The French film actor Gerard Depardieu, a new recipient of Russian citizenship, is reportedly considering a move to the central Mordovia region.
Depardieu, who was personally granted a new passport from President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, on January 6 traveled to the Mordovian capital of Saransk, about 600 kilometers east of Moscow, where he visited local sights, ate blini, and received the keys to a new apartment, together with a legal residence permit.
The 64-year-old Depardieu, who said he was seeking a second citizenship in order to avoid a tax dispute in his native France, praised the beauty of the Mordovian women and said he had always wished to play Yemelyan Pugachyov, the leader of the 18th-century Cossack insurrection, who is immortalized in a monument in Saransk.
Meanwhile, former French actress and animal-rights activist Brigitte Bardot threatened to join Depardieu in Russian exile unless France halts the scheduled euthanasia of two sick circus elephants.
Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS, Interfax, AP, and Reuters