Russia appointed actor Steven Seagal as a special representative to improve ties with the United States. The American actor was granted Russian citizenship in 2016 and is said to enjoy a friendly relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Seagal once referred to Putin as “one of the great living world leaders.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced the actor’s appointment on Facebook, saying his mission will include promoting relations between both the countries “in the humanitarian field, including cooperation in culture, arts, public and youth exchanges and more.” According to the statement, the position is unpaid and is similar to the role played by the United Nations’ goodwill ambassadors. “It’s a case of people’s diplomacy intersecting with traditional diplomacy,” the ministry said.
— Russia in USA 🇷🇺 (@RusEmbUSA) August 4, 2018
Reacting to the appointment, Seagal said he was “deeply humbled and honoured.” “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. I hope we can strive for peace, harmony and positive results in the world. I take this honour very seriously,” he wrote on Twitter.
Steven Seagal, a martial artist, is popular in Europe and Russian circles for his action movies. 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.