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Buzzfeed: Putin Floated Idea of Steven Seagal as Russian Envoy to US

Buzzfeed: Putin Floated Idea of Steven Seagal as Russian Envoy to US
(Alexei Nikolsky/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 22 April 2015 12:57 PM

Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to get President Barack Obama to appoint action movie star Steven Seagal as an intermediary to help settle tensions between his country and the U.S.

Buzzfeed reports that during the 2013 G8 summit meeting in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, Putin suggested that Seagal be appointed honorary Russian consul in Arizona and California, which would position Seagal, a longtime friend of the Russian president, to become a back-channel means of negotiation between the Obama administration and Putin.

However, an unnamed U.S. official told Buzzfeed, Obama's reaction was, "you've got to be kidding."

Moscow Times reported that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has denied that Putin made the request, saying, "there is a lot of exaggerated and incorrect information in this article. (Seagal) indeed has deep sympathy toward our country, and he has met with the president several times, and they have a good relationship."

Moscow Times noted that in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta last year, Seagal called Putin "one of the great living world leaders" and said he "would like to consider him as a brother."

Seagal and Putin are said to have bonded over a mutual interest in martial arts, with Putin holding a black belt in Judo and Seagal claiming to be the first non-Japanese to operate an Aikido dojo in Japan, Buzzfeed reported.

Buzzfeed said that after Putin's alleged request, Russia's Ambassador Sergei Kislyak made several visits to the State Department, pressing for action on Seagal's appointment, but repeatedly got the brush-off and eventually gave up.

Seagal has made several trips to Russia over the past few years, once was part-owner of a nightclub there, and has been in talks with Russian weapons maker Kalashnikov to be a representative of the company, Moscow Times reported.

Brookings Institute scholar Fiona Hill, co-author of the book, "Mr. Putin," told Buzzfeed that the Putin-Seagal connection is not surprising, since Putin "plays an action hero as president."

Peskov told Buzzfeed that the relationship between Putin and Seagal is "a totally normal friendship. I wouldn't necessarily say he's a huge fan, but he's definitely seen some of his movies."

Seagal's career has lagged of late since he was a leading actor in the 1990s in action films such as "Above The Law" and "Under Siege."

Seagal, whose grandmother hailed from Vladivostok, claims to be a tulku, named as the reincarnation of a 17th-century monk Chungdrag Dorje by Penor Rinpoche, a prominent Buddhist teacher, Buzzfeed reports.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to get President Barack Obama to appoint action movie star Steven Seagal as an intermediary to help settle tensions between his country and the U.S.
US, Russia, Vladimir Putin, Steven Seagal, envoy
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2015-57-22
Wednesday, 22 April 2015 12:57 PM
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