Published: Thu, August 09, 2018
Entertaiment | By Mabel Barber

Russian Federation tasks Hollywood actor Seagal with improving United States ties

Russian Federation tasks Hollywood actor Seagal with improving United States ties

The unpaid position for the B-movie star, who has been a Russian citizen since 2016, is similar to that of a UN Goodwill Ambassador.

Hollywood actor Steven Seagal said that takes very seriously its role of the special representative of the Russian humanitarian relations with the United States.

The Russian Foreign Ministry likened Seagal's new role to that of a United Nations goodwill ambassador and said that the actor, who is known for his martial arts prowess, would receive no salary.

In 2013, BuzzFeed reported that Putin suggested to President Barack Obama that Seagal serve as an honorary envoy of Russian Federation to help improve relations between the two countries. 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", Seagal was cited as saying.

CNN has reached out Seagal's spokesperson for comment.

Seagal is known for his roles doing martial arts in action films such as Above the Law and Under Siege.

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In his first big role in the 1988 movie Above the Law, he played a former Central Intelligence Agency agent, and in one of his latest films, Mercenary: Absolution, he played a contract killer.

While the 66-year-old star of '90s karate flicks such as Above The Law and Out For Justice might come across as a unusual choice, Seagal has been wooed by Russian President Vladimir Putin the past few years.

Seagal's grandparents were Russian Jewish immigrants, according to a biography on IMDB.

Seagal obtained Russian citizenship back in 2016, where he's been forthright in his defense of Putin, calling him even a "great, great, great world leader, maybe, the greatest". Seagal's familiy is originally from Russia, but other celebrities have been granted Russian citizenship for various reasons.

Later that month, Mr Putin, who has been described as a fan of the martial arts that Seagal practices in his movies, personally presented the actor with a Russian passport.

In a video of the event, Mr Putin and Seagal shake hands.

Speaking to press after the announcement, Seagal said he was "sincerely grateful" to the Russian ministry for the honour.

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