Depardieu ‘to build’ country cabin in Russia

Gerard Depardieu, the French actor who received a Russian passport this month, has bought a plot of land outside Moscow and is building a wooden house, a top Russian film official said in an interview.

Depardieu 'to build' country cabin in Russia
Gerard Depardieu, pictured embracing his 'friend' Russian President Vladimir Putin, on January 5th. Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev/Ria-Novosti/AFP

The star of "Cyrano de Bergerac" and "Green Card" was so taken with the Russian countryside that he bought the land even before Russian President Vladimir Putin handed him a passport this month, said Nikolai Borodachev, general director of the state film archive Gosfilmofond, on Friday.

Depardieu bought the plot in the village of Beliye Stolby which also houses Gosfilmofond's vast archive, Borodachev told popular daily Komsomolskaya Pravda.

"When he saw our countryside – birch trees and a pond with wild ducks and river rats swimming and where you can go fishing – he decided to settle down here," Borodachev said.

"Gerard himself chose the plot. And he asked me to start building a large, beautiful house that has to be made of wood. We've already laid the groundwork and put up a guest house where Gerard will live temporarily.”

The former Oscar nominee has also grown to love Russian cuisine, Borodachev added.

The tabloid described the village as a gated settlement with guard dogs and with a farm that provides food for residents.

“He will be given a present of a house.”

The 64-year-old actor threatened to give up his French citizenship after Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault branded him "pathetic" for announcing plans to become a tax exile in Belgium to avoid paying a temporary 75 percent tax on incomes above one million euros ($1.3 million).

During his visit to Russia earlier this month, Depardieu was feted as ahero and also invited to build a house in Saransk, the capital of Mordovia, a region famous for its punishing climate and network of Soviet-era labour camps.

"So far this is just being discussed," Borodachev was quoted as saying. "If Depardieu expresses a desire to live there, he will be given a present of a house near Saransk next to a pond so that he could fish there."

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Russia announces no New Year’s greetings for France, US, Germany

US President Joe Biden, France's Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will not be receiving New Year's greetings from Russian leader Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin said on Friday.

Russia announces no New Year's greetings for France, US, Germany

As the world gears up to ring in the New Year this weekend, Putin sent congratulatory messages to the leaders of Kremlin-friendly countries including Turkey, Syria, Venezuela and China.

But Putin will not wish a happy New Year to the leaders of the United States, France and Germany, countries that have piled unprecedented sanctions on Moscow over Putin’s assault on Ukraine.

“We currently have no contact with them,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

“And the president will not congratulate them given the unfriendly actions that they are taking on a continuous basis,” he added.

Putin shocked the world by sending troops to pro-Western Ukraine on February 24.

While Kyiv’s Western allies refused to send troops to Ukraine, they have been supplying the ex-Soviet country with weapons in a show of support that has seen Moscow suffer humiliating setbacks on the battlefield.