American action movie star Steven Seagal has been named as a special representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry. The unpaid role will focus on developing Russian-American relations in the areas of culture and art.
Moscow has appointed US actor Steven Seagal to promote the "further development of Russian-American relations in the humanitarian sphere, including interaction in the field of culture, art, public and youth exchanges," Russia's Foreign Ministry has announced.
"I've always had a very strong desire to do all I can to help improve Russian-American relations," state-funded TV channel RT cited Seagal as saying on Saturday.
"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."
Strong Putin backer
Seagal, an outspoken supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been a Russian citizen since 2016.
He has defended Putin's policies, including the 2014 annexation of Crimea, and has criticized the US government.
Seagal attended the 2018 World Cup in Russia last month and was also among the guests when Putin was sworn in for a fourth term in May.
His new role has been compared to that of a United Nations goodwill ambassador by the ministry.
kw/cmk (AP, AFP, DPA, Reuters)