Credit to RIA Novosti
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Vladimir Putin has expressed his hopes for improving relations between Moscow and Washington as he personally granted a Russian passport to Hollywood star Steven Seagal.
“I want to congratulate you and express the hope that this is another, albeit small, gesture and it might be a sign of the gradual normalisation of relations between our countries,” the Russia president said to the US actor and director as the document was handed over.
“Spasibo bolshoye,” replied Seagal (thank you very much).
Seagal, who has Russian heritage, is a vocal supporter of Mr Putin
The Kremlin released a transcript of their conversation, with Mr Putin saying they had been discussing citizenship for “quite a while”.
Seagal, 64, who has Russian heritage and is a regular visitor to the country, has been a vocal supporter of Mr Putin, who earlier this month signed an order granting his Russian citizenship.
In the 1990s the star opened a branch of the restaurant chain Planet Hollywood in Moscow, and has since participated in a number of publicity campaigns for Russian companies.
The action star has been a regular visitor to Russia in recent years
Russian business newspaper Vedomosti reports the actor could acquire a stake in Russian IT company Galaxy.
Seagal’s fame peaked in the late 1980s and early 1990s with films such as Under Siege and Above the Law, but he remains hugely popular in eastern Europe and was granted Serbian citizenship in January.
He is not the first celebrity to be awarded citizenship by the Kremlin.
A close up of French actor Gerard Depardieu, who has threatened to quit his homeland to avoid higher taxes, showing off his new Russian passport on January 6, 2013 at Mordovia airport in Saransk where he has been offered residence in this central Russia region known for Stalin-era Gulag labour camps. The former Oscar nominee travelled to snow-covered Mordovia a day after he met with strongman President Vladimir Putin at his sumptuous Black Sea villa in the resort town of Sochi for friendly bante
French actor Gerard Depardieu got his in 2013, saying at the time he was leaving France to avoid proposed tax increases.
US boxer Roy Jones Jr got his Russian passport in 2015, writing on his website later: “This is the happiest day of my life.”
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