Russian President Vladimir Putin has handed actor Steven Seagal the Order of Friendship award for his “humanitarian work”.
The 70-year-old actor, who also holds Russian citizenship, has reiterated his support for Putin plenty of times in the past. In fact, last year, a birthday dinner was held in his honour in Moscow.
The awarding of the Order of Friendship was announced on the Russian government’s internet portal over the weekend.
The order recognises people who Russia considers to have contributed to bettering international relations.
Seagal was a vocal supporter of Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and last year visited the Russian-held Ukrainian town of Olenivka where dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war were reportedly killed in an attack for which Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other.
In 2018, Seagal was named as a Russian Foreign Ministry humanitarian envoy to the United States and Japan.
At the time, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Seagal’s responsibility would be to “facilitate relations between Russia and the United States in the humanitarian field, including cooperation in culture, arts, public and youth exchanges”.
In 2022, Seagal also 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.”