The Russian Foreign Ministry has appointed actor Steven Seagal as a special representative to improve U.S.-Russian relations. In a Facebook post shared Saturday, the ministry said Seagal will work on relations “in the humanitarian sphere, including interaction in the sphere of culture, art, public and youth exchanges and so on.” The unpaid position was likened to that of a UN Goodwill Ambassador.
Seagal, who became a Russian citizen in 2016, has long been a supporter of both Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. He’s reportedly a personal friend to Putin, occasionally appearing on Russian state TV to speak on his views, Reuters reports. He was recently featured publicly accepting his new appointment.
“I’ve always had a very strong desire to do all I can to help improve Russian-American relations,” Seagal was cited 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 also announced his new position on Twitter, where he said he is “deeply humbled and honoured” to have this new role. “I hope we can strive for peace, harmony and positive results in the world,” he added.
According to CNN, Seagal attended Putin’s swearing-in ceremony (marking the start of another six year term as president) in May, and Putin presented Seagal with his Russian passport directly in 2016. He’s used these connections to help secure diplomatic meetings abroad, and has maintained a stance against the possibility of Russian meddling in U.S. elections.
“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,” said Seagal on Good Morning Britain last year, calling statements that say otherwise “propaganda.”
Seagal is known for his roles doing martial arts in action films such as Above the Law and Under Siege. He’s also worked as a producer, director, screenwriter, and musician.