Published: Thu, August 09, 2018
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

Putin makes Hollywood star special US-Russia envoy

Putin makes Hollywood star special US-Russia envoy

The foreign ministry said the unpaid role will be similar to the United Nations' goodwill ambassador positions. The actor is now, as the Russian Foreign Ministry put it, meant to "contribute to the further development of Russian-American relations in the humanitarian sphere, including interactions in the fields of culture, art, public and youth exchanges, among other things".

Somewhat of a Slavic citizenship collector, the star of action movies Under Siege, Hard to Kill, and Out for Justice was also granted Serbian citizenship in 2016, after offering to open an Aikido school in the capital city.

"Steven Seagal was appointed as the Russian Foreign Ministry's special representative for Russian-U.S. humanitarian ties", the Russian Embassy in the U.S.

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Seagal, who has warm ties with President Vladimir Putin and was granted Russian citizenship in 2016, said he was "deeply humbled and honoured" by the appointment. He's reportedly a personal friend to Putin, occasionally appearing on Russian state TV to speak on his views, Reuters reports.

"I've always had a very strong desire to do all I can to help improve Russian-American relations".

His films, which often highlight his martial arts skills, are popular in Europe. "Despite the unfortunate propaganda going on I remain fully committed to working tirelessly towards this end and I am tremendously grateful for this opportunity", Seagal also told TASS.

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The "Above the Law" actor has previously praised President Putin as a "great world leader" and "brilliant tactician" and defended him against allegations of meddling in elections in the US.

US-born Seagal, whose paternal-grandparents were Russian Jews who emigrated to the United States, gained Russian citizenship in 2016 after a history of engagement with the country dating back to his opening of a Planet Hollywood restaurant in Moscow in the 1990s.

"Every country is involved in espionage", Seagal said, USA Today writes.

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