Depardieu, in fight with France over millionaire super-tax, gets Russian citizenship

By Lori Hinnant

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Jan. 3 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

Although France and Russia disagree sharply about how to resolve the civil war in Syria, the two countries have strong commercial relations. In 2011, Russia signed a contract worth more than €1 billion ($1.33 billion) Friday to buy two French warships — the largest military deal between a NATO country and Moscow.

Depardieu is well known in Russia, where he appears in an ad for Sovietsky Bank's credit card and is prominently featured on the bank's home page.

Depardieu is not the only high-profile Frenchman to object to the super-tax. Bernard Arnault — chief of the luxury goods and fashion giant LVMH and worth an estimated $41 billion — has also said he would leave for Belgium.

France's Civil Code says one must have another nationality in order to give up French citizenship because it is forbidden to be stateless. Thursday's decision by the Kremlin appears to fulfill that requirement.

Hinnant contributed from Paris. Silvie Corbet also contributed from Paris.

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