Putin Appoints Hollywood Star Steven Seagal as Russia’s ‘Goodwill Ambassador’ to US

August 5, 2018 Updated: August 5, 2018

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday it had made U.S. actor Steven Seagal its special representative for Russian-U.S. humanitarian ties, a role it said was meant to deepen cultural, art and youth ties between the two countries.

President Vladimir Putin presented a Russian passport to U.S. actor Steven Seagal in 2016, saying he hoped it would serve as a symbol of how fractious ties between Moscow and Washington were starting to improve.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with U.S. action hero actor Steven Seagal after presenting a Russian passport to him during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on November 25, 2016. (ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with U.S. action hero actor Steven Seagal after presenting a Russian passport to him during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on November 25, 2016. (ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images)

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

“It’s a case of people’s diplomacy intersecting with traditional diplomacy,” the ministry said.

Seagal, who sometimes appears on Russian state TV to talk about his views and career, was cited by Kremlin-backed TV station RT as welcoming the appointment.

“I’ve always had a very strong desire to do all I can to help improve Russian-American relations,” RT cited Seagal as saying. “I have worked tirelessly in this direction for many years unofficially and I am now very grateful for the opportunity to do the same thing officially.”

Seagal attends the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 15, 2018. (KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)
Seagal attends the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 15, 2018. (KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

For more than a decade Seagal, who according to his own website is 66, has been a regular visitor to Russia. His movies, including such titles as “Under Siege” and “Sniper: Special Ops,” are popular with Russian audiences.

President Putin is also a fan of the kind of martial arts that Seagal often practiced in his Hollywood action movies.

RECOMMENDED