Putin offers French tax row actor Depardieu a Russian passport

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Pedestrian walks in the centre of Nechin, a town just across the border from FranceMOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin offered French actor Gerard Depardieu a Russian passport on Thursday, saying he would welcome the 63-year-old celebrity who is embroiled in a bitter tax row with France's socialist government. Weighing into a dispute over a hike in taxes, Putin heaped praise on Depardieu, making the offer of citizenship in response to a question during his annual televised press conference. "If Gerard really wants to have either a residency permit in Russia or a Russian passport, we will assume that this matter is settled and settled positively," Putin said. …

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