Fleeing France's high taxes for Russia's flat 13 percent rate, the French actor spoke of Russia in glowing terms during a high-profile meeting with Vladimir Putin over the weekend.
Mikhail Klimentyev/Presidential Press Service/RIA Novosti/AP
French movie star Gerard Depardieu has returned to his native habitat in western Europe following a tumultuous Russia visit that has left behind a nation collectively scratching its head over the instinctively authoritarian Vladimir Putin's quirky decision to bestow Russian citizenship upon a cantankerous foreign tax rebel, and the equally odd spectacle of Mr. Depardieu accepting it amid a fusillade of lavish praise for Mr. Putin's regime.
Most analysts say the event was probably a big domestic propaganda win for Putin, who has been under criticism – even from members of his own government – for imposing a seemingly vindictive ban on US citizens adopting Russian orphans in response to US legislation that targets official Russian human rights abusers.
Some suggest that Depardieu's move might trigger a wave of wealthy Europeans, disgruntled by ever-higher tax rates, to move to Russia where everybody pays a flat 13 percent income tax.
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