Gerard Depardieu Attends Opening of Cultural Center Named After Him in Russia's Saransk

Courtesy of Les films du Worso/LGM Films
Gerard Depardieu

It is Russia's first-ever cultural center named after a living Western star.

French actor and Russian citizen Gerard Depardieu has inaugurated a cultural center bearing his name in Russia's Saransk, where he is registered as a resident and has an apartment.

Occupying the former film theater Rossiya, the cultural center in Saransk, the regional capital of Mordovia, becomes the first-ever cultural center in Russia named after a living Western star. Its full name: Gerard Depardieu Cultural Center.

"I am very flattered by the fact that a cultural center will bear my name," Depardieu was quoted as saying by local newspaper Izvestia Mordoviyi." It’s a shame that I am unable to visit Saransk more often."

He added: "In Mordovia, I feel like a true Russian. And he said that he was going to vote in the Russian parliamentary elections, scheduled for Sept. 18, in the city.

Depardieu's visit to Saransk came a few months after press reports suggested that the actor had cut ties with Russia and sold his Saransk apartment, which proved to be untrue.

Russian television network NTV reported that Depardieu still owns the apartment in a luxurious residential building in central Saransk. However, he has never set foot there, and other people are currently living in the apartment, NTV reported, quoting the neighbors.

Depardieu plans to open an acting school for children in the new cultural center, the local government's press service reported.

Previously, Depardieu spoke about opening a restaurant in Moscow and manufacturing organic vodka, but nothing has come out of those plans so far.

Depardieu was granted Russian citizenship by a decree from president Vladimir Putin in early 2013.