Gerard Depardieu becomes Russian citizen
January 4 , 2013
Actor Gerard Depardieu has been granted Russian citizenship following a row over wealth tax hikes with the government in his native France.
In an open letter, Depardieu said he loved Russia, calling it "a great democracy".
Depardieu recently announced he would give up his French passport after the government slammed his decision to move overseas to avoid higher taxes.
On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin personally signed the decree granting the actor citizenship.
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault labeled Depardieu's decision to leave the country as "shabby".
Under French law, dual citizenship is permitted but it is illegal to be stateless.
A person must obtain another nationality before giving up French citizenship.
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