Ukraine-born ballet star Sergei Polunin gets Russian passport

Ukrainian-born ballet star Sergei Polunin, a heavily tattooed rebel who sensationally quit Britain's Royal Ballet and has sought to popularise dance, announced Friday that he has gained Russian citizenship. Polunin, 29, who was born in the Ukrainian city of Kherson, has already declared his love for President Vladimir Putin and has taken this to extremes by getting a huge tattoo of the Russian leader on his chest. "Russia always represents good for me! I am happy to Become Russian," Polunin wrote on Instagram with a photo of his Russian passport, issued in Moscow on October 29. He praised Putin "for not Selling his country and standing by his people no matter what" and condemned revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia as carried out by "Evil and Unscrupulous people." This week he revealed the Putin tattoo on the top of his chest, adding to numerous other inked designs, including Ukraine's national emblem of a trident on his right hand. Polunin joins a list of celebrities who have gained Russian nationality, among them French actor Gerard Depardieu and former US action star Steven Seagal. Polunin was regarded as one of the most talented dancers of his generation and is known for his impeccable classical technique, as well as astounding jumps and a natural gift for acting. - Moved to Britain as a teen - He moved to Britain at 13 to study at the Royal Ballet school and swiftly becoming its youngest ever principal dancer at 19 and one of its most popular stars. Then the dancer then suddenly quit in 2012, just days before he was due to star in a new production, after expressing a desire for a life outside ballet. Reappearing in Russia a year later, he became one of the soloists at Moscow's Stanislavsky ballet company, till then overshadowed by the iconic ballet of the Bolshoi Theatre. His performances in roles such as the tragic Prince Rudolf in Kenneth MacMillan's ballet Mayerling were critically acclaimed and hugely popular. In 2015 he made a video to the song "Take Me to Church" by Irish musician Hozier that has been viewed 25 million times on YouTube. A 2016 documentary about him, "Dancer" showed him returning to his hometown and talking about the childhood isolation he felt as his parents were busy working to support him. He is set to appear in a film about Rudolph Nureyev directed by Ralph Fiennes, "The White Crow". He has also acted in "Red Sparrow" and "Murder on the Orient Express".