Freshly-minted Russian citizen, French actor, and tax-hopper Gérard Depardieu returned to Russia over the weekend to get his "propiska," the registration of residency that every Russian must have stamped into his passport.
He then traveled on to Chechnya, where he danced the traditional Caucasian lezginka with local strongman Ramzan Kadyrov and pledged to make a movie about the southern republic's stunning rebirth after two devastating wars in as many decades.
Russian media provided wall-to-wall coverage of Mr. Depardieu's visit, in what critics describe as a revival of the Soviet-era practice of cultivating sympathetic foreigners for propaganda purposes. Others argue it is just a matter of journalists piling onto a colorful story about a famous celebrity's hijinks in the Russian provinces.
Source: CS Monitor. Read full article. (link)