Articles & Notes — January 14, 2013 at 11:45 am

Gerard Depardieu arrives in Azerbaijan’s capital, doesn’t reveal reasons

depardieu-gerardFamous French actor Gerard Depardieu has today arrived in Azerbaijan’s capital of Baku.

The actor, who recently received Russian citizenship, after leaving France because of high taxes, did not reveal the real reason of his visit to Baku, when he spoke to the Russian “Russia 24” Tv-channel on Jan. 13.

“I arrived in Baku, since I know the country’s president Ilham Aliyev very well, as well as the minister of culture Abulfaz Garayev. I also have a lot of friends here, who are busy with municipal improvements,” he said.

Depardieu noted in the interview that he has a lot of common things with Baku, since back in 1956 he appeared in two short 50-min movies, based on Alexander Dumas’ “Visit to Caucasus”.

The French actor also added that he has visited several countries in the last couple of days.

Depardieu visited Azerbaijan back in September of 2012, regarding his new film project, that was not highlighted in the press at the time.

At the same time, in September of 2012, Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism hosted the signing of a contract with the French “CTM” company, for re-constructing the “Azerbaijanfilm” cinema theater.

Azerbaijani minister of culture and tourism Abulfaz Garayev, “CTM” director Arnaud Frilley and Gerard Depardieu took part in the event.

Recently, according to Hollywood Reporter, Russian media and bloggers have pointed to irregularities surrounding the issuing of a Russian passport to Depardieu.

The country’s main online newspaper,, reported that the Russian migration service apparently neglected some regulations by issuing a Russian passport to Depardieu in a record short time and during a period when all official agencies were on New Year’s vacation.

The publication cited a regulation, under which an internal Russian passport is to be issued or re-issued at a place of the holder’s residence, while Depardieu’s passport was issued by the Moscow office of the federal migration service.

Depardieu previously said that he had no plans of residing in Moscow. Currently, the actor has no residence in Russia at all. also doubted that Depardieu was able to submit 11 documents required to apply for Russian citizenship in just over a day.

The report also cited examples of foreign nationals who were granted Russian citizenship for their outstanding contributions to Russian sports.

It took 10 days to issue a Russian passport to Korea-born short track Olympic champion An Hyun Su a year ago, following a decree by then President Dmitry Medvedev, while American-born snowboarder Vic Wild waited for his passport for several months.

Russian bloggers also noted that the photo in Depardieu’s Russian passport was apparently downloaded off the internet, and was taken back in 2007, with Depardieu posing in it next to French actress Sandrine Bonnaire.

Under Russian law, a passport photo has to be recent. The passport, which the actor proudly displayed after his meeting with President Vladimir Putin earlier this week, also lacks a signature of his holder.

Meanwhile, Depardieu continues to attract attention from various Russian organizations. On January 11, it was announced that he was granted the status of an honorary citizen of the region of Udmurtia.

The same day, Russia’s Communist Party said it had invited Depardieu to join the party.

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