French actor Gerard Depardieu. Photo: AFP
MOSCOW: French actor Gerard Depardieu plans to open a restaurant in the town of Saransk in an effort to integrate more quickly into his newly adopted Russia.
The film star left France in January in a dispute about steep taxes on high earners. He owns several restaurants in France.
"I tell everyone that Russia is an open country with great traditions and a rich culture," Mr Depardieu, who repeated promises to learn Russian, said on Saturday.
"To form an opinion, you've got to be here and not spread over-the-top prejudices."
He also reportedly plans to hunt wild boar in Mordovia, the province of which Saransk is the capital, part of his further efforts to get to know the country and its people.
Mr Depardieu received his residency permit in Saransk, about 650 kilometres southeast of Moscow, reported the Interfax news agency.
His official residence was listed as an apartment on Democracy Street 1, the home of Nikolai Borodchev, head of the state archives.
Mr was "very pleased" with his new apartment, RIA Novosti reported.
Mordovia is a region known during Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's reign for its network of labor camps, the state-run news service said.
The actor chose the location over Moscow because the Russian capital "has a lot of traffic and is a bit hectic," RIA quoted Mr Depardieu as saying. He said he plans to learn the Russian language to "interact with people," according to RIA.