Depardieu is now a resident of -- ironically -- One Democracy Street in the Russian city of Saransk, about 400 miles east of Moscow. Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency reported that the actor traveled there on Saturday to pick up his residency papers. Depardieu has made the move to Russian residency in an attempt to escape France’s new proposed law which would amount to a tax of 75 percent for the country's top incomes.
In early January, Depardieu received his brand-new Russian passport directly from Russian president Vladimir Putin. The two were seen embracing and shaking hands as they met at Putin's residence in the Black Sea town of Sochi.
With the President of France, Francois Hollande, on the record as saying he wants to raise taxes on the ultra-rich to 75 percent, even before his moves to gain Russian residency, Depardieu had already renounced his French citizenship and registered as a resident of Néchin in Belgium, which has lower taxes than France.
Overall, Depardieu could save still more money in Russia. Russia has a flat tax rate, of 13 percent. The actor 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.
Some believe Depardieu’s change of citizenship is simply a publicity stunt, but the actor has promised to travel to Saransk often. He added that he will learn to speak Russian and build a house there. However, Depardieu said he has no interest in living in the capital city of Moscow, which he says is too crowded.