Russian Federation has handed Hollywood movie star Steven Seagal the task of keeping relations cordial with the United States.
Steven Seagal has been named Moscow's envoy to the United States for "humanitarian ties", the Russian Foreign Ministry announced Saturday.
A statement on the ministry's Facebook page on Saturday said the position was "socio-political" and the actor would not be paid. The ministry likened the role to that of a United Nations goodwill ambassador.
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The 66-year-old has called President Putin "one of the great living world leaders", and when Seagal was granted Russian citizenship, said he hoped it would be a symbol of how relations between Moscow and Washington were starting to improve.
"I've always tried to do everything possible to help Russian-American relations to improve", the action movie star told TASS news agency. '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'. 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 unsafe actions" that could threaten its security.
According to Seagal's own website, the 66-year-old has been a regular visitor to Russian Federation for over a decade. His movies, including such titles as "Under Siege" and "Sniper: Special Ops", are popular with Russian audiences.