• France edition
 
Depardieu: Putin like Pope John Paul II
File photo: AFP

Depardieu: Putin like Pope John Paul II

Published: 18 May 2013 12:23 GMT+02:00
Updated: 18 May 2013 12:23 GMT+02:00

Depardieu is preparing to shoot a new film in Moscow and the Chechen capital Grozny -- a city rebuilt from the ground up after nearly two decades of war -- as he settles in to his new role as global ambassador of Russian culture.

The hulking actor received his new citizenship during a dinner with Putin -- object of scorn from Russia's youth-driven opposition movement -- in January after getting into a fight with the French authorities over a new 75-percent tax on the super-rich.

He told the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily in an interview published Saturday that he felt proud of what Putin has done in his 13 years in charge.

"I have many Russian friends -- Putin, for example," said the star of films such as "Cyrano de Bergerac" and winner of a multitude of the industry's most coveted awards.

"I will say what I think about Putin: the Russian nation needs a person just like this -- with a Russian temper. Putin is trying to return just a bit of dignity back to the people."

He then added: "For me, he is like (former French president) Francois Mitterrand or Pope John Paul II. I never said this to journalists before, but this is what I think."

The late pope was a staunch anti-Communist who is partially credited with helping to give strength to the pro-Western Solidarity movement in his native Poland in the 1980s.

Putin himself has called the collapse of the Soviet Union one of the great tragedies of the 20th century and is blamed by the opposition of failing to expose and condemn the worst of the atrocities committed by the dictator Joseph Stalin.

Depardieu hotly denied that he took on Russian citizenship as some public relations stunt aimed at reviving his career.

"That is just laughable," he told the popular Moscow tabloid. "I have more that 200 films. Who needs PR after that?!"

The straw-haired actor explained that he simply had to leave France because he could not live by French President Francois Hollande's policies and that he felt more comfortable with former leader Nicolas Sarkozy.

"I liked Sarkozy because everyone was against him," Depardieu said.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Paris Fashion Week: Five trends to emerge
Was Mexican wrestling-style masks one of the trends to emerge from the Paris Fashion Week? Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Paris Fashion Week: Five trends to emerge

Didn't manage to get a seat by the catwalk during this year's Paris Fashion week? No need to worry, here's five trends that emerged from the catwalks this week. READ  

Better to grow old in the UK and US than France?
Is it really better to grow old in the US and the UK than France? Plenty would disagree. Photo: Jazz Beaunola/Flickr

Better to grow old in the UK and US than France?

A new global study concludes pensioners have a better quality of life in the US and the UK than in France. This may come as a surprise to the thousands of retired expats who came to France to settle. So is the study wrong and where would you rather grow old? READ  

Paris tourism
Louvre and Versailles to open seven days a week
The Louvre in Paris will be open seven days a week in future. As will Versailles and the Musée d'Orsay.

Louvre and Versailles to open seven days a week

Three of France's most famous museums and art galleries - the Louvre, the Palace of Versailles and the Musee d'Orsay - will soon be open seven days a week, the government revealed on Wednesday. Many visitors may be surprised they aren't already open all week-round. READ  

Profile - A French 'executioner'?
Pot-smoking Frenchman is Isis 'executioner'
An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube allegedly shows members of a Jihadist group affiliated to the jihadist group Isis. Photo: AFP

Pot-smoking Frenchman is Isis 'executioner'

The man accused by the US State department of carrying out executions for the Islamist extremist group Isis was a "fun-loving" Frenchman who enjoyed smoking weed and going out clubbing, according to this report. READ  

First ever class action lawsuit filed in France
A property management company is the target of France's first ever class action suit. Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP

First ever class action lawsuit filed in France

On the same day class action lawsuits became legal in France, a consumer watchdog group filed one of the collective proceedings against the country’s biggest landlord over the "illegal" fees it charges renters. READ  

French cops revoke Le Pen's driving license
Far-right leader Marine Le Pen has had her driver's license revoked. Photo: Patrick Kovarik/AFP

French cops revoke Le Pen's driving license

French far-right politician Marine Le Pen had her driver’s license revoked after picking up one too many speeding tickets, it was revealed this week. It's also been claimed she recently moved house after one of her dad's dogs killed one of her beloved Bengal cats. READ  

Photo of the Day
Jay Z and Beyonce bump into Sark-O at the footy
"Don't laugh Jay-Z, I really am going to make a comeback Jay -Z". Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

Jay Z and Beyonce bump into Sark-O at the footy

Jay Z and his wife Beyonce were the surprise celeb guests at PSG's Champions League clash with Barcelona in Paris on Tuesday night where they bumped into the former French president Nicolas Sarkozy. But what could Sarkozy be saying here to the US rapper? READ  

Suspects identified in Frenchman's beheading
A photo paying homage to French tourist Hervé Gourdel who was beheaded in Algeria. Photo: Jean-Christophe Magnenet/AFP

Suspects identified in Frenchman's beheading

Some of the suspects in the kidnapping and beheading of French tourist Hervé Gourdel in Algeria have been identified, a minister in the north African country said on Tuesday. READ  

French Budget 2015
Budget 2015: €21 billion savings plus tax cuts
Protesters in France make their feelings clear about the government's efforts to balance the books. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

Budget 2015: €21 billion savings plus tax cuts

France's eagerly awaited 2015 budget was revealed on Wednesday which includes €21 billion of savings, a hike in the tax on diesel fuel as well as income tax cuts. The country's deficit would be brought in line with EU rules by 2017. READ  

PSG 3 - Barcelona 2
PSG's Blanc: 'We do our job for nights like this'
PSG's Blaise Matuidi leads the celebrates after his team's famous victory over Barcelona on Tuesday night. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

PSG's Blanc: 'We do our job for nights like this'

French champions Paris Saint-Germain earned a historic victory against Spanish giants Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday night. Here's all the reaction from PSG's delighted coach Laurent Blanc and his counterpart at Barca Luis Enrique. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Culture
Caption contest: What happened when Jay Z met Sark O?
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Marks and Spencer: Win €300 toward your new autumn wardrobe
International
This explains why the French never seem to get a sense of déjà vu?
National
VIDEO: Here's a view from the Eiffel Tower you haven't seen before
Travel
Do Paris's iconic rooftops deserve Unesco World Heritage status?
Opinion
'France cannot reform, the pilots' strike showed us this'
National
'We just don’t work hard enough in France.' Is that true?
International
France has moved to beef up security in various public places
National
Hiking naked in France does not come risk-free
Culture
10 French customs that confuse Anglos
National
IN PICTURES: A look inside France's 'most notorious' prison
International
Isis urges killing of 'spiteful, dirty' French
National
Paris installs new device to stop 'love lock' craze
National
Paris cabby dies in vicious high-heel attack
National
'Paris is a sexy city, its beauty is inspiring'
Culture
Depardieu: ‘I drink 14 bottles of booze a day’
National
Top French chefs want banned bird on menu
National
VIDEO: Making of French rugby hunk calendar
National
Ten great bars in Paris only locals know about
Society
France's top expat tribes: Which are you?
National
France to set flat-rate for Paris airport taxis
Politics
French separatists want Scots to say 'yes'
National
Anti-dog poo offensive launched in French town
National
Scammers attack Paris's top cop at tourist hotspot
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