Galt’s Gulch: Somewhere Near Moscow?


I confess that I have been following the saga of the great French actor Gerard Depardieu with considerable fascination. I won’t rehash the entire tale, as I have written about it at some length elsewhere, but it has reached a surprising culmination.

In brief, the outstanding (if controversial) actor, who has appeared in about 170 films, and was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his performance as Cyrano de Bergerac in the eponymous 1990 film, decided to leave his native country after the Socialist Party won the recent French elections. Specifically, the Socialist government carried through with its threat to hike the taxes on the rich from the current 41% to a staggering 75%. The Socialists also jacked up taxes on total wealth, on middle-class incomes, and on capital gains, and imposed an “exit tax” on any entrepreneurs — a group already not well represented in France — who are enterprising enough to flee the confiscatory taxes.

The Socialists obviously regret that they can’t build a wall and shoot citizens who dare to depart the New Socialist Paradise. When Depardieu announced he was leaving, he touched off a firestorm, with key Socialist government officials excoriating him, while other actors came to his defense. He sold his Paris mansion, returned his passport to the French government, and moved his possessions to a town in Belgium. But the question then was — what nationality would he adopt?

The most recent report is that he has decided to become — a Russian! Yes, just recently President Putin signed a citizenship grant giving the hefty star a new home.

Why would a French actor be drawn to Mother Russia?

Certainly, he has a huge following among Russian film-lovers. In 2011 he went to Russia as part of the filming of Rasputin (ever notice that the last part of the name Rasputin is Putin?), in which he played the lead. And he is a familiar face on Russian TV, famous for his commercials for Sovietsky Bank and various consumer products.

But I suspect that the fact that Russia has a flat income tax of a mere 13% may be part of the reason.

All this has led to some delightful tension between the French and Russian governments. The — what? defection? — of a French star to Russia has embarrassed France and allowed Putin to advertise the fact that Russia is a low-tax state. But the fact that Depardieu has been chummy with Putin has angered some Russians critical of Putin, and led the French Green Party to suggest that France grant honorary citizenship for the girls in the band Pussy Riot, who were thrown in the clink after criticizing Putin in a performance.

Now, as the neosocialist Obama jacks up taxes on the rich (on top of neosocialist Governor Jerry Brown’s increase in California), it may be that our own successful citizens may also start considering moving to Russia. My only warning is that they should be prepared to work hard to master the language. It is a notoriously complex tongue . . .

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i kept waiting for the "end sarcasm" tag - it never came - but i'm still convinced the author had his tongue in his cheek while writing this

that a rich & corpulent far lefty has fled the reality of his own political passions - doesn't make him an idol or role model for american rightys - just an pitiful albeit amusing example

that putin & russia has a flat rate tax that libertarians envy - doesn't make it anything like "galt's gulch"

pleeze - Gary Jason - say "/sarc"

Gary Jason

Okay, for the record: nothing in what I write was meant to endorse Putin's regime, for which I have great disdain (and have written that in these pages quite often). That Mussolini made the trains run on time hardly proves fascism is a desirable form of government, nor does Putin's flat tax prove that his soft despotism is good. Nor am I suggesting that Depardieu be canonized!

Hopefully that helps.

Positive Dennis

It is very difficult to become a Russian citizen. Putin waived a lot of rules to give the citizenship to Depardieu. The rumor is that dual citizenship will be made illegal in 2015. The commitment may be larger than most will be comfortable with.

I qualify for Russian citizenship and may go there in 2014 to apply. Why? A combination of ROI and the possibility of oil shortages.

I wonder where I would spend the winter?

Gary Jason

By all means, pick the Crimean resorts....very soon, Russia will take over Ukraine, so property will be readily available there.

Thanks for reading my piece...

Jon Harrison

Mr. Jason writes for the "American Thinker"? Ah, now that tells me something about where he's coming from.

The latest version of the Socialist experiment in France is of course doomed to failure. In my view (expressed in print immediately after the French presidential election), it will lead eventually to a major shift rightward, all the way to the National Front.

Gary Jason

I'm not sure the guilt-by-asssociation dig works in my case. I've published many hundreds of pieces in a variety of venues, including the staunchly leftist Los Angeles Times...that hardly makes me leftist, now does it...

Jon Harrison

There's no guilt involved. That you'd publish with them just tells me something more about you and, I would suspect, your views. Anybody would be foolish not to publish in the LA Times, given the size of the audience. TAT, on the other hand, is pretty obscure. I'm sure you're not a whore of the pen, willing to publish anywhere just to get published. Anyway, neither criticism nor praise was intended.

Gary Jason

Anybody can get an accurate picture of my views simply by reading my pieces, as opposed to speculating about the particular venue within which they appear.

Jon Harrison

Of the views you write about here, yes. But there are subjects I would assume you are interested in but don't write about in this space. I really can't take the time to absorb the entire Jason corpus. Anyway, speculating's fun.


It seems to me that if you don't wish to take the time to actually read much of an author's writings, you shouldn't speculate at all about their contents, however "fun"--meaning snarky--that may be. That just seems to be basic intellectual honesty.

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