The New York Times reports:
The action-movie star Steven Seagal has played a former C.I.A. agent, a hit man and a killer of criminals. On Saturday, Russian officials tapped him for another role: special representative to improve relations between the United States and Russia.
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced the appointment on Facebook, saying his mission will include promoting “relations between Russia and the United States in the humanitarian field, including cooperation in culture, arts, public and youth exchanges.”
Seagal, who sometimes appears on Russian state TV to talk about his views and career, was cited by Kremlin-backed TV station RT as welcoming the appointment.
“I’ve always had a very strong desire to do all I can to help improve Russian-American relations,” RT cited Seagal 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.”
For more than a decade Seagal, who according to his own website is 66, has been a regular visitor to Russia. His movies, including such titles as “Under Siege” and “Sniper: Special Ops,” are popular with Russian audiences.
The New York Daily News reports:
Russian President Vladimir Putin had previously suggested Seagal for the role in 2013, an offer that was supposedly laughed out of the room. “Our reaction was, ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’” a U.S. official told Buzzfeed News in 2015. Seagal officially became a Russian citizen in 2016 and was present at Putin’s swearing-in ceremony in May.
The “Under Siege” actor has recently been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, including Portia de Rossi, Julianna Margulies and Jenny McCarthy. Another actress claimed in March that Seagal raped her in 1993 when she was 18. The Los Angeles County district attorney’s Office is currently looking into the allegations.
— Russia in USA 🇷🇺 (@RusEmbUSA) August 4, 2018
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 pic.twitter.com/LTuUxsk1aZ
— Steven Seagal (@sseagalofficial) August 5, 2018