Historian Urges Bulgarian Govt Be Quick, Generous with Citizenship

Following announcements that Russian President Vladimir Putin has granted Russian citizenship to French actor Gerard Depardieu, Bozhidar Dimitrov, former Diaspora Minister and a famous nationalist historian, has urged Bulgaria’s Cabinet to move quickly with citizenship legislation.

“The amendments to the Bulgarian Citizenship Act and the Foreign Investment Act connected with granting Bulgarian citizenship to large-scale investors must be adopted quickly,” Dimitrov told the Focus News Agency regarding the recently announced law initiatives.

“We must be quick because too much pride and useless sacralization of the Bulgarian citizenship might leave at the end of line of countries that can accept the tide of businesspeople and cultural figures seeking to change their citizenship because of unreasonable tax laws,” Dimitrov argued.

Depardieu recently announced that he was fleeing to Belgium to dodge France’s new massive tax hike on the rich of 75 per cent on all earnings over one million euros.

The new 75% tax rate on incomes above EUR 1 M was overturned by France’s Constitutional Council on Saturday.

Last week, Bulgaria’s Demographic Policy Center jokingly invited Depardieu to become Bulgarian citizen with the promise of “cheap alcohol, concrete beach resorts and experienced prostitutes.”

According to Bozhidar Dimitrov, however, who is famous for his policy of granting Bulgarian citizenship to ethnic Bulgarians from the historic Bulgarian communities now located abroad – mostly in Macedonia, Serbia, Moldova, and Ukraine – the Center’s offer to Depardieu should not have been taken as a joke.

“In fact, we have serious reasons to expect a wave of rich foreigners seeking Bulgarian citizenship wishing to flee from the high tax rates in their countries,” said Dimitrov, who was part of the Borisov Cabinet in 2009-2010, and is now the Director of Bulgaria’s National History Museum.

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