vladimir Putin has signed a decree granting Russian citizenship to Gerard Depardieu.”
Depardieu, 64, who has appeared in over 150 films, made headlines recently after announcing that he was leaving France in anger over Socialist President Francois Hollande’s proposed 75% tax rate for anyone earning over 1m euros.
Reports suggested that Depardieu has recently acquired property in Belgium, but it appears that he will now be able to live in Russia too.
During a news conference in December, Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed that he would be happy to welcome Depardieu to the country.
He said: “I’m sure the French authorities did not want to offend Mr Depardieu. But if he’d like to have a Russian passport, consider it settled.”
Dual citizenship is permitted under French law, but it is unlawful to be stateless, and an individual must obtain another nationality before renouncing French citizenship.
While Depardieu has yet to comment on the Kremlin’s announcement, political commentators are already warning that Russia risks angering France by granting the actor Russian citizenship.
Described by Putin as a successful businessman, Depardieu already has close ties with Russia. He currently appears in an ad campaign for the Sovietsky Bank’s credit card, and has previously helped raise funds for a children’s hospital in St. Petersburg.