“The task is to facilitate relations between Russia and the United States in the humanitarian field, including cooperation in culture, arts, public and youth exchanges, and so on,” the Russian Embassy posted on Facebook. Seagal, the Dennis Rodman of Russia, was granted citizenship in 2016 by Putin, with whom he has a long friendship.
At first glance, the appointment seems random, if not slightly comical.
According to BuzzFeed, the idea of Seagal acting as the poster child for improved U.S.-Russian relations has been floated before: Russia proposed the concept to President Barack Obama, who allegedly wasn’t interested. But the idea of celebrities influencing international diplomacy seems less far-fetched when the president is a former reality-TV star.
Seagal’s fame may make him more appealing to Trump. Plus, the movie star has publicly sung the president’s praises before.
During the election, Seagal said on Twitter that he would not vote for Hillary Clinton. And on Trump’s Inauguration Day, Seagal tweeted, “Congratulations to President Donald Trump! Wonderful speech! So grateful & proud to finally have a president 4 the People!”
In a 2017 interview with “Good Morning America,” Seagal criticized those who refused to accept the results of the presidential election and spoke in favor of Trump’s condemnation of NFL protests and denunciation of claims of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Seagal embodies a certain machismo — he is a mixed martial arts instructor, after all — that he shares with his pal Putin, who is sometimes referred to as the “action president.” (Cue the shirtless rugged photo shoots — and Google-Images search for “Putin outdoors” if you’re confused). Seagal’s tough-guy persona could help Putin curry favor with Trump, since the U.S. president seems to value those characteristics.
With Seagal’s celebrity and brawn on his side, Putin just might be able to wiggle his way into Trump’s good graces.