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NIZHNY NOVGOROD, February 23 (RIA Novosti) – French film star Gerard Depardieu, who recently became a Russian citizen, obtained a permanent residence permit in Mordovia, central Russia, on Saturday, the republic's press and information minister said.
“All honor to Russia, all honor to Mordovia. This is a region which is not rich in oil and gas but it is rich people, who embody ideas into life,” Valery Maresyev quoted Depardieu as saying after he received a Russian passport with a residence permit stamp on it.
The actor has been registered in an apartment belonging to the relatives of his long-time friend, Nikolai Borodachyov, Director of the National Film Fund. Depardieu said he plans to build a private house in the republic in the future.
Depardieu said his decision to be registered in Mordovia is not just a formality and is a serious and deliberate decision as the actor plans to become a frequent visitor of Russia and Mordovia.
On Friday, Depardieu told reporters at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow he wanted to launch a series of TV programs based on Russian literature and involving actors from different countries, and to show the series across the globe.
The French star plans to spend several days in Mordovia. During his trip, the actor will visit local agricultural plants, a poultry farm, a milk processing plant and a cheese factory which has a French cheese making equipment, the minister said.
Depardieu has also announced plans to open his own restaurant in the republic, Maresyev said.
The legendary French actor was given a Russian passport at a meeting with President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on January 6.
Depardieu renounced his French citizenship ahead of the government’s planned implementation of a 75 percent tax rate for annual earnings above $1.3 million. By comparison, Russia has a fixed 13 percent income tax.
France’s highest court later rejected the controversial government proposal to impose a “super-tax” on the wealthy, deeming it discriminatory and therefore unconstitutional.
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