In an unconventional pick, action star Steven Seagal has been named as Russia’s special representative to the U.S.
The once-prolific actor has been recruited to deepen ties with the U.S. in the humanitarian field, assisting “cooperation in culture, arts, public and youth exchanges,” according to Russia’s foreign ministry.
While the 66-year-old star of ’90s martial arts flicks like Under Siege and Hard to Kill might come across as an odd choice, Seagal has been courted by Russian President Vladimir Putin in the past few years.
Seagal received Russian citizenship back in 2016, where he’s been outspoken in his defence of Putin, even calling him a “great, great, great world leader, maybe, the greatest.”
It’s not the first time Russia has tried to give Seagal some sort of semi-official status. In 2013, Putin pitched Seagal to be the country’s honorary consul in California and Arizona.
“Our reaction was, ‘You’ve got to be kidding,'” an official with the Obama administration told BuzzFeed in 2015.
In response to the notably unpaid engagement, Seagal said he was “deeply humbled and honoured” on Twitter.
“I hope we can strive for peace, harmony and positive results in the world. I take this honour very seriously,” he added.
I am deeply humbled and honoured to have been appointed as a special representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry in charge of Russian and American Humanitarian ties.
I hope we can strive for peace, harmony and positive results in the world.
I take this honour very seriously pic.twitter.com/LTuUxsk1aZ
— Steven Seagal (@sseagalofficial) August 5, 2018
Aside from his engagements with Russia, Seagal has endorsed questionable cryptocurrency schemes and has been accused by several women, including Portia De Rossi and Bond actress Rachel Grant, of sexual harassment and abuse.
Amid strained relations between the two countries due to alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election, perhaps Russia is hoping the nostalgia of Seagal may help to ease things up.