Russia Tasks Hollywood Actor Seagal With Improving U.S. Ties

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The Russian foreign ministry made the announcement on its official Facebook page, saying the unpaid position was similar to that of a United Nations' goodwill ambassador and Seagal would promote US-Russia relations "in the humanitarian sphere". "As for worldwide practice, you can draw a parallel with the functions of United Nations Goodwill Ambassadors".

That is according to the actor's statement he posted on Twitter. Seagal received Russian citizenship in 2016.

Cultural ties between Russian Federation and the USA have been hampered by the current diplomatic impasse.

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The Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday it had appointed Hollywood action film star Steven Seagal its special representative for Russian-U.S.

In addition to outreach work, Seagal is mandated to strengthen "direct contacts, mutual understanding and trust" between Russian Federation and the United States, to work on projects in the field of culture, art, science, education, sports, social and youth exchanges. "I take this honor very seriously".

In 2013, BuzzFeed reported that Putin suggested to President Barack Obama that Seagal serve as an honorary envoy of Russian Federation to help improve relations between the two countries.

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The actor, who was granted Russian citizenship in 2016, has vocally defended the Russian leader's policies, including Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, and has criticized the US government. "Despite the unfortunate propaganda going on I remain fully committed to working tirelessly towards this end and I am tremendously grateful for this opportunity", Seagal also told TASS.

The "Under Seige" actor's position is public and he won't be paid for the role. Two years ago, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka welcomed Seagal at his private residence at Ozerny, north of Minsk, showering him with gifts that included a book and a dagger. "As a Buddhist, Zen teacher, and healer, Steven lives by the principles that the development of the physical self is essential to protect the spiritual man ..."

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