Gerard Depardieu launches ‘Proud to be Russian’ line of watches: French actor had passport hand delivered by Putin

Fresh from his hit role playing Rasputin in a biopic, Depardieu stars in a Russian-themed fashion campaign

Gérard Depardieu, the French actor, has partnered with Swiss watch manufacturer Cystos to launch a brand new ‘Proud to be Russian’ line of watches.

Ever the flamboyant character, a post on the Cystos brand Facebook page from earlier this month (scroll down to see it in full) shows Depardieu wearing one of the new $30,000-a-pop Challenge Jetliner watches, which features the Russian national crest of a double-headed eagle. Alongside a pair of leopard print glasses. As one so frequently does.

So, why is Depardieu, a Frenchman by birth, so filled with pride for Russia?

There are three rather large possibilities:

1) Not only was he accepted to become a Russian citizen last year, but he had his brand spanking new passport delivered to his door… By Vladimir Putin.

2) “This region doesn't have oil or gas but has rich people who make their wishes come true in life,” he said as he purchased an expansive piece of property in the Mordivia region.

3) He moved to Russia following a new French tax law, that saw the wealthy with incomes above €1million a year taxed at 75 per cent.

But, like every Frenchman, he isn’t about to let a little thing like emigration define him.

"I refuse to be trapped within borders... I'm a free man. I feel at home everywhere in Europe," he once said.

Seemingly determined to collect as many passports as possible,  Depardieu, who recently played Rasputin in a biopic, also became an honorary citizen of Belgium last year.

Of course, the whole ‘proud to be Russian’ tagline might not go down too well in the rest of Europe at the moment.

Russia were turfed out of the G8 group of industrialised nations over its aggressive annexation of Crimea, which officially became part of the Russian Federation after a referendum.

The group was set to meet in Sochi in June, but the meeting has been cancelled and moved to The Hague.

“This group came together because of shared beliefs and shared responsibilities,” the now G7 leaders said in a statement. “Russia's actions in recent weeks are not consistent with them. Under these circumstances, we will not participate in the planned Sochi summit.”

Depardieu will next play former Fifa president Jules Rimet in F2014. He’ll also take on the role of former IMF head Domininque Strauss-Khan in Welcome to New York.

He was set to star in Silk Road, which was written by the daughter of Uzbekistan's president Gulnara Karimova, but it’s been all but scrapped due to family in-fighting.

Still it didn’t stop the pair from recording their very own – very French – duet together.

Read More: Depardieu: 'I Still Love France!'
Depardieu's Business Empire Expands Into Belgium
Depardieu Fined And Banned From Driving
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