Vladimir Putin grants Steven Seagal Russian citizenship

By Sarah Mulé  |  Nov. 3, 2016 at 12:04 PM
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MOSCOW, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an executive order on Thursday to grant actor Steven Seagal Russian citizenship, the Kremlin said.

Seagal has described Putin as "one of the greatest world leaders," and said the country's actions in Crimea in 2014 were "very reasonable."

Putin issued the order on Thursday, while his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov said that citizenship was Seagal's idea.

"[Seagal] has been insistent for a long time in asking to be granted Russian citizenship," Peskov said. "He is known for his warm feelings to our country, he never made a secret of it, and he's also a well-known actor, which gave grounds to make him a Russian citizen."

Putin and Seagal, who starred in films like Under Siege and Fire Down Below, reportedly bonded over a shared love of martial arts.

"The first time I walked into his home I saw a life-sized statue of Kano Jigoro, who is the founder of judo, so I was immediately taken and impressed and sort of wanting to get to know this man deeper and deeper," Seagal said in 2014.

Russia has previously granted citizenship to other celebrities, including French actor Gerard Depardieu and U.S. boxer Roy Jones Jr.

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