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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

Wednesday, Oct. 1


The St. Petersburg International Innovation Forum 2014 kicks off today at Lenexpo, where it will be presenting the latest and greatest ideas until Oct. 3. Focusing on economic development and the decisions and measures necessary to encourage development in Russias most important industries, the event is a possibility to discuss the innovations currently available in a variety of fields.


Representatives of the Russian and international media industries arrive in St. Petersburg for the first ever International Media Forum being hosted by the city until Oct. 10. With a variety of events on tap, including workshops, lectures and film screenings, the event plans to reemphasize the citys reputation as the countrys culture capital and as an emerging market and location for the visual arts.



Thursday, Oct. 2


The celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Mikhail Lermontov continues with todays free exhibition in the citys Lermontov Library at 19 Liteiny Prospekt. Titled Under the Rustling Wings, the temporary exhibition will feature the costumes and scenery used in the 1917 production of Lermontovs play The Masquerade, which he wrote in 1835 when he was only 21 years old.



Friday, Oct. 3


Learn more about how to manage and evaluate employee performance during SPIBAs Human Resources Committee meeting this morning on Employee Assessment: Global and Local Trends. Starting at 9:30 a.m., the discussion will touch on such topics as the partnership between HR and business, reliable assessment strategies and more, with Tatiana Andrianova, the head of the SHL Russia and CIS branch in St. Petersburg, as the featured guest. Confirm your participation by Oct. 2 by emailing office@spiba.ru or calling 325 9091.


AmChams Procurement Committee Meeting is at 9 a.m. this morning in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.



Saturday, Oct. 4


Wine and cheese lovers will get their chance to revel during Scandinavia Country Club and Spas Wine Market Weekend. Going on today and tomorrow, wining diners can listen to live music, take part in culinary classes and, of course, sample a variety of fine wines from around the world. The cost of admission is 400 rubles ($10.30) for adults and 200 rubles ($5.15) for children.



Sunday, Oct. 5


Look for the latest fall fashions at the Autumn Market today in Freedom Anticafe at 7 Kazanskaya Ulitsa. The minimarket plans to offer clothes more flattering than the puffy jackets that are a staple of the citys cold-weather fashion, while offering the same amount of protection from the biting winds blowing off of the Baltic.



Monday, Oct. 6


SKA St. Petersburg, the citys KHL affiliate, welcomes Slovakian club HC Slovan in a match-up tonight at the Ice Palace near the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be purchased on the clubs website or in person at either the arenas box office or the clubs merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Oct. 7


Learn more about Russias energy industry at the St. Petersburg Energy Forum that begins today and runs through Oct. 10. Attracting industry experts and political and business representatives, the forum plans to welcome more than 350 plus companies and their representatives to discuss the future of Russias largest economic sector.



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