Actor Steven Seagal reportedly used his close friendship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin to open doors for six Congressional members visiting the country to learn more about the Boston Marathon bombing.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) told CNN that Seagal’s familiarity and presence helped the group to meet top people as they investigated the two brothers accused in the bombings.
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Business Week called the relationship between Seagal and Putin a “man crush,”
and detailed a long history that began with a bonding over martial arts. Putin is a judo expert and Seagal is a former aikido instructor.
Putin has used celebrities as part of his political agenda, according to Nina Khrushcheva, an international affairs teacher at the New School in New York. In an interview with Business Week, she said that pulling in Western celebrities has been a “Soviet-era practice” since Stalin.
Rohrabacher defended the decision to use Seagal as a go-between during the CNN interview with Wolf Blitzer.
“You know, sometimes actors can actually go out and rather than just act, they can actually do good things
,” he said. “I worked for one. His name was Ronald Reagan.”
Rohrabacher also said Seagal was a personal friend of his.
Seagal has been actively pursued by Russian leaders to lobby for their causes in Washington. While an informal position (and Rhrabacher said in his interview that Seagal doesn’t have political ambitions), a Russian news service reported the Russian deputy prime minister asked Seagal to push lawmakers to allow the sale of Russian-made guns in the U.S. Rumors abound that Seagal may even do advertisements for the guns.
Seagal’s Russian activities are causing some to question what his motives are. The Global Post questioned why a Buddhist who has worked with PETA, is an environmentalist, and vegetarian would work with the Russian regime.
From politics to helping Putin create a mass physical training program
, Seagal’s Russian ties are strengthening.
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