Steven Seagal joins pro-Putin Russian political party

Steven Seagal joins pro-Putin Russian political party
Martial arts pro and Hollywood figure becomes full member of recently formed alliance in Russia’s parliament

Action star and long-time admirer of Russian president Vladimir Putin, Steven Seagal, has allegedly become a member of a pro-Kremlin party.

In a video released on Saturday, the 69-year-old was revealed as a full member of the alliance, Just Russia – Patriots – For Truth, or “Fair Russia”.

It follows Mr Putin approving the former actor and martial arts fan’s request for Russian citizenship in 2016. The Russian president is also a fan of the sport.

On Saturday, Mr Seagal stood in front of a crowd and called for the arrest of businesses that pollute, and posed for photos with party figures.

According to Reuters, it included Fair Russia’s co-founder, writer Zakhar Prilepin, who admitted to killing 14,000 people in seven years in Ukraine, as part of an army of pro-Russian separatists.

Following the invasion of Crimea in 2014, and worsening relations between Russia and the US, the Kremlin tasked Seagal with improving humanitarian ties between the two countries in 2018.

Seagal has also visited Venezuela as a Russian representative earlier in May and presented a samurai sword to Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro.

“Fair Russia”, which was recently formed from three pro-Putin parties, controls a faction in the lower house of the Russian parliament.

It plans to take part in a parliamentary election in September, ahead of which Mr Putin has ordered a crackdown on his opponents.

Over 200 people, including opposition politician Ilya Yashin and former Yekaterinburg mayor Yevgeny Roizman, were among those arrested by police in Moscow in March during an event for independent municipal councillors.

Seagal, meanwhile, faces accusations of sexual assault, as Time reported in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement, and which he denies.

Actor Portia de Rossi, from the film “Arrested Development”, accused Seagal in 2017 of sexually harassing her during an audition, in which he unzipped his pants in front of her.

He last appeared in a film in 2019, “Beyond the Law,” which was for on-demand viewing.

Additional reporting by Reuters