This cartoon by Iain Green from The Independent relates to news that French actor and would-be tax exile Gérard Depardieu has been granted Russian citizenship by President Vladimir Putin (see previous post). Last month, Depardieu threatened to hand back his French passport after the prime minister criticised him for moving to Belgium to avoid the Socialist government's new 75% top rate of income tax.
The cartoon features a play on the word 'icon'. If you describe somebody as an icon, you mean that they are important as a symbol of a particular thing. • Depardieu is a cultural icon in France. But an icon (from Greek εἰκών eikōn "image") is also a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, from Eastern Christianity and in certain Eastern Catholic churches. Russian icons are famous for their distinctive style of painting and their influence on Russia's cultural development. Most Russian icons are painted on specially prepared wooden panels, or on cloth glued onto wooden panels. Gold leaf is frequently used for halos (both Depardieu and Putin are surrounded by halos in the cartoon).