January 07, 2013 11:24
Depardieu leaves Russia for Switzerland
SARANSK. Jan 7 (Interfax) - French actor, businessman and vineyard owner Gerard Depardieu, who now holds a Russian passport, left Mordovia Sunday evening where he spent Christmas Eve, head of the press service of the head of Mordovia Natalia Kalitina told Interfax on Monday.
According to the Mordovian government, the actor did not stay for Russian Orthodox Christmas celebrations and flew to Zurich where he is to attend the FIFA Golden Ball award ceremony as a guest of honor.
During his Sunday visit to Saransk the French actor went on a sight-seeing tour and visited a Russian Orthodox church, the local history museum and a monument to the leader of an 18th century peasant revolt, Yemelyan Pugachev.
The head of the republic Vladimir Volkov told the foreign guest he was ready to present him an apartment or house in any part of Saransk.
When Depardieu arrived in Saransk at the invitation of the chief of the Russian film archives Gosfilmofond, Nikolai Borodachyov, he was greeted by a welcoming party with folk songs sung and pancakes served. The actor demonstrated his brand new Russian passport.
"They have a vacancy of the minister of culture of Mordovia and they offered it to Depardieu. He thanked them, but said he is the culture minister of the world," Borodachyov said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Interfax earlier on Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Depardieu met in Sochi and discussed Depardieu's work plans.
"The president had a brief meeting with Gerard Depardieu, who is paying a private visit to Russia," Peskov said.
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