- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 11, 2015

He didn’t say “nyet.”

Academy Award-winning U.S. actor Robert De Niro isn’t ruling out applying for Russian citizenship, following in the footsteps of such celebrities as French actor Gerard Depardieu and former U.S. heavyweight boxing champ Roy Jones Jr.

“Maybe,” the actor reportedly told Russian reporters when asked about applying for Russian citizenship on a visit to Krasnogorsk, a city in the Moscow region. Mr. De Niro was there this week to celebrate the opening of a new location for Nobu, a pricey sushi restaurant chain in which he has a co-ownership stake.

“As you can imagine, this is a complicated situation, so we’ll see,” the 72-year-old actor known for his roles in movies such as “Raging Bull” and “The Godfather” told the Russian Tass news service. It was not clear from the account whether Mr. De Niro was serious in his response.

Mr. Jones, whose citizenship switch was affirmed in a proclamation by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself in September, said he decided to make the switch partly because it would make it easier to do business in Russia and partly because he felt a lot more appreciated “than I was valued and appreciated in my own country.”

The Moscow Times, which reported on Mr. De Niro’s comments Wednesday, noted that the actor has a long history of ties to Russia.

He led the jury at the Moscow International Film Festival back in 1987, when the country was still the Soviet Union. He opened his first Russian Nobu location in the heart of Moscow six years ago.

• David R. Sands can be reached at dsands@washingtontimes.com.

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