Steven Seagal is a Russian citizen now, thanks to his powerful pal, Vladimir Putin.
The Kremlin announced Thursday that the Russian president has signed a decree welcoming the American action star, best known for a string of ’90s movies including “Above the Law,” “Hard to Kill” and “Under Siege.”
“In compliance with Item A of Article 89 of the Russian Federation Constitution, the President issued the order to accord Russian Federation citizenship to Steven Frederic Seagal, born April 10, 1952, in the United States of America,” the Kremlin said in a brief official statement.
Seagal has regularly visited Russia over the last few years, and has been pictured alongside Putin. According to Putin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, the martial arts instructor-turned-actor “has been insistent for a long time” on becoming a Russian citizen.
“He is known for, he , and he’s also a well-known actor, which gave grounds to make him a Russian citizen.” Peskov said.
Seagal, whose grandmother hailed from Vladivostok in Russia, has described Putin as “one of the greatest world leaders,” according to the BBC.
Additionally, the AP reported that Seagal once described the moment that sparked his interest in Putin during a TV interview.
“The first time I walked into his home I saw a life-sized statue of Kano Jigoro, who is the founder of judo, so I was immediately taken and impressed and sort of wanting to get to know this man deeper and deeper,” Seagal said.