• France's news in English
 

Depardieu parties with Chechen strongman

AFP/The Local · 25 Feb 2013, 14:34

Published: 25 Feb 2013 14:34 GMT+01:00

The French actor, who was given Russian citizenship by President Vladimir Putin amid a tax row with Paris, arrived in Chechnya's main city Grozny on a private jet after touring dairy factories in Saransk, the city in central Russia where he took residence at the weekend.

The actor toured sights in Grozny Monday after dancing the night away with Chechnya's leadership. He visited several museums and the city's giant mosque, where he "was shaken by its grandeur and beauty," the Chechen government website said.

Russia's state-controlled channels followed spellbound as Depardieu was hosted by a tracksuited Kadyrov in his vast residence, where entertainment
included a children's folk dancing troupe in national costumes and a female singer in a hijab who performed a French hit song "Je t'aime".

Footage showed Depardieu eventually breaking into a dance at the party late Sunday, attempting to do the Chechen lezginka (national dance) alongside a
young woman in a coloured scarf, as his host and other officials clapped with contented smiles.

"This is a visit to see my friend," Depardieu was quoted as saying Monday by the Chechen government press service.

Kadyrov, 36, who has ruled Chechnya with an iron grip since 2007 and oversaw vast redevelopment and Islamisation in the war-torn region, is loathed
by rights campaigners who accuse him of ordering kidnappings and extrajudicial killings.

The Chechen leader, who recently emerged as a prolific photo blogger, also documented the party on his Instagram site.

On Monday, Kadyrov blogged that he presented Depardieu with a five-room apartment in Chechnya and named him an honorary citizen of the republic. The actor was presented with a special lapel pin and honorary citizen ID card.

One image shows Kadyrov and Depardieu shaking hands over a table full of food, with the caption announcing the start of a new film project called
"Heart of a Father", to be filmed in Grozny.

Photo: Instagram screengrab/Ramzan Kadyrov

"I want to make a movie here, to show that a big film can be made in Grozny," Depardieu was quoted as saying by the Chechen government's official
website. "I want to explain how one man could build a city anew in five years."

"I am sure that happy people live here. Because you need to be truly happy to sing and dance the way Chechens do it," he added.

Rights group Memorial was unimpressed with the French star's antics in Grozny.

"A well-known actor cannot be juggling his name in this way, travelling from dictator to dictator," said leading Memorial activist Oleg Orlov.

Orlov said Depardieu's remarks only showed the actor, once again, as a "dishonourable" man. "This man does not want to understand the realities, he wants to glorify the president of Chechnya," Orlov said, calling Kadyrov "the absolute owner of this small republic, a de-facto dictator.

Gerard Depardieu, who over the years has developed business and personal ties with much-criticized regimes such as those of Cuba or Uzbekistan, was already in Chechnya last October for Kadyrov's 36th birthday.

AFP/The Local (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
French reporters 'blackmail king'
King Mohammed VI of Morocco. Photo: Fadel Senna / AFP

French reporters 'blackmail king'

10 hours ago

Two French investigative journalists have been charged in Paris with trying to blackmail the king of Morocco, legal sources said Saturday.

French meal-sharing websites under fire
Photo: Nicolas Tucat/AFP

French meal-sharing websites under fire

12 hours ago

First taxis rose up against Uber, then hotels challenged Airbnb and now, restaurants in France are taking on meal-sharing sites they believe create unfair competition and could sap jobs.

French drug dealer held for giving free samples
On the handwritten leaflet the dealer added a taped half gram of cannabis resin. Photo: Police Nationale

French drug dealer held for giving free samples

1 day ago

A man in central France has been hauled in by the police after he reportedly gave out flyers advertising his product - together with a free sample of cannabis resin.

Top French MP quits 'leftist' Green party
French MP and former member of Ecological-Green Party (EELV) Francois de Rugy gives a press conference. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

Top French MP quits 'leftist' Green party

1 day ago

One of the leaders of the ecologist parliamentary group, François de Rugy, has resigned from France’s Green Party, claiming that the party has moved too far to the left.

