Gerard Depardieu, the French actor who says he is quitting his homeland to avoid higher taxes for the rich, has received a Russian passport and met with President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin has said. Depardieu met Putin, who earlier granted him citizenship, at the Russian leader’s residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Haha! Classic.
It all started as a joke. There was this joke we used to make when we were unhappy with our government: we’ll all migrate to Congo, it’s a better democracy.
Depardieu, a millionaire but also one of the funniest and smartest men in the world – in my opinion at last – is angry at the French government for the high taxes the rich have to pay. Fair enough. So he jokes around that he’s moving to Russia a “better democracy”. He was, of course, quite sarcastic. Putin might love him as an actor. But Depardieu is no fool to actually believe in the Russian democracy.
Depardieu expressed his thanks to his new compatriots in letter published in the media, in which he praised the cultural, social and political virtues of his new home and vowed to learn Russian. In his letter the actor called Russia a “country with a great democracy”, which triggered a wave of criticism and irony from users on Russian social networks.
Putin jumped on the opportunity and gave him the citizenship. He’s no fool either. He knows that at first it was not a praise, but an ofense. The actor meant that even Russia is a better democracy than France. Notice the nuance. But chapeau-bas, Mr. Putin. He knew how to turn it all to his advantage. That’s the Putin style.