Steven Seagal has joined a pro-Kremlin political party (Update)

I can’t say I’ve paid much attention to what Steven Seagal has been doing over the past decade or so but back in the 80s and 90s I liked some of his action movies. It turns out he spends a lot of time in Russia these days. Putin granted him dual citizenship in 2016 and he was named a goodwill ambassador between Russia and the US in 2018.

This week, Seagal announced he was joining a pro-Kremlin political party. At an announcement ceremony he promoted the idea of tougher environmental laws so people who pollute could be jailed instead of just fined.

Seagal received a party membership card of an alliance named Just Russia – Patriots – For Truth on Saturday, a video relased by the party showed. It was formed earlier this year, when three leftist parties, all of which support Putin, merged into one.

Seagal, a Russian citizen since 2016, proposed a crackdown on businesses which damage the environment.

“Without being able to arrest people, when we just fine them, they are probably making more money of the production of the things that are defiling the environment,” said in his welcome speech at a party event.

I’m not sure giving a man who intends to be president for life one more reason to arrest people is a great idea. But Seagal has been a fan and personal friend of Putin’s for a while. Back in 2014 he called him a “brother” and praised his actions in Ukraine.

Action hero Steven Seagal, who considers Putin a personal friend, has labelled the former KGB lieutenant colonel “one of the greatest world leaders” and declared his actions in the Russian-majority Ukrainian province “very reasonable”…

Seagal and Putin are said to have bonded over a shared interest in martial arts. The actor, who recently helped Russia’s government relaunch a nationwide fitness programme which had been dormant since the Soviet era, said he considered the president as “a brother”.

There’s another reason Seagal may enjoy spending time in Russia as opposed to the US these days. Starting in early 2018 the LAPD was reportedly investigating claims of sexual misconduct after several actresses came forward and made accusations. At least one of the claims involved an allegation of rape. Back in 2018 when Seagal was acting as a goodwill ambassador for Putin, he was asked about those allegations and got up and walked out of the BBC interview:

In any case, Seagal who became a Republican action star not many years after Rocky was beating up Ivan Drago is now the face of a left-wing party supporting President Putin. Here’s a Reuters report on his latest announcement.

Update: I was looking for the source of this quote and here it is, an RT interview from 2017 in which Seagal calls Putin, “one of the greatest world leaders if not the greatest world leader alive today.”