Depardieu was seen in a photo as he received his brand-new Russian passport. The two men were shown embracing and shaking hands as they met at Putin's residence in the Black Sea town of Sochi.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said:
A brief meeting between the president and Depardieu took place. On the occasion of his visit to Russia, he was handed a Russian passport.It's not that he loves Russia more than his native France. Instead, Depardieu's move is all about money.
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 had already renounced his French citizenship and registered as a resident of Néchin in Belgium, which has lower taxes. Depardieu has already listed his monstrous Paris home for sale, and has said he plans to move across the border to Brussels.
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.
Depardieu's Russian citizenship is big news in Russia; his meeting with Putin this morning was even shown on Russia's state-run Channel One TV.