American influence in Russia is coming from the unlikeliest of sources—61-year-old action movie star, Steven Seagal.
The actor’s diplomatic relationship with Russia dates back to 2004 when Seagal said he would “spend the rest of his life fighting terrorism” after visiting the school in North Ossetia where more than 300 were killed in a hostage crisis.
Seagal traveled back to North Ossetia last week with the fact-finding U.S. Congressional trip, CODEL, in an effort to investigate the Boston Marathon bombings and establish a stronger information sharing relationship between the U.S. and Russia, the Washington Post reported.
Delegation leader, Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, chair of the U.S. Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats, was effusive in his praise for Seagal, repeatedly thanked the actor for his assistance, and added that some of the meetings were directly facilitated by Seagal.
Gems from the Seagal canon, with films including “Sheep Impact” still carry water in Russia, where The Moscow Times reported earlier this month that Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin asked Seagal to help lobby for an easing of restrictions on the sale of Russian rifles to the U.S.
This request came just a week after the “Under Siege” star sat down with his Justice League buddy, Russian pres. Vladmir Putin, to promote a nationwide Communist-era physical fitness program. Seagal also took the time to meet Chechnya’s strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov during his travels, who taught him some local dance moves.
Despite Seagal’s help, Rohrbacher came away from the trip saying that “nothing specific” could have been done by Russia to prevent the bombings that left three people dead and hundreds more injured April 15.
Republican representatives Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Steve King of Iowa, Paul Cook of California and Democrats Bill Keating of Massachusetts and Steve Cohen of Tennessee also made the trip but did not comment on Seagal’s help.