Yesterday, the affable French actor Gérard Depardieu donned a traditional Russian folk tunic and an even goofier grin, and officially became a Russian citizen. (He then grabbed dinner with Vladimir Putin—we hope Gérard offered to cover the bill.)
If you hadn’t been following Depardieu-gate, it was an incredibly European affair involving tax evasion, a country scorned and the Frenchman with a nose only a country like France could love. Basically, the millionaire was tired of paying taxes in France and so renounced his citizenship and moved to a small town in Russia called Saransk. (We hear it’s lovely this time of year.)
It’s a bold move for a man decorated and beloved by the French public—and, for a time, America. He once commanded such a high international celebrity that he was able to make a movie in France whose plot centered around a torridly inappropriate father-daughter relationship—and then to turn around and make the same exact movie in English and to similarly great success in the US three years later. (Coincidentally, launching the career of a 14-year-old up-and-comer by the name of Katherine Heigl.) It’s the stuff Kempt Icons are made of. Sadly, fleeing the country that made you rich to avoid paying your fair share of taxes is not.
(Though if we were ever to make an exception to our no-tax-evaders rule, it’d be for Depardieu. Or Wesley Snipes.)