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Gerard Depardieu Snubs Georgia with Breakaway Abkhazia Visit.

Gerard Depardieu is at the centre of yet another political controversy after visiting Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia to meet the separatists' leaders - despite it being a crime in (http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/486215/20130703/georgia-tbilisi-saakashvili-ivanahisvili-merabishvili-elections.htm) Georgia .

"Depardieu is a famous actor, who has recently received Russian citizenship. We think that he is not aware of what is happening in Abkhazia," said Georgia's deputy minister for reintegration issues, Ketevan Tsikhelashvili. "At the same time, he has violated the Law on Occupied Territories, which is punishable."

Depardieu, who hailed Russia's "great democracy" (http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/421388/20130107/gerard-depardieu-vladimir-putin-russian-passport-french.htm) when he was granted nationality by President Vladimir Putin , arrived in Abkhazia's capital of Sokhumi.

Abkhazia, on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, is only a few kilometres from the (http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/486169/20130703/sochi-olympics-doku-umarov-chechen-rebel-terrorist.htm) Russian city of Sochi that is to host the 2014 Winter Olympics next year and was the site of a civil war that left thousands dead and many more displaced in the early 1990s.

Independence was declared after the war although that status has never been recognised by the international community.

Only Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Nauru and Tuvalu have officially recognised Abkhazia's sovereignty. Russia maintains 3,500 troops deployed in the region.

Depardieu moved to Russia on January, after he gave up his French nationality in a row over President Francois Hollande's plan for super-tax hikes for the wealthy.

He has since made more headlines for his behaviour than for his movies.

In February he came under fire after cosying up to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

The actor has been shooting Turquoise - also starring British actress Liz Hurley - in Grozny with the blessing of Kadyrov, who has been accused by human rights groups of overseeing kidnap, torture and murder of opponents.

The Academy Award winner also raised eyebrows for (http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/423800/20130114/pussy-riot-depardieu-putin-russia-france.htm) slamming Putin opponents such as feminist punk band Pussy Riot and chess champion Garry Kasparov.
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Geographic Code:4EXRU
Date:Jul 5, 2013
Words:339
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