Russia appoints action film star Steven Seagal as US envoy

Hollywood actor who once described Vladimir Putin as 'one of the greatest world leaders’, was granted Russian citizenship in 2016

Siobhan O'Grady
Monday 06 August 2018 12:52 BST
President Putin shakes hands with Steven Seagal during a meeting at the Kremlin in November 2016
President Putin shakes hands with Steven Seagal during a meeting at the Kremlin in November 2016 (Sputnik/Kremlin/Alexei Druzhinin via REUTERS)

Russia has appointed martial artist and action film star Steven Seagal as a special envoy to improve ties with the United States.

In a Facebook post, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that the Under Siege as been appointed to a new role, which allegedly will be unpaid.

His responsibility will be to “facilitate relations between Russia and the United States in the humanitarian field, including cooperation in culture, arts, public and youth exchanges.”

In 2015, BuzzFeed News reported that two years earlier, Vladimir Putin had suggested to then President Barack Obama that he could make Mr Seagal the honorary Russian consul to California and Arizona.

​Then in November 2016, Mr Seagal visited the Russian president at the Kremlin and was granted Russian citizenship.

Seagal's grandmother was born in Vladivostok and the actor and Mr Putin share a passion for martial arts.

In a 2013 interview with news channel RT, Seagal said he believed Mr Putin was "one of the greatest world leaders, if not the greatest world leader, alive today.”

But Seagal has faced some criticism for some comments he has made about the controversial Russian leader.

After he praised Putin's annexation of Crimea, Kiev banned Seagal from entering Ukraine for five years, claiming he had “committed socially dangerous actions” that could threaten their security.

Seagal was also granted Serbian citizenship in 2016, after he offered to open a martial arts academy in Belgrade.

The action film star has also met with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and Belarusan President Alexander Lukashenko.

The Washington Post

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