Steven Seagal: Actor Visits Chechnya, But Can the Unofficial Diplomat Improve U.S.-Russia Relations?
Steven Seagal has taken some time off from thwarting terrorists on the silver screen to focus his ass kicking credentials on his new gig as the unofficial United States diplomat to Russia and its eastern Chechen territory.
According to a report from Politico, The musician and martial artist superstar has apparently become well acquainted with Russian president Vladamir Putin and Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov. He recently attempted to arrange a diplomatic meeting between the Chechen president and a congressional diplomacy group to Russia.
Politico reports that the congressional delegation, officially called CODEL, and headed by former Republican political candidate Michele Bachmann, was part of a committee investigating Russia and Russian Caucasus in wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. The brothers responsible for the bombings were both from the Kalmykia region of Chechnya and as such the territory has been subject to some scrutiny from United States intelligence agencies.
CODEL though, declined Steven Seagal’s invitation to actually travel to the region, citing congressional safety guidelines regarding travel.
Although the notoriously dangerous region is like a walk in the park for Steven, congressional politicians do not share the martial arts and heroism background of the action star, making a trip to Chechnya a considerably riskier proposition.
Seagal has further secured his safety in Russia by making friends with Vladamir Putin. The Akido master has been spending time in Russia helping the president spearhead a series of laws and initiatives, including a Soviet-style fitness campaign and the systematic extermination of Putin’s political opposition as seen in this video.
Safety is also likely assured for Steven in Chechnya where the action star has endeared himself to president Ramzan Kadyrov by taking part in a diplomatic meeting and attending a local Chechen dance party. Kadyrov himself, seen here spooning a tiger and here at the dentist, has called Seagal “almost Chechen.”
Kadyroy has also been the target of some human rights watchdog groups. Many claim that journalists and oppositional parties have been killed for criticizing him. A recent report has also accused him of threatening human rights activists doing work in Chechnya.
Not to mention Vladamir Putin who has harbored what has been called “the worst human rights climate [in Russia] since soviet times.”
Steven Seagal though, remains a friend of both President Radyrov and Putin. Having recently opened a martial arts center with the Russian president in Moscow, Seagal-Russian relations look as strong as they have ever been.