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Seagal's mother was of Dutch, English, and German ancestry, while his paternal grandparents were Russian Jews who immigrated to the US.

Steven Seagal, a martial artist, is popular in Europe and Russian circles for his action movies.

Actor Steven Seagal is seen here speaking to CNN on January 25, 2013.

Steven Seagal is trading his martial arts training for diplomatic skills in his new role as the Russian Foreign Ministry's special representative to improve United States and Russian relations.

The Russian ministry said he would not be paid for his envoy role.

Seagal's unpaid position would "facilitate relations between Russian Federation and the United States in the humanitarian field, including cooperation in culture, arts, public and youth exchanges".


Ties between the two nations are in a rocky phase, with American intelligence agencies accusing Moscow of interfering in then presidential candidate Donald Trump's White House run.

The Russian Embassy in the United States also confirmed the appointment on Twitter. Both countries are at odds over Syria and Ukraine and there is still the issue of Russian hackers tampering with the 2016 elections in an effort to further divide the United States.

In 2013, BuzzFeed reported that Putin suggested to President Barack Obama that Seagal serve as an honorary envoy of Russian Federation to help improve relations between the two countries.

Seagal, 66, could not immediately be reached for comment Sunday.

A Kremlin spokesperson cited Seagal's "warm feelings toward Russia" and his celebrity status as reasons for the gesture, according to Reuters. The actor attended Putin's recent swearing-in ceremony in May.

In a video of the event, Putin and Seagal shake hands.


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