French actor, Gerard Depardieu just accepted a Russian passport, sealing the deal by embracing President Vladimir Putin. With it comes a tidy 13% tax rate - if and its still an if - he's willing to live in Russia for around half the year. Here are some of the more taxing changes to life he will likely endure if he takes up the offer.
Dill, anything but dill
Say goodbye to the traditional tastes of France and instead get used to one additional ingredient added to most food in Russia, dill. Before venturing to Moscow I'd rarely encountered the herb, now the thought of it is met with the same apprehension I'd feel about relocating to a desert island with just Peter Andre, a karaoke machine and 'mysterious girl' on eternal loop.
If you've never tried a dill pizza, its probably for the best, but I have- accidentally- and I'm not the only one. In fact, its a nation which every year consumes on average 1.6 kilograms of the stuff per capita. It's reached a point where a group of expats have set up a good humoured Facebook group called 'Dillwatch', to highlight "inappropriate sightings of dill'. A restaurant serving three types of dill encrusted sushi and a steak tar-tar hidden under a foliage of the herb, are just a few attracting attention.
Down the drain
Whilst on the face of it Depardieu's move may be aimed at saving money, one look at the average Moscow wine menu and he might need to invest in a piggy bank sometime soon. When the cheapest bottle of red in a standard 'European' restaurant, often sets you back around £40, perhaps 75% taxes aren't too bad. Particularly when you take into account that far more sums are needed to avoid the type hangover that could have floored King Kong.
If Gerard loves his wine half as much as his fellow countrymen then it may be time to start a freight shipment business.
Write a will, take out life insurance
If you ignore the dangerous roads awash with uninsured drivers, careering around in museum exhibits, then there's still plenty of things to potentially shorten your life expectancy in Russia. Flying isn't all that safe either, with a number of deadly accidents in recent years, the vast majority on internal flights. But all that aside, the exposure to grim weather, hard liquor (they may go hand in hand), smoking... and the rest- life expectancy is unlikely to be as good as in France. Indeed, in spite of an upward climb in recent years the World Bank's last survey in 2010, put Russian life expectancy at just under 69 years, that's shaving 12 years off the French.
Saving the worst till last
Winter. It's the kind where the hairs in your nostrils freeze and a ten minute dash to the supermarket makes you consider a vodka addiction. Even in some of Russia's more Westerly outreaches you can expect a good six months of cold, snow and darkness. Where Depardieu has been invited to- Mordovia in central Russia- he could likely expect worse, if even for just half the year.
So don't worry, if you're one of the many incensed by the potential tax-dodging move - Depardieu's name is now sacrebleu - proving nothing comes without a price.
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