14 January 2013 4:05 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Recent recipient of Russian passport says president is 'powerful political activist' and opposition has 'no programme, nothing'

Gérard Depardieu has heaped praise on Vladimir Putin and criticised the Russian opposition, a week after receiving Russian citizenship from the president.

"I like this man very much, he is a very powerful political activist," the French actor told the state-run Rossiya television. "He has political wisdom."

Dépardieu then delved into the details of Russia's political scene, saying the opposition was impotent. "The Russian opposition has no programme, nothing," he said, echoing the words of Kremlin officials. "There are very smart people there, like [the chess grandmaster Garry] Kasparov, but that's good for chess – politics is much more complicated."

Putin awarded Depardieu a Russian passport last week after the actor waged a public campaign to seek alternate citizenship in order to avoid high taxes in France.

Depardieu has been criticised in France for being unpatriotic. Abroad he »

- Miriam Elder

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