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From Paris with love: Depardieu votes in Russian election

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From Paris with love: Depardieu votes in Russian election
2018 file photo taken of French actor Gerard Depardieu. PHOTO: ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT / AFP
14:09 CET+01:00
One of Russia's most famous citizens, French film star Gerard Depardieu, joined the millions who cast ballots in Sunday's presidential election.
Depardieu, a friend of President Vladimir Putin who presented him with a Russian passport in 2013 during a tax row between the actor and French authorities, voted at the Russian embassy in Paris.
 
The embassy tweeted a picture of the 69-year-old, wearing a coat with fur trim and sunglasses perched on his head, popping his ballot in the box.
 
"Gerard Depardieu voted in the Russian presidential election at a polling station at the Russian embassy in France. Come!," it tweeted, urging other Russians in France to follow suit.
 
A video of the moment, tweeted by a reporter from Russian broadcaster RT, was widely circulated on French news sites, where it triggered a tide of mostly contemptuous responses.
 
"I don't like insults but for me this man is a sellout," one person tweeted in French. Another posted a GIF of a man vomiting.
 
Depardieu caused an uproar in 2012 when he declared he would hand back his French passport and move to Belgium to avoid a tax hike by the then Socialist government. His popularity slumped further after he accepted a Russian passport -- and a bear hug -- from Putin.
 
The larger-than-life star of "Cyrano de Bergerac" and the Asterix & Obelix franchise, who is still a French citizen, has since become a staunch defender of the Kremlin's policies, including its annexation of Crimea.
 
"I'm a citizen of the world," he told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera in 2016. "France is likely to become a Disneyland for foreigners, populated by imbeciles making wine and stinky cheese for tourists."
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