Putin grants Russian citizenship to US action star Steven Seagal
Nov 06 2016 by Francis Osborne
And in 2015, American heavyweight boxing champion Roy Jones Jr. accepted Russian citizenship in what, as The Christian Science Monitor correspondent Lisa Suhay wrote, could be less about United States race relations than Putin's "ongoing campaign to collect political trophies".
Steven Seagal became a Russian citizen on Thursday, per a decree from Vladimir Putin.
Per AP, the Kremlin announced this week that they have officially made a place for the 64-year-old actor and martial artist among the country's resident population, an honor similarly bestowed on no less a fellow thespian than Gerard Depardieu.
Putin and Seagal share a passion for martial arts: Seagal is an expert in akido, and Putin is an expert in judo. According to a Moscow Times article from 2014 he said in an interview that Putin was "one of the great living world leaders" and that he considers Putin a "brother".
Seagal's grandfather was a Russian Jew who moved to the US.
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The US actor visited Russian Federation two months ago and past year, it was reported that President Vladimir Putin had proposed the actor as intermediary between Russian Federation and the United States.
TASS cited Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who told reporters Thursday that the actor had been seeking Russian citizenship for some time.
Later on November 4, the president will unveil a monument to Prince Vladimir on Borovitskaya Square jointly with the patriarch and hand out state awards in the Kremlin to foreign nationals for special achievements in enhancing peace, friendship, cooperation and mutual understanding between people. Last year, professional boxer Roy Jones Jr. was given the Russian citizenship.
Seagal is popular in eastern Europe and was granted Serbian citizenship in January.