• France's news in English
 

Depardieu: Putin like Pope John Paul II

AFP · 18 May 2013, 12:23

Published: 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.

Story continues below…

"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
First French 'neutral gender' defends 'being genderless'
Photo: Whitecatsg/Flickr

First French 'neutral gender' defends 'being genderless'
4 hours ago

The first French person to be given the designation "neutral gender" appeared in court on Friday to testify in an appeal of the decision.

And the 'Liar of the year' award goes to Marine Le Pen
Marine Le Pen. Photo: AFP

And the 'Liar of the year' award goes to Marine Le Pen
5 hours ago

National Front leader Marine Le Pen has been voted as the "biggest liar" of 2015. But why?

Only in France - pig's entrails sold in vending machines
Photo: Kent Wang/ FLickr

Only in France - pig's entrails sold in vending machines
5 hours ago

As Paris gets its first automatic meat dispenser it seems "Only in France" could you buy bread, cheese, steak and pig's intestines from 24-hour street vending machines.

Calais: UN slams 'appalling' conditions for migrant kids
Children in the Jungle camp in Calais. Photo: AFP

Calais: UN slams 'appalling' conditions for migrant kids
7 hours ago

This time it's the United Nations that has blasted France for the conditions at Calais.

Americans in France
Where do Americans choose to live (or avoid) in France?
Photo: AFP

Where do Americans choose to live (or avoid) in France?
8 hours ago

Can you guess which region in France only 55 Americans call home?

How Paris plans to become a 'model' of cleanliness - really
The Canal Saint Martin area of Paris that has been plagued by litter problems. Photo: AFP

How Paris plans to become a 'model' of cleanliness - really
9 hours ago

Yes, you read that right.

State of Emergency
Emergency powers 'helped foil a terror attack': French PM
Photo: AFP

Emergency powers 'helped foil a terror attack': French PM
10 hours ago

The French PM defended the ongoing state of emergency in France on Friday claiming that the sweeping powers helped them foil a terror attack.

Airbnb hands over €1.2 million in tourist tax to Paris coffers
Photo: AFP

Airbnb hands over €1.2 million in tourist tax to Paris coffers
10 hours ago

Airbnb moves to appease critics by handing over €1.2 million in tourist taxes to Paris City Hall.

Unique French ski resort runs on old slag heap
Photo: AFP

Unique French ski resort runs on old slag heap
12 hours ago

France's busy little ski resort of Noeux-les-Mines is also its most unusual. It has no mountains, no snow, runs all year round and is built on a decades-old slag heap.

Deadly French drug trial: Lab had 'major shortcomings'
Biotrial, the firm that led the fatal trial.Photo: AFP

Deadly French drug trial: Lab had 'major shortcomings'
13 hours ago

The lab in France that led a drug trial in which a volunteer died and others were left with brain damage had 'major shortcomings'.

Sponsored Article
US taxes and FATCA: 'The time for hiding is over'
Travel
Wait... that's not snow! Check out France's most unique ski slope
Culture
Don't panic, France isn't bidding a final adieu to the circumflex
Culture
VIDEO: UK group performs Shakespeare for Calais refugees
National
France cuts more red tape: E.G. No license needed to collect horse's sperm
Gallery
How France could really simplify the French language (for us learners)
Culture
Say good bye to 'oignon': How 2,400 French words will get new spellings
Sport
US calls on French help to prevent 'Paris-style' attack at Super Bowl
Culture
Betty Blue star Béatrice Dalle says she ate a dead man's ear (while on acid)
Analysis & Opinion
It's no surprise the French are losing faith in Hollande's war on terror
Culture
What's on: Here are 10 great things to do in France in February
Culture
The 300-metre monument Paris could have had instead of the Eiffel Tower
How a drunken stunt with a mattress on an Alps ski slope ended in tragedy
Culture
Chandeleur - The day the French get superstitious
Culture
Did fear of losing success drive top French chef to commit suicide?
See what changes in France from February 1st
Culture
'S**t! B**lox!'- Ramsay sees Versailles restaurant lose star
Lifestyle
Le Chandeleur: Why do the French eat crêpes on February 2nd?
Culture
Mad Max director to head Cannes Film Festival jury
National
'And what if your daughter married a Muslim?' - Survey shocks France
Features
Are these really 'the only streets in Paris' you need to go to?
Culture
Is the Michelin guide worth the paper it's written on?
Society
VIDEO: See the Canal Saint-Martin in Paris in 1926
Society
Is this the simple solution for Brits stressed out by driving in France?
3,550
jobs available