North Korea has Dennis Rodman. Russia has Steven Seagal.
The “Under Siege” actor was awarded an Order of Friendship medal after continuously supporting President Vladimir Putin even amid the invasion of Ukraine. Seagal accused the United States government of spending “billions of dollars on disinformation, lies” in the media to “try to discredit, demoralize, and destroy the emerging morale of Russia” during an event held by the International Movement of Russians in Moscow (via The Independent).
More from IndieWire
“Over half of the people in America actually love Russia and love Russians and know that they’re being lied to,” Seagal said. “My father was pure Russian, and I was raised in a pure Russian household, because my mother was completely immersed in the Russian culture and she did not have parents. So I grew up with Russian culture.”
The Michigan native continued, “I grew up loving Russia and loving all of what I learned about it from a very early age. And for me, I am one million percent Russophile and and one million percent Russian.”
Seagal was named the Russian Foreign Ministry’s special representative for Russian-American humanitarian relations in 2018. The Order of Friendship medal this year was to celebrate Seagal’s “great contribution to the development of international cultural and humanitarian cooperation,” as Putin said.
In 2020, Seagal recorded a birthday message for Putin, saying, “Today is President Putin’s birthday. I just think that we are now living in very, very trying times. He is one of the greatest world leaders and one the greatest presidents in the world. And I am really hoping and praying that he gets the support and the love and the respect that he needs. And that all the tribulations that are going on now will be over soon, and we will be living in a world of peace.”
“For anyone to think that Vladimir Putin had anything to do with fixing the elections, or even that the Russians have that kind of technology, is stupid,” Seagal also said. “And this kind of propaganda is really a diversion…so that the people in the United States of America won’t really see what’s happening.”
Seagal was previously banned from Ukraine and deemed a threat to national security.
Best of IndieWire
Sign up for Indiewire’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.