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Sunday
Feb242013

Gerard Depardieu Officially a Russian Resident

THOMAS WIRTH/AFP/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- French actor Gerard Depardieu is officially a resident of One Democracy Street in the Russian city of Saransk, about 400 miles east of Moscow.

According to Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency, the actor traveled there on Saturday to pick up his residency papers, the last step in his quest to flee France’s new proposal to tax top incomes at 75 percent.

In December, Depardieu appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom he has maintained a warm relationship, saying he would seek Russian citizenship which would allow him to enjoy the country’s 13 percent flat tax rate.

At an annual press conference Putin said he would give him citizenship if asked and a few weeks later did so by decree.

On January 6, President Putin personally handed Depardieu his Russian passport before dining together in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi.

Critics have dismissed Depardieu’s change of citizenship as a publicity stunt, but the the actor has pledged to travel to Saransk often and says he will learn to speak Russian and build a house there.

He says he has no interest in living in Moscow, which he says is too crowded.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio