Published: Wed, August 08, 2018
Arts&Culture | By Kristi Paul

Actor Seagal gets Russian envoy job

Actor Seagal gets Russian envoy job

In 2016, state media reported that Serbia had offered him citizenship for offering to open a martial-arts academy in Belgrade.

While the 66-year-old star of '90s martial arts flicks like Under Siege and Hard to Kill might come across as an odd choice, Seagal has been courted by Russian President Vladimir Putin in the past few years.

It is the latest honour Russian Federation has bestowed upon Seagal.

Russia appointed actor Steven Seagal as a "special representative" on US-Russian humanitarian ties, the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in statement on its official Facebook page Saturday.

The ministry said on August 4 that Seagal's unpaid position would be meant to "facilitate relations between Russian Federation and the United States in the humanitarian field, including cooperation in culture, arts, public, and youth exchanges".

Relations between the two countries have been fraught as US intelligence agencies have accused Russian Federation of interfering in the 2016 elections and have warned it could do so again in the November contests.

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.

As for Russian and United States relations now, things are a bit contentious, to say the least.

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.

The Washington Post was unable to immediately reach Seagal for comment. In his first big role in the 1988 movie Above the Law, Seagal played a former Central Intelligence Agency agent, and in one of his latest films, Mercenary: Absolution, he played a contract killer. He attended Putin's recent swearing-in ceremony in May.

Russian Federation is like a second "home" to Seagal. Seagal says: "I'll never, ever falter".

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