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Depardieu Holds Forth on Russian Politics

Published: January 16, 2013 (Issue # 1742)



  • Actor Gerard Depardieu fills an advert on the side of a bus in St. Petersburg.
    Photo: DMITRY LOVETSKY / AP

Actor andnewly minted Russian citizen Gerard Depardieu belittled thecountrys opposition as disoriented andattacked foreign critics ofthe prosecution ofthe punk band Pussy Riot.

The Russian opposition has no program, nothing, he said inan interview Sunday night onstate television channel Rossia 1.

He added that having very intelligent leaders like former chess champion Garry Kasparov was not enough. Politics is alittle more complicated, he said.

Depardieus comments came just 10 days after President Vladimir Putin gave him aRussian passport inthe head ofstates Sochi residence.

Depardieu followed up themuch-publicized meeting with atrip toMordovia, aFinno-Ugric region onthe Volga River, where he was elevated tosomething ofa national icon.

State television feted theactors visit, showing footage ofhim putting ona local ethnic costume andshowing off his new passport during apublic reception inSaransk, theregional capital.

Theactor was reportedly offered anapartment as his official residence inMordovia, but he declined anoffer tobecome therepublics culture minister, saying he is already the worlds culture minister, Russian News Service Radio reported, quoting State Film Fund (Gosfilmofond) director Nikolai Borodachyov.

Depardieu was subsequently offered thetitle ofhonorary Udmurt byactivists inUdmurtia, another Finnic-speaking region. ACommunist State Duma deputy asked him tojoin theCommunist Party, anda theater inthe Siberian city ofTyumen offered him ajob, albeit fora humble 16,000 rubles ($527) per month.

InSundays interview, he used last years Pussy Riot performance inMoscows Christ theSavior Cathedral tolambaste recent French criticism ofRussia as baseless.

He said that if band members had performed ina mosque, they would not have come out alive, andhe added that their behavior would have caused outrage even inthe Catholic world. Similar arguments have been made byPutin inthe past.

If I say such things inFrance, Im labeled anidiot, he said.

However, Depardieus decision toaccept Russian citizenship elicited heaps ofmockery andcriticism both inside andoutside thecountry.

OnSaturdays episode ofOn Nest Pas Couché, apopular late-night show onFrench television, actor Jonathan Lambert staggers onstage pretending tobe Yury Depardioff, who speaks with aheavy Russian accent.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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