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Depardieu Contemplates Move To Russia's Mordovia


Gerard Depardieu shows his passport after arriving at the airport in the town of Saransk in the Russian republic of Mordovia.
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