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Depardieu slams Pussy Riot in latest outburst

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Depardieu slams Pussy Riot in latest outburst
Depardieu appeared in Montenegro on January 8th, declining to face drink-driving charges in a Paris court on that date. Photo: Savo Prelevic/AFP
13:08 CET+01:00
French actor Gérard Depardieu has once again courted controversy, suggesting that members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot had been let off lightly as well as attacking Russia's opposition for being 'stupid'.

Appearing on Russian TV station Rossiya-24 on Sunday the iconic Frenchman seemed to defend the treatment of Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, who are currently serving two year sentences in Russian manual labour camps for 'hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.'

French media were quick to pounce on Depardieu's latest outburst with reports of the interview making headlines in Monday's press.

"Imagine if these ladies walked into a mosque - they would not come out alive," said the eccentric star of Cyrano de Bergerac and The Last Metro. "But when I say such things in France, I am considered an idiot." 

Speaking in French, Depardieu also made his first foray into the messy world of Russian party politics, attacking the opposition for having "no programme, nothing," though he acknowledged the movement did contain "intelligent people" such as former World Chess Champion and prominent dissenter, Gary Kasparov.  "That's fine for chess, but that's about all," he concluded.

Depardieu, who faces drink-driving charges in France, was granted a Russian passport on January 6th, after a lavish banquet hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has declared the two 'friends.'

Denouncing domestic opposition to Putin's rule - which in recent years has involved public demonstrations of hundreds of thousands of protestors - a cigarette-smoking Depardieu lamented that "unfortunately the masses are stupid. Only the individual is beautiful."

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