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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, Sept. 3


Although the Peter and Paul Fortress sand sculptures are more central and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today. The World Collection of Sand Sculptures that have been on display at the park reaches its final day, so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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