Actor Steven Seagal’s love for martial arts just helped him become a Russian citizen.
The “Under Siege” star was awarded Russian citizenship on Thursday after spending years accompanying pal Vladimir Putin to martial arts events and publically praising his presidential policies.
Seagal, 64, has been pushing to become a citizen for a long time, according to Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
Peskov added that Seagal “is known for his warm feelings to our country, he never made a secret of it, and he’s also a well-known actor, which gave grounds to make him a Russian citizen.”
The Michigan-born film star, who is of Russian descent, has certainly been open about his feelings on Putin’s Russia.
In 2014, he called the Kremlin the “greatest world leader alive today.”
“He cares more about Russia than anybody I know,” Seagal said at the time. “And he’s not afraid to get up and do what needs to be done.”
Seagal even noted that he would like to refer to the Russian president as his brother.
During an interview with a Russian television station that same year, the actor explained the beginning of his relationship with the world leader.
“The first time I went to his home, I walked in and saw a life-sized statue of Kano Jigoro, who is the founder of judo, so I was immediately taken and impressed and really wanting to get to know this man deeper and deeper,” he said.
Seagal is not the first celebrity to be granted Russian nationality in recent years. Putin also awarded citizenship to French actor Gerard Depardieu and American boxer Roy Jones Jr.
With News Wire Services