Wednesday, 22 August, 2018

Steven Segal appointed Putin's humanitarian envoy

Alexei Druzhinin  TASS Alexei Druzhinin TASS
Angelica Greene | 08 August, 2018, 17:53

Back in 2016, Steven Seagal was awarded Russian citizenship, likely because he was making so many trips to visit his friend Vladimir Putin.

The announcement comes with Russia-U.S. ties at a low ebb, over long-standing conflicts in Syria and Ukraine and allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, which Moscow rejects.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that Seagal has been appointed to a new role, which will apparently be unpaid.

So, in the hope of stabilizing that fraught dynamic, Russian Federation has appointed a special representative dedicated to improving Russia-U.S. relations, working in the "humanitarian sphere" and "in the sphere of culture, public and youth exchanges".

Actor Steven Seagal speaks at a news conference, while attending an opening ceremony for a research and development center in Moscow, Russia, Sept. 22, 2015.

According to the statement, the action star's role will be to promote US-Russia relations "in the humanitarian sphere", adding that the role will include collaboration "in the sphere of culture, public and youth exchanges".

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Seagal's grandmother was born in Vladivostok, Russia, and the two men share a passion for martial arts.

Seagal, who holds a dual citizenship of the USA and Russian Federation, is known for his support of Vladimir Putin, to whom he once referred as "one of the greatest living world leaders".

He has previously hung out with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a fellow martial arts fan.

The Russian foreign ministry likened Seagal's new role to that of United Nations goodwill ambassadors, prominent individuals who volunteer to highlight important areas of the U.N.'s work.

For more than a decade Seagal, who according to his own website is 66, has been a regular visitor to Russian Federation. While that may seem, let's say, confusing, it's not a complete shock if you've kept track of Seagal and his russophilia in the last few years.

Like Putin, Seagal is an expert in Judo, as well as Akido and Karate.

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