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Depardieu Takes Up Residence In Mordovia

French actor Gerard Depardieu
French actor Gerard Depardieu
French actor Gerard Depardieu has been formally registered as a resident of Russia's republic of Mordovia.

Depardieu was registered as a resident at No.1 Democracy Street in the regional capital, Saransk, some 650 kilometers east of Moscow.

At a ceremony in Mordovia's National Theater on February 23, Depardieu signed a form and had his passport stamped to formally become a resident.

The procedure was greeted with applause by the crowds gathered in the theater to witness the ceremony.

In heavily accented Russian, Depardieu shouted: "Glory! Glory to Saransk! Glory to Mordovia! Glory to Russia!"

He then proudly produced his Russian passport with the new registration stamp to show off to the cameras.

Depardieu was granted a Russian passport by President Vladimir Putin in January after complaining of high tax rates in France.

On February 23, he was registered at an apartment which belongs to relatives of his friend, the head of Russia's State Film Fund Nikolai Borodachyov.

Russian media reports said Depardieu is now expected to spend several days touring Mordovia, where he reportedly plans to build a country house and also open a small restaurant in Saransk.

Love For Russia

Visiting Moscow's Bolshoi Theater this week, Depardieu said he was going to study Russian, host a show on Russian TV, and also wanted to play the role of Yemelyan Pugachyov, the leader of an 18th-century peasant rebellion.

"And I can say that I am kind of ambassador now to the world of the new Russia that I love very much," Depardieu said.

Depardieu, 64, has repeatedly proclaimed his love for Putin and of Russia, which he has called a "great democracy."

Quiz: How Well Do You Know Gerard Depardieu?

Mordovia is chiefly known for its network of prison camps where one of the jailed Pussy Riot members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, is serving her prison sentence.

Tolokonnikova and another Pussy Riot member, Maria Alyokhina, were sentenced to two years in jail for performing a "punk prayer" against Putin in Moscow's main Orthodox Cathedral in February 2012.

A third band member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released on appeal with a suspended sentence.

With reporting by Interfax, RIAN, and AFP
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