Uzbekistan Turns to Gérard Depardieu to Attract Tourists

12 Nov

Looking to attract a different kind of tourist, Uzbekistan has appointed French actor Gérard Depardieu as its tourism ambassador to France, although it’s not exactly clear what kind of tourist the country hopes to attract with this move.

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Googoosha and Gerard in happier times

The veteran actor has had a colourful past. In November 2012, he was arrested in France for driving while intoxicated after he fell from his scooter. He subsequently fled France and became a citizen of Russia at Vladimir Putin’s invitation. More recently he has been accused of sexual assault and rape by a 22-year-old actress and dancer in France.

The formerly pickled thespian – Depardieu says he has stopped drinking alcohol, is no stranger to Central Asia – his long association goes back to 2012 when he recorded a duet with Gulnara Karimova, Googoosha to her friends.

At the time Googoosha, eldest daughter of Uzbekistan’s first president Islam Karimov,  was at the height of her powers. This was shortly before her spectacular fall from grace when she was jailed on corruption charges. Karimova is currently languishing in prison in Uzbekistan and was last heard of in August 2019.


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