Action-Film Actor Seagal 'Humbled And Honored' By Russia Appointment

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The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Seagal would receive no salary, and added that the actor's appointment is "a case of people's diplomacy intersecting with traditional diplomacy".

The 66-year-old US actor was granted Russian citizenship in 2016 by President Vladimir Putin.

"It is an honour that I was appointed special representative of the foreign Ministry of Russia, responsible for Russian-American humanitarian ties. I take very seriously my honor", said the actor.

The position is not paid and will be similar to the United Nations' goodwill ambassador positions, the statement said. He has become a fixture at Russian film festivals and on Saturday Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova posted a photo of herself with Seagal at a film festival in Baku, Azerbaijan, which she captioned "with a work colleague". He often visits Russian Federation and repeatedly expressed his affection for this country.

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

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Seagal's duties will also include the preservation of Russia's memorable places in the United States and promotion of studies and popularization of the legacy of Russian-U.S. common history.

Putin had previously proposed Seagal for the position of honorary consul of Russian Federation in California and Arizona in 2013, Buzzfeed News wrote, citing US officials. 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.

Seagal has claimed that his father was a Russian Mongol, and described himself as "Russian" even before receiving Russian citizenship.

It seems no coincidence that Seagal has both Russian and Serbian citizenship.