French Actor Granted Russian Citizenship To Flee 'Supertax'

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

French movie legend Gerard Depardieu moved to Belgium last year to avoid paying France' new 75 percent tax on the wealthy. On Thursday, the Kremlin announced that President Putin signed a decree making Depardieu a citizen of Russia, where taxes are also relatively low.


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.


And I'm Robert Siegel.

You might remember actor Gerard Depardieu's role in the movie "Green Card." His character married a woman just to attain U.S. citizenship. Well, Depardieu is French. And these days he is fleeing his home country in real France, in real life to avoid a 75 percent super tax on millionaires. Before Christmas, he stirred outrage by moving to Belgium. And now, as NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports, he has an offer from Russia.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Foreign language spoken)

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: Just when the French thought the Depardieu affair had died down, it came roaring back to life with a cold blast of air from Russia. The Kremlin announced that Vladimir Putin had signed a special decree granting Depardieu citizenship. As it turns out, that isn't so far fetched.

VLADIMIR FEDEROVSKI: You know, Depardieu is a great star in Russia. He had a lot of movies and the Russians love Depardieu.

BEARDSLEY: That's Vladimir Federovski, a Russian writer who lives in Paris. Federovski says Russia has a flat 13 percent income tax rate. While the Oscar nominee hasn't said whether he'll accept the Russian offer, in this advertisement for a Russian bank, Depardieu says I love Russia and Russia loves me.


GERARD DEPARDIEU: (Foreign language spoken)

BEARDSLEY: The giant, bon vivant actor has starred in more than 150 films in the last four decades. Christophe de Voogd is a political analyst at Sciences Po University.

CHRISTOPHE DE VOOGD: Depardieu is, of course, first, a major French star, but also he's kind of symbol because the guy comes from a very low-class family. And he's a kind of example of self-made man, which is not very common in France.

BEARDSLEY: De Voogd says the French are divided by the Depardieu affair because they also have an egalitarian streak.

VOOGD: At the same time, many people are saying, well, the rich can pay, the rich must pay.

BEARDSLEY: Perhaps the actor will reconcile with his government. The wealth tax was struck down as unconstitutional this week, and the Elysee Palace confirmed that Depardieu called President Hollande on New Year's Day. Eleanor Beardsley, NPR News, Paris.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from