French actor Gerard Depardieu has been granted Russian citizenship.

A brief announcement on the Kremlin website said the president, Vladimir Putin, signed the citizenship grant on Thursday.

It's a good thing Napoleon isn't alive, or this could have become ugly.

Depardieu is upset over by President Francois Hollande's attempt to raise taxes on the rich to 75 percent. Russia has a flat income tax of 13 percent.

A representative for Depardieu declined comment.

Depardieu has made more than 150 films, among them the 1991 comedy "Green Card," co-starring Andie MacDowell, in which Depardieu's character enters a marriage of convenience to get U.S. residency.

According to the U.K. publication The Guardian, Depardieu said in an open letter published in mid-December that he would turn over his passport and French social security card.

His subsequent decision to move to tax-friendly Belgium was slammed by Hollande's government.

"I'm a true European, a citizen of the world," Depardieu wrote in the letter.

Well, which is it? Europe or the World?

The tax on millionaires was struck down by France's highest court last month, but the government has promised to resubmit the law in a slightly different form.

Depardieu is well known in Russia, where he appears in an ad for Sovietsky Bank's credit card and is prominently featured on the bank's home page.

Really?

France's civil code says a person must have another nationality in order to give up French citizenship because it is forbidden to be stateless. Thursday's decision by the Kremlin appears to fulfil that requirement.

Contact Tony Hicks at thicks@bayareanewsgroup.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.TonyHicks.