Seagal was granted Russian citizenship in 2016 and has vehemently defended President Vladimir Putin's policies, including Moscow's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula, along with criticizing the US government. President Putin, while presenting Seagal a Russian passport in 2016, said that he hoped the gesture would serve as a symbol of how fractious ties between Moscow and Washington were starting to improve.
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced the appointment on its Facebook page on Saturday, the Associated Press reported.
Steven Seagal was granted Russian citizenship from Vladimir Putin back in 2016, and now the star of such action flicks as "Above the Law" and "Under Siege" is being pressed into service as a special envoy tasked with improving Russia-U.S. relations.
I am deeply humbled and honoured to have been appointed as a special representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry in charge of Russian and American Humanitarian ties.
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. "I take this honour very seriously".
Seagal's grandmother was born in Vladivostok, and the actor and Putin share a passion for martial arts.
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The position is unpaid, said Russian officials, who compared the role to that of a U.N. goodwill ambassador - a distinguished volunteer who calls attention to the work of the United Nations.
This idea isn't actually new-in 2013 Putin suggested to then-President Obama that Seagal be appointed to just such a role, which left Obama "flabbergasted".
The actor, who was granted Russian citizenship in 2016, has robustly defended the Russian leader's policies, including Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, and has criticised the USA government.
A Kremlin spokesperson cited Seagal's "warm feelings toward Russia" and his celebrity status as reasons for the gesture, according to Reuters. 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.
In 2014, Seagal posted a statement on his website to clarify that he had been misquoted by media outlets saying he called Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, the world's greatest leader.