You may remember, Gerard Depardieu has been publicly feuding with the French government over their recently-introduced 75 percent tax on millionaires. As the P Diddy of France, with much to lose from the many millions stored in mucousy pouches in his great torso, Depardieu protested the tax by moving across the border to Belgium, whereupon the French government retaliated by threatening to revoke his passport. Smelling a publicity opportunity, Russia’s shirtless action-man president Vladimir Putin publicly offered Gerard Depardieu a passport from Russia, where Gerard Depardieu had been filming a movie about Rasputin. Depardieu accepted, leading to the incredible picture you see above and the magnificent news lede below:
MOSCOW — The day after receiving his new Russian passport from President Vladimir Putin, French actor Gerard Depardieu flew Sunday to the provincial town of Saransk, where he was greeted as a local hero and offered an apartment for free.
As you can see, the man fits right in.
Putin granted his request last week and then welcomed the actor late Saturday to his residence [Putin’s residence, that is. -Ed] in Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Russian television showed the two men embracing and then chatting over supper, discussing a soon-to-be-released film in which Depardieu plays Russian monk Grigory Rasputin.
Depardieu flew Sunday to Saransk, a town about 300 miles east of Moscow, where he was met at a snow-covered airport by the governor and a group of women in traditional costume singing folk songs. He flashed his new passport to the crowd before setting out on a tour of the town.
I like to imagine that Saransk is a town populated entirely by proboscis monkeys, and that when Gerard Depardieu showed up, they recognized his obvious superiority and made him king. However, my science advisers have repeatedly assured me that this is not the case.
Nevertheless, it appears that he did receive a lovely pair of boots:
Depardieu has not said where he would take up residence in Russia, only that he did not want to live in Moscow because it is too big and he prefers a village. The Frenchman has spent a fair bit of time in Russia in recent years, including for the filming of the French-Russian film “Rasputin,” and he expresses an admiration for Putin. But it is Russia’s flat 13 percent income tax that appears to be the biggest draw at the moment as he flees high taxes in France. [AP]
What a strange time we live in, where a person can say “I’m sick of these high taxes and wealth redistribution! Screw this, I’m moving to Russia!”