Even though she hasn’t acted since the 1970s, Brigitte Bardot seems to be taking cues from fellow thespian Gerard Depardieu.
After the Oscar-nominated French actor was granted citizenship by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday following an ongoing battle with the French government, Bardot announced that she will seek residency in the former Soviet state.
Bardot, an ardent animal rights activist, is upset with the decision of a French court to euthanize two ill elephants and issued a statement on her website late Friday announcing her intention. “If those in power have the impudence and cowardice and kill the two elephants … I have decided to ask for Russian citizenship to flee the country, which has become nothing more than an animal cemetery,” she said.
The elephants, named Baby and Nepal, have been diagnosed with tuberculosis and were ordered to be put down by a court in Lyon on Friday. The animals have been in quarantine since 2010 and the legal battle about their fate has been ongoing. Bardot has been vocal in her support for medical treatment for the animals as an alternative to euthanasia.
Bardot has clashed with Depardieu in the past over animal rights issues, as he supports bullfighting, but she put aside their differences when he came under intense media scrutiny for a plan to move to Belgium to escape high French taxes. Depardieu abandoned his Parisian mansion and purchased a home in a small village just on the other side of the French border, a move which quickly escalated into a very personal battle with the French government, press and others in the film industry.
After a scathing criticism by actor Philippe Torreton was published in newspaper Liberation, Bardot issued a statement of support for Depardieu that categorized the attack as “extremely unfair” and warned Torreton to save his insults for “those that deserve it.”
In mid-December, Depardieu threatened to give up his citizenship and joked that his good friend Putin had already “sent him a passport” once he announced his desire to seek residency outside of France. The Kremlin initially denied any such move, but Putin signed a decree on Thursday granting France’s most popular actor Russian citizenship, which he quickly accepted.
Though Bardot does not have such strong ties with Putin, she did issue him a public thank you when the Russian government banned the trade of seal fur in December 2011. She described the decision as “her best Christmas present” at the time.
There’s no word if Putin will also fast-track a passport for Bardot.