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Depardieu likens President Vladimir Putin to Pope John Paul II and François Mitterand

French actor Gérard Depardieu with Russian President Vladimiur Putin
French actor Gérard Depardieu with Russian President Vladimiur Putin Reuters

 In an interview published on Saturday, French actor Gérard Depardieu may have ruffled a few feathers when he likened Russian president Vladimir Putin to Pope John Paul II and to former French president François Mitterand.

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With the ink just dry from his new Russian citizenship papers, Deprardieu was quoted in the Russian daily tabloid paper Komsomolskaya Pravda saying “I want to tell you what I think of Putin: the Russian state needs someone like that with a Russian temperament. Putin is trying to bring back dignity to the people”.

“From the first moment I met him [...], I felt something. For me, he is like François Mitterand, or Pope Jean Paul II” said Depardieu.

He went on to deny that acquiring Russian citizenship was nothing more than a publicity stunt,  “It’s laughable. I’ve been in more than 200 films. Who needs publicity after that?”

A year ago, the French government announced a 75 percent tax rate on people who earn more than one million Euros. Depardieu was one of the more vocal celebrities to express his dismay over the change and vowed to leave France. He first came to Belgium, and soon after President Vladimir Putin offered him a Russian passport in January and a place to live.

During his interview, he continuously professed to “love Russia and its culture” and to have helped former French president Nicolas Sarkozy “because everyone was against him”.

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