Meet Russia’s newest official: Steven Seagal

Russia appointed the former action star as a "special representative"on US-Russia relations.

Cant Steven Seagal heal the divide between the U.S. and Russia. (Probably not.) CREDIT: MIKHAIL JAPARIDZE / GETTY
Cant Steven Seagal heal the divide between the U.S. and Russia. (Probably not.) CREDIT: MIKHAIL JAPARIDZE / GETTY

Some 18 months into Donald Trump’s tenure as president, relations between the U.S. and Russia are no closer to being mended than they were before Trump arrived in the White House.

Now, though, the Kremlin appears to have a new solution: aging action star Steven Seagal.

On Saturday, the Russian government announced that it had appointed Seagal as a “special representative” on U.S.-Russian humanitarian relations.

According to a statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry, Seagal will be tasked with “promot[ing] the further development of Russian-American relations in the humanitarian sphere, including interactions in the field of culture, art, public and youth exchanges, and more.” The position is unpaid.

Seagal, of course, has long maintained a public, and bizarre, relationship with Russia. Despite the Kremlin’s descent into outright dictatorship the past few years, Seagal has grown ever-closer with Russian President Vladimir Putin, with Seagal even becoming a Russian citizen in 2016. Seagal has repeatedly gone out of his way to defend the Kremlin from criticism, describing accusations of Russian meddling in the U.S. as “propaganda.”


It’s unclear what Seagal’s duties will entail — there isn’t much overlap when it comes to U.S.-Russian cooperation on “humanitarian” issues in the first place — and it appears the position will be mostly for photo-ops and behind-the-scenes lobbying. It actually wouldn’t be the first time the Kremlin had tapped Seagal to push its message in Washington.

Indeed, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) has in the past pointed to Seagal as one of the bridges between Moscow and Washington. In 2013, Seagal helped organize a Congressional trip through Russia, which included Rohrabacher.

Seagal, however, has never registered as a lobbyist for Russia with the U.S.’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). And now that he’s a Russian official, he will presumably receive any exemption moving forward, allowing him to lobby that much more easily in the future.