Russian Federation appoints Hollywood star Steven Seagal as humanitarian envoy

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American actor Steven Seagal, who took Russian citizenship and got a job in the foreign Ministry, will be engaged in advocacy work.

Somewhat of a Slavic citizenship collector, the star of action movies Under Siege, Hard to Kill, and Out for Justice was also granted Serbian citizenship in 2016, after offering to open an Aikido school in the capital city.

Russia appointed actor Steven Seagal as a "special representative" on US-Russian humanitarian ties, the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on its official Facebook page Saturday.

The actor is now in charge of deepening art, cultural, and youth ties between the two countries.

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've always had a very strong desire to do all I can to help improve Russian-American relations".

Seagal, who is reportedly friends with Russian President Vladimir Putin, will not be paid for the position, according to the post. "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".

Born in the USA, the martial arts star gained global fame for roles in the 1980s and '90s like Under Siege.

Later that month, Mr Putin, who has been described as a fan of the martial arts that Seagal practices in his movies, personally presented the actor with a Russian passport. Seagal has vocally defended the Russian leader's policies, including Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, and has criticized the USA government. As The Guardian noted, Seagal called Putin "one of the great living world leaders" and even performed with his blues band in Crimea.

A Kremlin spokesman cited Seagal's "warm feelings toward Russia" and his celebrity status as reasons for the gesture, Reuters reported.