Depardieu takes up residence in provincial Russia
French actor and newly-minted Russian citizen Gerard Depardieu on Saturday formally registered as resident of the little-known Russian region of Mordovia, giving his residence as No. 1, Democracy Street.
In a grand ceremony in Mordovia's main city of Saransk that bore little relation to the average Russian's experience of local bureaucracy, Depardieu signed a form and had his passport stamped to formally become a resident.
The procedure was greeted by wild applause by the crowds crammed into the city's theatre to witness the procedure as the burly French megastar grinned broadly.
"Glory to Saransk, Glory to Mordovia, Glory to Russia!" he bellowed in celebration, in heavily-accented Russian.
Depardieu then proudly produced the Russian passport, complete with the new registration stamp, to show off to the cameras, an AFP correspondent said.
His address was announced as an apartment on No. 1, Democracy Street in an upscale area of Saransk which belongs to relatives of his friend, the head of Russia's State Film Fund Nikolai Borodachev.
All Russian citizens are obliged to to be formally registered as living in a certain city, town or village with a corresponding stamp in their passport to prove it.
Depardieu was granted a Russian passport by President Vladimir Putin in January after complaining at high tax rates in France. This trip is his second to Russia as a Russian citizen and he is expected to stay in Saransk for several days.
The Mordovia region in central Russia was until know chiefly known for its network of prison camps where one of the jailed Pussy Riot punks is serving her sentence.
© 2013 AFP