A sex symbol of the 1960s, French movie icon Brigitte Bardot has threatened to take a page from Gerard Depardieu's book and apply for Russian citizenship if French authorities euthanize a pair of sick elephants at a zoo in Lyon.
“If those people able to do something are cowardly and impudent enough to kill the two elephants, Baby and Népal, despite numerous proposals to save them sent by my Foundadion known for its public utility, then I have decided to ask for Russian nationality in order to escape this country which has become nothing but a pet cemetary," the veteran animal rights campaigner said in a statement posted on the website of her animal rights foundation.
The announcement from the 78-year-old Bardot came only a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin granted Russian citizenship to one of France's best-known actors, Gerard Depardieu.
Depardieu has an army of fans in Russia, where one of his latest roles saw him playing one of the most mysterious and dark figures in Russian history – Grigory Rasputin.
The 64-year-old star said earlier that he was renouncing his French citizenship over the “insulting” accusations of tax evasion he faced after announcing plans to move to Belgium. French Prime Minster Jean Marc Ayrault's described the actor's decision to leave his native country as “pathetic.”
Last week, Depardieu confirmed he would stay in Belgium, where he recently bought a house, despite the fact that a French court struck down the proposed 75 percent income tax rate for the country's wealthiest.
Earlier this week, Depardieu had a telephone conversation with Francois Hollande, the president's office confirmed to AFP. The actor's friend, the French producer of the Rasputin drama Arnaud Frilley, told RTL that Depardieu spoke with the French President about how "the press had become terrible and needed to step back."
According to Frilley, Depardieu's decision to leave France is not motivated by financial reasons.
"It is not on the tax side, but it is really on the nauseated side: They spit on those who succeed, on success, on initiative. In the long run, you are fed up," Frilley said about Depardieu's dialogue with Hollande.