Monday, August 29, 2016


Depardieu's Passport Irks Russians Who Have Waited Years For Citizenship

French actor Gerard Depardieu shows off his Russian passport after arriving at the airport in Saransk in Russia's Mordovia region on January 6.
French actor Gerard Depardieu shows off his Russian passport after arriving at the airport in Saransk in Russia's Mordovia region on January 6.
Getting a document out of the Russian bureaucracy -- especially during the holiday period of drunken revelry that chief health inspector Gennady Onishchenko recently called "10 days of horror" -- is never a pleasant or easy task.

Unless your name is Gerard Depardieu.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Federal Migration Service (FMS) to issue Depardieu a passport on January 3. Less than two days later, a smiling Putin was handing the document over to Depardieu during a meeting in Sochi.

Photographs of the event show Depardieu holding up a newly minted Russian internal passport issued by the FMS in Moscow. It is unclear whether Putin also handed him the standard certificate of citizenship and a Russian passport for foreign travel. has documented the list of rules and procedures that the FMS had to ignore in order to perform this Herculean feat. 

Normally one must apply at a consulate in one's home country. One must submit two copies of the application, a notarized translation of one's passport (which cannot be set to expire within the next six months), a notarized translation of one's birth certificate, notarized copies of one's marriage and divorce documents, diplomas, photographs, financial records, a notarized confirmation that one has passed a Russian-language examination, and so on.

QUIZ: How Well Do You Know Gerard Depardieu?

The online paper asked Depardieu's lawyer when the actor managed to submit all these documents, but the lawyer declined to comment. A spokesman for the FMS said only that the "Foreign Ministry helped him."

It later even emerged that the FMS issued the passport using a photograph of Depardieu that was taken off the Internet.

"This was an exceptional case, under an order from the president," an FMS spokesperson told the paper. "Do you have something against it?"

'Is This How They Respect Our Country?'

It turns out that a lot of Russians do have something against it. Hundreds of ethnic Russians from former Soviet republics have taken to social media in recent days to slam Putin's move as a slap in the face.

Nina Bryzgalova, originally from Kazakhstan but now living in Novosibirsk, wrote on the Odnoklassniki social site: "My family and I passed through seven circles of hell to become citizens of this country. And how many bribes did we have to give? And meanwhile this fat cat with his millions -- voila! He's a Russian. Is this how they respect our country?"

One ethnic Russian from Tajikistan who asked to be identified only as "Volodya" wrote: "Why is that we Russians don't think about our own average people but instead hurry to curry favor with famous foreigners who already have everything they need? My family and I have still not been able to get Russian citizenship and soon we are going to stop trying. I guess we'll try applying to Europe."

Such comments were echoed by Duma Deputy and Putin ally Stanislav Govorukhin (who conceivably could be worried that Depardieu could take his spot as head of the Russian Cinematographers Union), who was quoted as saying of Depardieu: "He's just another drunkard. I don't like this sycophancy toward foreigners."

Russia's Federal Migration Service established a program to repatriate ethnic Russians in 2006, on President Putin's order. That program was supposed to attract at least 100,000 Russians to the country, but media reports indicate that only a few hundred families have actually made it.

Many Russian regions reportedly even established daunting education and professional requirements to prevent migrants from taking scarce jobs away from locals.
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Comment Sorting
by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
January 10, 2013 13:50
Bloody ungrateful haters,stop cricizing the francochone drunkard,now that Mother Russia has a chance of winning an Oscar.Dupeadieu and Putanin will star in the latest Nikita Mikhalkov blockbuster -a remake of a `Nu Putin-Pogodi`-the only problem s they cant decide who is going to play the rabbit and who the wolf.One thing for sure is Vakhtang`s gonna be the donkey thus saving on the make up and Jack is gonna be the skunk.Now,get the red carpet ready to roll!!!

by: Vakhtang from: Moscow
January 11, 2013 08:12
How can you explain that the Russians who wish to obtain Russian citizenship, subject to abuse and humiliation by officials of FMS-Russia
Very simple.
Putin is not russian,he is mordvin- izhorets.He hates not only russians, he misanthrope.
The next stage of moral decay of Putin is granting citizenship to camel from a cave, who, together with racist of Abkhazia steals dirty linen and alluminum spoons remained from the killed Georgian grannies.

by: Mike_in_Kyiv from: Kyiv, Ukraine
January 11, 2013 11:01
If you know people in high places, things can happen. It's kinda the Russian go to the front of the line and get what you need. For Putin, it was a cool little PR stunt and for Depardieu - he's flipping the bird to the neo-socialist wonks in France and exercising the "Marie Antoinette" move - let you others eat cake and wait your turn for a passport...

It's a win-win for everyone - Putin and Depardieu that is!

But truly sorry for all the rest of you who have to submit multiple copies of your life's history, translated and apostilled in 4 languages and then WAIT 5 years for the passport. Maybe next year!

P.S. Did our dear Frenchman get tested for AIDS before getting his new passport?

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
January 12, 2013 11:53
This discussion on how the rapid issue of a Russian passport for Gérard Depardieu "irks" someone is one of the most vivid demonstrations of how INCONSISTENT the whole RFE/RL discourse on Russia is.
On the one hand, the mentioned cheap US propaganda outlet just goes out of its way in order to present Russia as a "horrible country", where even belugas living in the Black See can not live normally.
On the other hand - when it comes to the case of one of the outstanding representatives of the European cultural elite WISHING to obtain a citizenship of this "horrible coutry" - the RFE/RL and its readers on this forum come up with the argument that there are just "so many people" who wish to obtain a Russian passport and just can not do it at the same paste at which Gérard Depardieu obtained it.
So, I mean, the obvious inconsistency here is the following: if Russia is such a "horrible place" to be in, WHY IS IT that there are SO MANY people wishing to obtain a Russian citizenship?
Guys, EITHER it's a "horrible country" where no one wants to live OR it's a country the citizenship of which is so cherished that "just so many" ordinary people AND representatives of the European cultural elite want to acquire. BUT NOT BOTH AT THE SAME TIME, guys!
I mean, everyone knows that nothing has ever deterred you from making ABSURD ARGUMENTS, but there must be some limits to the ABSURDITY of what you argue. Try to reflect on that, ok :-)?
Cheers from Vienna!
In Response

by: Ivan from: California
January 12, 2013 17:08
Russia is not a bad place if you like vodka and hookers
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
January 13, 2013 17:21
... or, Ivan, except for hookers, who appear to be your utmost matter of concern, one could also be interested in moving to Russia if one is looking for a country whose economy HAS GROWN by some 3,5 % in the year 2012, as opposed to the Euro-zone, where Depardieu and other are glad to escape from, and whose economy SHRANK in the same period of time.

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