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Putin grants Russian citizenship to Hollywood star Steven Seagal




President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to grant Russian citizenship to Hollywood actor and martial artist Steven Seagal, the Kremlin said on its website on Thursday.

The star in more than 120 movies most of which are martial arts action films has been a regular visitor to Russia. He known as a fan of Putin who shares an interest with him in martial arts. The 64-years-old movie Star and the Russian President have attended several martial arts events together.

Reports say Seagal mentioned the possibility of obtaining a Russian passport during his visit to a film festival on the Far Eastern island of Sakhalin in September. During that trip, he also went bear-watching in the Kronotsky Nature Reserve in the Kamchatka Peninsula.

As a Buddhist, Seagal has been a regular visitor to Buddhist regions of Russia and also visited Belarus in the summer with the Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko.

According to the Associated Press, in a 2013 interview with the Russian state-owned TV channel RT,  Seagal called Putin “one of the greatest world leaders if not the greatest world leader alive today. He cares more about Russia than anybody I know and he’s not afraid to stand up and do what needs to get done”.

TASS cited Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who told reporters Thursday that the actor had been seeking Russian citizenship for some time. He “has been insistent for a long time in asking to be granted Russian citizenship, ” Peskov said adding that “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.”

Seagal joins French actor Gérard Depardieu,  and the boxer Roy Jones Jr who also received citizenship last year.

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