Earlier this month, the 64-year-old actor was awarded Russian citizenship via presidential decree. In the televised meeting today at the Kremlin, Putin handed the passport to Seagal, saying “I congratulate you.” Seagal answered back in Russian, telling Putin “thank you very much.”
Putin noted that giving Seagal Russian citizenship would hopefully be seen as “a sign of a gradual normalization of the relations between the countries.”
Seagal joins a list of other Western celebs who have obtained Russian citizenship in recent years. French star Gerard Depardieu got his passport from the country in 2013 after he complaiend about rising taxes in France. Athletes Roy Jones Jr. and Jeff Monson have also received citizenship.
Seagal has been a vocal defender of both Russia and Putin over the past few years. He’s made appearances on Russian state television , spent time with Putin and lauded him following Russia’ annexation of Crimea.
[image via screengrab]