Minister: 35-hour week not working in France
French Economy Minister Emmanual Macron. Photo: AFP

Minister: 35-hour week not working in France

1 day ago

France's Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron took aim at France's 35-hour working week on Thursday, saying the Socialists were wrong to think life would improve if people worked fewer hours.

French traffic headaches forecast as holidays end
Being stuck in a car or a train will not be pleasant this weekend. Photo: AFP

French traffic headaches forecast as holidays end

1 day ago

School's back next week - and the weekend traffic is forecast to be a nightmare as everyone returns home from their holidays. Here's what you need to know.

Ligue 1
Kurzawa out of clash with former club Monaco
Paris Saint-Germain newly recruited defender Layvin Kurzawa. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Kurzawa out of clash with former club Monaco

1 day ago

New Paris Saint-Germain signing Layvin Kurzawa will miss an immediate return to former employers Monaco on Sunday due to an ankle injury.

French fraudster targets women called Josette
Several Josettes in France have been targeted by the fraudster. Photo: Duru/Flickr

French fraudster targets women called Josette

1 day ago

French women named Josette are advised to be on their guard after three women with that name were targeted by a fraudster in the northern city of Rouen. Several other Josettes are also thought to have been targeted.

Scarlett Johansson loses war on French book
The decision to republish comes one year after Delacourt was ordered to pay the star €2,500 ($3400) for his depiction of her in the novel. Photo: AFP

Scarlett Johansson loses war on French book

1 day ago

A French novel based on American actress Scarlett Johansson which the star sought to ban has now been translated into English and will be published in the UK within weeks, British media has reported.

UN to meet in Paris over minorities hit by Isis

UN to meet in Paris over minorities hit by Isis

1 day ago

A UN conference on minorities persecuted by the Islamic State group will be held on September 8th in Paris, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Thursday.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

IN PICS: Police evict 300 people from France's oldest shanty town
11-year-old boy miraculously survives six-storey fall in Paris
Features
Take a look at some of the wackiest bars you can find in Paris
National
Feminist stunt sees French road signs changed for the day
National
Two men jailed after 'Charlie Hebdo 2' scare
National
French minister calls for tougher train security after foiled attack
National
President Hollande condemns arson attack on mosque
TIMELINE: What exactly happened on the Paris-bound "terror train"?
Travel
Could coaches overtake trains when it comes to travelling in France?
Train gunman: Islamic extremist or homeless misfit?
Meet the five heroes who foiled the French train attack
National
France set for 'tourism record' of 85 million visitors in 2015
National
Paris students are helping police to warn Asian visitors about crime
Naked couple found dead beside French fortress
Europe's biggest science museum burns in Paris
Robber found half-naked and asleep in French beauty salon
National
Here are eight tips for blending in with the French while at the beach
Humans of Paris: We meet the man changing our perception of Parisians
National
France reveals new plans for Sunday and late-night shopping
Read about this revolutionary kidney op in a Toulouse hospital
National
Panic after four dogs 'poisoned' after walks in Paris park
France hit by huge summer spike in abandoned pets
National
France boils in second hottest summer ever
Technology
Meet Max - the first person in France to receive a 3D-printed hand
Politics
French minister admits to 'Obama engagement' tweeting mishap
Features
From giant bubbles to treehouses - here are the craziest hotels in France
National
How would you like to spend a night in the Palace of Versailles?
French manager paid to do nothing for 12 years
Features
We talk to Calais residents about their migrant crisis
National
Cow spared after fleeing from abattoir in France
FIVE reasons why everyone should visit Calais... yes Calais
Travel
France for adrenaline junkies: Ten crazy things to do
VIDEO: Slingshot elastic breaks on ride at French theme park
This plant might spell the end of the Asian hornet invasion
Who says the French don't like speaking English
National
It may be trickier to find a baguette in Paris this August
Killers of French student were 'inspired by Breaking Bad'
Ten must-see French gems you probably never thought of visiting
Is it time for France to force Britain to move border back across Channel?
Is romance in France just a "heterosexual concept"?
Can YOU pronounce these ten French town names?
Dog buried alive sparks French social media fury
New plan to get shy French chatting on trains
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se