A month after getting Russian citizenship, French actor Gerard Depardieu has moved a step closer towards becoming a tax payer in Russia when he registered as a resident in a Russian provincial city on Saturday.

Mr. Depardieu had his Russian passport stamped with his new address at a ceremony in Saransk attended by the mayor and other officials.

The legendary actor was registered in a flat owned by relatives of his Russian friend, the head of Russia’s state film archives Nikolai Borodachev.

Better than Moscow

Saransk, a city of 300,000 people about 600 km south east of Moscow, is the capital of the Russian region of Mordovia. “Glory to Russia, glory to Mordovia!” the new resident of Saransk exclaimed, according to the RIA Novosti news agency.

The actor said he liked Saransk better than “fussy” Moscow and planned to build his own house there.

“Yemelyan Pugachev [Russian rebel leader] was a peasant tsar who came to Kazan and to Saransk. I am like Pugachev: I am a peasant, and I want to be tsar of Saransk,” Mr. Depardieu joked at a news conference in Saransk.

It is the actor’s second visit to Saransk in two months. He was issued a Russian passport in the city last month after President Vladimir Putin granted him Russian citizenship.

Mr. Depardieu decided to renounce French citizenship in protest against the French government’s plans to slap a 75-per cent super-tax on rich people. By contrast, Russia has a flat 13-per cent income tax. However, to take advantage of Russia’s low tax the actor, apart from having local registration, must spend at least 181 days in a year in this country. Mr. Depardieu said he had already discussed plans with the Russian Culture Minister to launch a TV series based on Russian literature.

“I hope to learn Russian to be able to communicate with people here,” he said.

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