French actor Gérard Depardieu has said that he is “ready to die” for Russia, the country where he became a citizen in 2013 after fleeing his native France in protest against the introduction of a 75% tax on annual earnings over €1m ($1.3m).
“I am ready to die for Russia because its people are strong; I do not want to die like a fool in today‘s France,” Depardieu told Vanity Fair, French news site Voici reported. “I don’t believe in myself because I’ve been raised with values I don’t share. I didn’t feel French.”
The actor has promoted his new homeland enthusiastically since gaining citizenship. In December, Depardieu attracted media attention after he launched a bizarre advertising campaign to promote his new line of watches “Proud to be Russian” for luxury Swiss manufacturer Cvstos. Also last year, the actor, who claims to sometimes drink up to 14 bottles of wine a day, announced plans to produce an environmentally friendly “bio-vodka” in Russia to be made from the “purest” ingredients.
“I’ve lived it all,” Depardieu added. “This, not many people can say; I can die now.”