Steven Seagal has had a busy 2017, working on upcoming action masterpieces like “Cyborg Nemesis: The Dark Rift” and “Attrition.” But the 65-year-old actor still found time to sit down for an interview with Good Morning Britain where he offered his expert analysis on allegations that Russia interfered in the election. His take? You’re “stupid” if you believe such a thing.
“Let’s be really honest, every country is involved in espionage, every single country – the Americans spy, the British spy, the Russians spy – we all spy on each other,” he said. “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.”
“All of this is happening, in my opinion, from astronomical propaganda,” he added. “It is really creating a diversion so that the people in the United States of America won’t really see what’s happening.”
For the un-initiated it may seem strange that Michigan-born Seagal is opining on the US election from Moscow. But while Seagal’s star has waned considerably in the US in recent years, be it due to allegedly keeping sex slaves, running over a puppy with a police tank, or just an increasingly awful slew of direct-to-DVD movies, the action star has become increasingly popular in Russia – partly due to his friendship with Vladimir Putin.
The pair bonded over their shared love of martial arts in 2013 – Putin is judo black belt, while Seagal is an expert in aikido. Putin was evidently so smitten with Seagal that he proposed making him an honorary consul of Russia in California and Arizona to help “reset” relations with the US, according to Buzzfeed News. According to Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, the two were longtime friends.
But the bromance wasn’t one way. In 2014 Seagal gave an interview with the state-run newspaper Rossiskaya Gazeta in which he called Vladimir Putin “one of the great living world leaders.” “He’s brilliant, he’s articulate, he’s a great tactician,” he said. “We really talk about the martial arts and philosophy and people and dilemmas in life, that kind of thing.” Seagal went on to describe how Russia’s incursion into the Ukraine was “very reasonable.”
A few months later, Seagal showed up at a Russian nationalist biker rally in Sevastopol. With Putin’s personal seal of approval, the rally was broadcast live on Russian state TV. The leader of the “Night Wolves” biker clan, Alexander “The Surgeon” Zaldostanov, presented Seagal with a trophy of a Russian warrior after the action star played a few blues songs with his band – in case you weren’t aware Seagal is also an accomplished blues musician with albums like “Love Doctor” and “Talk to My Ass.”
In 2016 Putin and Seagal made things official. Putin personally handed over a Russian passport to Seagal to finalize his new Russian citizenship.
But the relationship has had its downsides, most notably the fact that many Eastern European states now want nothing to do with Seagal. In 2014 he was banned from attending the Augustibluus festival in Estonia for his political activities. “The organizers and numerous others were unpleasantly surprised by his political views and public statements,” the festival director said at the time. In 2017 he was also banned from Ukraine by the country’s security services, saying that he “committed socially dangerous actions… that contradict the interests of maintaining Ukraine’s security.”
Perhaps in the future Putin will be able to use his net worth of up to $200 billion dollars to help his friend finance some movies which are not direct-to-DVD budget action films. However, based on this reporter’s recent viewing of “A Good Man,” one of Seagal’s latest works, this seems highly unlikely.