Hollywood action star has been very public in appreciation for chairperson and toured Moscow-backed states in media frenzy
Call it the full Gerard.
First, you travel to Russia and induce complimentary remarks about president Vladimir Putin. Then you go to Chechnya and hang out with the Kremlin-backed leader Ramzan Kadyrov, chuckling off very concerned about his abysmal human rights record and dancing the traditional folk dancing in the style of a human being Tasered.
You are then invited back to Moscow, where you expend some one-on-one time with Putin and develop a personal rapport. You lap up the fawning media attention that nobody gives you back home any more.
For good measure, you throw in a few bizarre and exhaustively inexplicable trips to other countries in the region, in this instance to Belarus, where the last despot in Europe feeds you a carrot, and then Kyrgyzstan, where you ride on horseback into a packed stadium clad in the armour of a medieval warrior.
Finally, for Steven Seagal, as for Grard Depardieu before him, comes the final stage: Russian citizenship.
Vladimir Putin signed an executive order according Russian citizenship to Steven Seagal, announced the sober decree published on the Kremlin website on Thursday morning, among other items of national importance such as government reshuffles and international treaties.
So far, there has been no personal man-to-man handover, as was the case in 2013 with Depardieu, when Putin handed him his new maroon travelling document, and the corpulent actor comprehended the Russian president in a sweaty embrace.
But the strength of the friendship between Seagal and Putin is well established. The US actor has said the Russian president could well be the greatest world leader alive today. One of the only bits of publicly known information about the private one-quarters of Putins residence comes, somewhat incongruously, from Seagal, who noted in an interview that it contains a life-size gold statue of Kan Jigor, the founder of judo.
Aside from his admiration for Putin, and a valiant though dubious endeavor to enunciate Russian swearwords when he played a Russian gangster in the 2009 direct-to-DVD cinema Driven to Kill, Seagal would appear to have fairly limited grounds on which to qualify for Russian citizenship.
Apparently, though, that is enough.
It was his wish; he really was asking for citizenship persistently and for quite a long time, said Putins spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, on Thursday. He is known for his warm impressions to our country, which he has never hidden.
Seagal joins a number of westerners who have sought, and been granted, Russian citizenship. In addition to being able to Depardieu, the boxer Roy Jones Jr was made Russian last year.
For Seagal, Russian citizenship may give him the chance to burnish his cinema career with new opportunities and funding. Speaking in Kyrgyzstan in September, the actor also said he had a more lofty aspiration: To bring all people together, to live in harmony.
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