President Vladimir Putin signed off Thursday on a decree granting Russian citizenship to US action hero actor Steven Seagal, the latest high-profile passport handout to a Western celebrity.
Commenting on the subject on a conference call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Seagal has repeatedly asked for Russian citizenship.
Hollywood star Seagal and judo-loving Kremlin tough guy Putin have struck up a bromance in recent years, with Seagal visiting Russia repeatedly and defending Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
Seagal is famous for his “warm feelings towards Russia” that he has never concealed, Peskov said.
“At the same time, he is a rather well-known actor, which became the reason for granting him Russian Federation citizenship,” Peskov said.
Seagal, who according to his own website is 64, is the latest Western celebrity who has been given a Russian passport in the past few years.
Veteran French actor Gerard Depardieu was given a Russian passport in 2013 after the star became a tax exile in ire over rate hikes in his native country.
(All images sourced from AFP)