Hollywood is certainly no stranger to the political scene, with actors such as Arnold Schwarzenegger taking up governmental posts, and every star with a Twitter account offering his, mainly uninformed, two cents on national and international goings-on.
The latest wading into the political waters comes from Steven Seagal, who was just appointed as Russia’s special representative on US-Russian humanitarian ties, according to a statement on the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Facebook page on Saturday.
“I’ve always tried to do everything possible to help Russian-American relations to improve,” Seagal told the TASS news agency. “I was working towards it without having an official status and now it is a great honor for me to do the same officially.”
The Ministry’s statement reads:
Steven Seagal has been appointed as the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affair’s special representative for Russian-American humanitarian connections. The goal is to promote the further development of Russian-American relations in the humanitarian sphere, including cooperation in the field of culture, art, and social and youth exchanges, and so on.
This is a public-political position, not involving any monetary compensation. This is a case where public diplomacy meets traditional diplomacy halfway. In international practice, a parallel can be drawn with the functions of UN Goodwill Ambassadors.
Seagal’s grandmother was born in Vladivostok, and he is a friend of President Vladimir Putin, with whom he shares a passion for martial arts, and who granted him citizenship in 2016.
The action star has spoken highly of Putin as a world leader and defended against accusations of Russian election meddling. He told Piers Morgan last year, “For anyone to think that Vladimir Putin had anything to do with fixing the elections, or even that the Russians have that kind of technology, is stupid,” reports CNN.
He also praised Crimea’s move to Russia, which landed him on Ukraine’s blacklist for five years as a threat to national security.
Seagal was also granted Serbian citizenship in 2016, and has also met with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and Belarusan President Alexander Lukashenko.