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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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Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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