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Actor Depardieu makes Russia trip after accepting citizenship

By CNN Staff
January 5, 2013 -- Updated 1841 GMT (0241 HKT)
Gerard Depardieu is opposed to French government plans for a tax increase on the rich.
Gerard Depardieu is opposed to French government plans for a tax increase on the rich.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • State media: Gerard Depardieu is in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi
  • The French-born actor said Friday he had accepted an offer of Russian citizenship
  • He is angered by French government plans to raise taxes on its richest nationals
  • Depardieu is expected to meet with President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, state media say

Moscow (CNN) -- French-born actor Gerard Depardieu arrived in the Black Sea resort of Sochi Saturday, according to Russian state media, a day after he announced that he had accepted Russian citizenship.

He is expected to meet with President Vladimir Putin -- who granted the citizenship to him personally by presidential decree -- on Saturday evening, official news agency RIA Novosti reported.

Depardieu could potentially receive his Russian passport during the meeting, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the news agency.

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Depardieu and Putin are friends, and the actor has worked in Russia before. In a letter to journalists, Depardieu gushed with praise for the country and its society, RIA Novosti reported.

The movie star and businessman recently fled his native France in a high-profile protest against government plans for a tax hike on the rich, moving just across the border to the town of Nechin, Belgium.

France's socialist administration wants to raise taxes on citizens earning more than 1 million euros ($1.3 million) annually to 75%. The Russian Federation has a flat income tax rate of 13%, RIA Novosti reported.

France's constitutional council struck down the top tax rate measure at the end of last year, but President Francois Hollande has voiced his determination still to ask for more from "those who have the most."

Photos: Tracing the coast of the Black Sea

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CNN's Arkady Irshenko in Moscow and Ben Brumfield in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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