Steven Seagal appointed by Russian foreign ministry as envoy for humanitarian ties with US
06 August, 2018, 00:33
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.
He has defended Putin's policies, including the 2014 annexation of Crimea, and has criticized the USA government.
The announcement gives a nod to 2016, when Russian President Vladimir Putin presented a Russian passport to the American actor, saying that he hoped it could be symbolic of how Moscow's historically contentious relationship with Washington was beginning to improve.
"It is the case when people's diplomacy meets halfway traditional diplomacy", the ministry said in the statement.
The foreign ministry said the unpaid role will be similar to the United Nations' goodwill ambassador positions.
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Seagal's new role was noted by Kremlin-backed TV station RT, who noted Seagal as welcoming the appointment. He has praised Putin's annexation of Crimea, for example, and last year, Kiev banned him from entering Ukraine for five years, claiming he "committed socially risky actions" that could threaten its security.
American Seagal, whose grandparents were Russian Jews, was granted Russian citizenship in 2016. '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, who has Russian roots, has been a long time supporter of the country, visiting it regularly as he opened a chain of the Planet Hollywood franchise in Moscow in the 90s.
For more than a decade Seagal, who according to his own website is 66, has been a regular visitor to Russian Federation.
The 66-year-old actor was born in Lansing, the capital city of USA state of MI.
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