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    SINGER ALEXEI KHVOSTENKO RECEIVES RUSSIAN PASSPORT IN PARIS

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    PARIS, January 22, RIA Novosti correspondent - Alexei Khvostenko, a well-known Russian singer, poet and artist, received a Russian passport in Paris Wednesday.

    While handing Khvostenko his passport together with the nominal decree signed by President Vladimir Putin, First Deputy Foreign Minister Eleonora Mitrofanova gave her warmest greetings to the artist and highly praised his versatile talents.

    "This Russian passport means so much to me," said Khvostenko who has lived in Paris since 1977, and is vice president of the Russian Artists' Association in France.

    He explained that some six months ago, he sent a request to President Putin, asking for the Russian citizenship; his request was heeded.

    Khvostenko is now planning to live alternately in both countries: "I have lived in France for almost 30 years, and I have a lot to do here, and many contancts, too, but my audience is back in Russia, so I will be living there for the most part now." Khvostenko, 63, is often referred to as "grandfather of Russian rock." His songs are on the repertoires of such well-known groups as Auktsyon, Kolibri and Akvarium. In addition to lyrics and music, Khvostenko writes prose, and he is a very gifted artist on top of that. His Paris studio has long been a kind of club, where many famous groups and singers performed.

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