Actor Gerard Depardieu is among the One Percent in France, and with the President of France, Francois Hollande, on the record as saying he wants to raise taxes on the ultra-rich to 75 percent, Depardieu has decided it is time to say au revoir to the country. With the approval of Russian president Vladimir Putin on Thursday, the actor is now a citizen of Russia.
Depardieu had already renounced his French citizenship and registered as a resident of Néchin in Belgium, which has lower taxes. Russia has a flat tax rate, of 13 percent.
Overall, Depardieu could save a considerable amount of money in Russia. He has previously that the steep French income tax rates currently claim 85 percent of his income.
Russia’s flat 13 percent income tax rate is bolstered by a value-added tax rate of 18 percent, while France has a VAT of 20 percent. Russian social security taxes are 30 percent compared with 50 percent in France.
A spokesman for Putin, Dmitri Peskov, said that Depardieu had recently applied for citizenship, and that it was granted in honor of his cultural achievements -- in other words, his acting.
The thing is that Depardieu has been a part of large film projects and has acted many parts, including the part of Rasputin. This film has not been shown here, but it is a very bold and innovative interpretation of the character.
Putin exercised an article of the 1993 Russian constitution; presidents have the right to issue citizenship or to grant political asylum on their own.
Fans -- or non-fans -- of Depardieu recognized the change on Wikipedia. They have already changed his article to say he is a French-born Russian actor.
Meanwhile, the government's controversial 75 percent tax rate for the wealthy has been ruled unconstitutional by the French high court. Hollande said he would rework the law, "but without renouncing its objective."