Russia does not require people to hand in their foreign passports once they acquire a Russian one. But it is rare for people from the European Union or the United States to seek Russian citizenship unless they have recent Russian roots.
French film star Gerard Depardieu has arrived in Russia to receive a passport after leaving his homeland to avoid a new 75% income tax.
Gerard Depardieu In Russia To Receive Passport
Sky News – 59 minutes ago.
President Vladimir Putin will have a private meeting with Depardieu in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, his spokesman said.
“It is not ruled out that during this meeting Depardieu will be granted a passport,” Dmitry Peskov said.
Depardieu is already well known in Russia for his movie and advertising work and has become a frequent face on the Moscow celebrity circuit.
He has previously said he loves Russia and its people.
Radio Ekho Moskvy said both Mr Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev have been in Sochi for Russia’s long New Year holidays, which do not end until next week.
Russia has a flat-rate income tax of 13%, compared to 75% on income of over 1m euros (£813,000/\$1.32m) that French President Francois Hollande wants to introduce.
Depardieu has also bought a house in Belgium to establish Belgian residency in protest at Mr Hollande’s tax plans.
Mr Hollande’s original proposal was thrown out by France’s Constitutional Court in December, but the socialist president pledged to press ahead with a redrafted tax on the wealthy.
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has called Depardieu’s decision to seek Belgian residency “pathetic” and unpatriotic – prompting an angry reply from the actor.