MOSCOW, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin met with French actor Gerard Depardieu in the Black Sea resort of Sochi and gave him a Russian passport, the Kremlin said Sunday.
On a private visit to Russia, "Depardieu was handed over Russian passport on the occasion of a brief meeting with Putin," the Itar-Tass news agency quoted presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.
Footage from Russia's Channel One television showed Putin and Depardieu, along with two other people, sat around a wooden dining table next to a window with white curtains.
Putin and Depardieu, a former Oscar nominee, also discussed a French-Russian film in which Depardieu played Russian monk Grigory Rasputin, Peskov said.
In an apparent tax fight with his government, Depardieu said earlier in an open letter to French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault that he would abandon his French citizenship after being called "pathetic."
French President Francois Hollande has planned to raise the tax rate on income above 1 million euros (1.33 million U.S. dollars) to 75 percent from the current high of 41 percent. Russia has a flat 13-percent tax rate.
Putin, believed to have "very good relations" with Depardieu, signed a decree on Thursday granting Russian citizenship to Depardieu. He said that if Depardieu "wants to have residence permit or the Russian passport, then the issue is as good as settled."
Depardieu arrived at Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics, on Saturday evening with a charter flight.