Gerard Depardieu has returned to Russia for a slew of public engagements and to see his new address on “Democracy Street.”
The French actor was granted a Russian passport by President Vladimir Putin in early January, after a very public spat with the French government over President Francois Hollande’s move to impose a 75 percent super-tax on residents earning more than one million euros a year.
According to Agence France-Presse (AFP), the Cyrano de Bergerac star will spend some time in Moscow on Friday before traveling east to the provincial city of Saransk to register as a resident of Democracy Street, known in Russia as Demokraticheskaya Ulitsa.
“They will put a stamp in his most important document [passport] giving him permanent registration at a concrete address… The flat where Depardieu will be registered is in a building on Democracy Street in central Saransk,” Russian state television reported.
Depardieu’s new home is located in the Lenin district of the city and boasts a population of 300,000.
The apartment which the actor will stay in belongs to family members of the head of Russia’s State Film Fund, Nikolai Borodachev, who is a personal friend of the actor, AFP reports.
It is now known whether the actor will eventually buy the property or lease it indefinitely.
Russian television footage reportedly showed the the actor smiling when he arrived at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, after which he was whisked away in a chauffeur driven car.
Depardieu will also meet Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, and the Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky, the State Film Fund said Friday on its website. Perhaps fittingly, Russia’s newest citizen is also expected to open a newly restored cinema in a Stalin-era skyscraper.
This latest visit follows Putin’s official presentation of Depardieu’s passport to the actor last month. During that highly publicized trip the 64-year-old was given a red-carpet welcome and a bear hug from the President, Vanity Fair notes.