French actor Gerard Depardieu has fled from France to Russia after coming under criticism for his tax avoidance, Vladimir Putin having offered him Russian citizenship.
Under the new French socialist government, those who earn over one million Euros per annum have to pay 75% tax. That percentage seems enormous, but is it so harsh to ask someone to learn to live on just EUR 250,000? The average salary in France is just over EUR 20,000 (OECD) so surely he can do with ten times that amount.
Depardieu strongly disagrees and he'd bought a house just over the border in Belgium where the taxes for the very rich are much lower. He came under intense criticism for the move, and as the BBC reports Russian president Vladimir Putin agrees, having given the actor citizenship in his country, where capitalism is 20 years old and revered.
On December 20th, Putin said "I'm sure the French authorities did not want to offend Mr Depardieu. But if he'd like to have a Russian passport, consider it settled," and now it is. At the time of the tax Depardieu increase last year Depardieu criticized the move as stifling creativity and success, rather than seeing the move as what it is - the more fortunate helping out the less fortunate.
Russia's income tax rate is 13% for all, a rate that apparently approves of.