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Having recently acquired a Russian passport and an apartment in Grozny, French actor Gerard Depardieu is now the star of a new commercial promoting Azeri cuisine.
In the spot for Azerbaijan’s tourism authorities now running on Euronews, the French actor sings the praises of Azeri cuisine.
The plotline revolves around Depardieu sampling a wide array of Azeri dishes presented to him as a scriptwriter reads him passages from a film script about Azerbaijan’s natural beauty. Enchanted by the food, Depardieu fails to notice that he is being presented with a script.
“The country who has that kind of food is obviously a smart country,” notes Depardieu, as he takes a break from tasting what he calls “a dream come true.”
Azerbaijani media first announced back in July 2011 that Depardieu would film the commercial.
It is not Depardieu’s first video promoting a country in the Caucasus. In 2011, he starred in a commercial for Armenia’s Armavia airlines.
And the actor was the butt of jests after a fire engulfed Grozny’s tallest skyscraper earlier this month. After Depardieu was gifted an apartment by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov in the same complex of high-rise buildings, some social media users joked that the French bon vivant may have caused the fire by falling asleep with a lit cigarette.
Depardieu made headlines recently when he was awarded Russian citizenship by Russian President Vladimir Putin after complaining of high tax rates in France. Hundreds of ethnic Russians from former Soviet republics expressed outrage at the fact that Depardieu was apparently granted a Russian passport within days while regular procedures take years to be completed.
Depardieu has also spent time in the company of Gulnara Karimova, daughter of autocratic Uzbek President Islam Karimov. The two recorded a music video released in January:
Copyright (c) 2013. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.