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ODESSA, UKRAINE – French actor Gerard Depardieu, who made headlines when he acquired a Russian passport early last year, says he will launch production of a brand of “bio vodka,” an eco-friendly version of the beverage, in Russia.
Depardieu announced his plans during a visit to the city of Saratov, in the Volga region, explaining that his vodka would be made of “ecologically pure” raw materials and water from mountain springs. A name for the vodka wasn’t immediately unveiled.
“This will be my first experience in producing heavy liquor, and I hope it will be successful,” Russian news agency ITAR-TASS quoted Depardieu as saying.
He added, though, that he wanted more people to give preference to wine.
According to the report, the actor also plans to produce kitchen utensils in Russia and open a chain of restaurants under the brand “Gerard.” In Saratov, he presented a set of kitchen furniture, saying he helped design it.
Depardieu, considered a Kremlin loyalist, obtained a Russian passport and permanent registration in the Central Russian city of Saransk in early 2013. Next year, a cultural center in his name is scheduled to be inaugurated in the city. It will be located in a renovated film theater.
According to Depardieu, the center will host screenings of high-quality Russian and international films but won’t screen U.S. movies.
In March, just days after Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula region from Ukraine, Depardieu launched a brand of luxury watches under the slogan “Proud to be Russian” and posed for a publicity photo sporting a jacket with the Russian state symbol, the double-headed eagle.
There were media reports that the actor owns vineyards in Crimea, but there has not been official confirmation of that.
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