(JTA) — U.S. actor Steven Seagal has been named by Russia’s Foreign Ministry as its special representative for Russian-U.S. humanitarian ties.
The foreign ministry said in a Facebook post on Saturday that the role, which is unpaid and similar to a United Nation’ goodwill ambassador, will be to promote U.S.-Russia relations “in the humanitarian sphere,” and will include collaboration “in the sphere of culture, public and youth exchanges.”
Seagal became a Russian citizen in 2016, when he received his passport during a ceremony presided over by President Vladimir Putin, who is said to be a close friend of Seagal. Seagal has been a regular visitor to Russia for the last more than a decade.
The actor’s paternal grandparents were Russian Jews who immigrated to the U.S
“I’ve always had a very strong desire to do all I can to help improve Russian-American relations,” Seagal was quoted as saying by the RT news agency. “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,” he said.
Seagal has appeared in blockbuster films including “Out for Justice,” “Under Siege,” and “Black Dawn.”
He is scheduled to open the Mobilistic (mobility and logistics) technology festival in Moscow, which opens on August 29.