Overheard On Wall Street: Russia Lays Out Welcome Mat For French Actor

French actor Gerard Depardieu once starred in the romantic comedy "Green Card," about a man hoping to stay in the U.S. via a marriage of convenience.

In real life, Russia is laying out the welcome mat. The Kremlin has granted Mr. Depardieu Russian citizenship, following up on a pre-Christmas offer from President Vladimir Putin.

Mr. Depardieu will surely find Russia a bastion of artistic freedom, providing he overlooks last year's imprisonment of punk band Pussy Riot. But the chance to become Russian also comes as Mr. Depardieu is fighting the French government over proposals for a 75% top income-tax rate. Russia's rate is 13%.

It's unclear whether Mr. Depardieu intends to move to Russia -- it is more likely he will move to Belgium. But making Russia seem a better option than France might help his public-relations campaign.

For Mr. Putin, getting a famous movie star to move in might seem like a good way to soften his and Russia's image. Another marriage of convenience, then.