French actor Gerard Depardieu has been declared “Persona Non Grata” for a period of five years by the National Security Service of Ukraine. Interestingly, the Ukrainian Culture Ministry perceives Depardieu as a national threat.
While the ban against Gerard Depardieu is enforced with immediate effect, other Russia-friendly international film stars are being closely monitored and increasingly perceived as national security threat by Ukraine. The country is also considering banning the movies in which Depardieu and other stars that do not have a kind word for Ukraine appear. The ministry was already engrossed in making a list of actors, musicians and other cultural figures who share Depardieu’s views on the riot-riddled country.
According to news website Apostrof, the ban materialized after a letter originated from Ukraine’s national security service, the SBU. Apparently, the letter mentioned “Depardieu has been banned in the interest of ensuring the security of our state.” Moreover, Depardieu was the center of wide criticism by supporting Russia’s annexation of Crimea last year, reported MSN.
It’s no secret, Ukraine is considered pro-Western since Russia is a constant looming threat to its sovereignty. Gerard Depardieu managed to get on the bad side simply by appearing to be a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Moreover, Depardieu had more-or-less denied the very existence of the country through his comments last year. He was widely quoted for his comment:
“I love Russia and Ukraine, which is part of Russia,”
Surprisingly, Depardieu never categorically denied having made that explosive comment and is apparently quite welcome in Russia. However, there is another reason why Depardieu cozied up to Putin and won himself a five year ban from Ukraine.
Gerard Depardieu has never liked high taxation policies of his native, France. Under the protest over a proposed tax on the super-rich in the country, Depardieu decided to take Russian citizenship last year. Needless to say, he was welcomed with open arms by Vladimir, who promptly offered Depardieu a Russian passport in January 2013.
Essentially, for all legal (and financial) purposes, Gerard Depardieu is a Russian citizen, which is ruled by Putin with an iron hand. Moreover, Russia and more specifically Putin is commonly believed to have backed corruption-tainted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his cabinet, which was overthrown by pro-European protests last year, reported World Bulletin.
While it is uncertain how banning film stars is going to help Ukraine’s cause, Gerard Depardieu has certainly been shown he is unwelcome in the country.
[Image Credit | Mikhail Klimentyev, Alexa Stankovic / Getty Images]