French actor in Russian exile Gerard Depardieu has slammed the feminist punk band Pussy Riot and other opponents of Vladimir Putin, claiming that the controversial president is the personification of the country's complex and fascinating national character.

The Academy Award winner, who has been granted Russian citizenship after he said he wanted to leave France to avoid its 75 percent tax rates, told Rossiya state television that the Russian opposition had no programme.

"Unfortunately, the masses are stupid. Only the individual is beautiful," Depardieu said in remarks translated into Russian from French.

Putin and Depardieu consider themselves close friends, and the French actor strongly criticised those who oppose the Russian leader's 13-year rule.

The 64-year-old actor, who in December wrote an open letter saying he would turn over his French passport and social security card after President Francois Hollande said he wanted to raise taxes on the super-rich, admitted that the opposition had "very smart people" such as former chess champion Garry Kasparov.

"But that is good for chess and not much else," he said.

He turned his fire on the anti-Putin "punk prayer" performed by Pussy Riot in Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral.

Two band members are serving a two-year term in Urals' prison camps.

"Imagine if these ladies walked into a mosque - they would not come out alive," the actor said. "But when I say such things in France, I am considered an idiot."