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25 Feb, 2024 18:50

Action movie icon says Russia is his favourite country

Steven Seagal has said he heard “lies and propaganda” about Russia as a child, but fell in love with the country as an adult
Action movie icon says Russia is his favourite country

As a child of the Cold War, action movie star Steven Seagal told RT that he was taught to fear Russia, but that visiting his grandparents’ homeland made him realize that it was home to some of the “deepest and most beautiful culture on Earth.” 

Born in Michigan at the dawn of the Cold War in 1952, Seagal said that he was “raised in a Russian household,” but that his parents soon instructed his grandparents not to speak Russian around him.

“Quickly as a child I realized that there was politics going on,” he told RT in an interview this week. “My parents were saying to my grandparents: ‘We don’t want him to speak Russian because we’re in the middle of a Cold War’.”

The portrayal of then Soviet Russia as the “bad guy” in American media “was oftentimes pretty terrible and pretty hard on someone like me, because I loved Russia,” he said. “And sometimes you would hear crazy crazy lies and propaganda… ‘if you go to Russia your wife will be raped, your mother will be raped, and if you want to get a taxi there’s a horse and buggy that will come down the street’, really crazy stuff.”

Segal struck up a friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin over a decade ago, with the pair apparently bonding over their shared love of martial arts. Seagal received Russian citizenship in 2016, and currently serves as a special envoy of the Russian Foreign Ministry on humanitarian relations between Moscow and Washington.

“One of the things that happened recently was the [2018 FIFA] World Cup, and I think Putin was a genius because he invited the world here and all of a sudden the world came here and saw that Russia is a beautiful place, Moscow is an amazing city… the culture is some of the deepest and most beautiful culture on Earth.”

“You have amazing literature, amazing history, poets… amazing musicians, amazing science, really some of these are some of the best in the world,” he continued. “I don’t want to say that Russia is the greatest country on earth, but for me it is.”

Seagal’s love for all things Russian and his support for Russia’s military operation in Ukraine has earned him notoriety in the West. Last year, a group of US, EU, and Ukrainian lawmakers called on Washington and Brussels to sanction the 90s action hero.

Seagal, however, maintains that Western audiences are told very little about the conflict and its origins. In 2022, he visited the Donbass region to shoot footage for a documentary, which is apparently still in production.

“When I realized that 99% of the news that was being told to the world was being told by people who had never been to Donbass, never been to Lugansk, never been to Ukraine, I thought it would be important to be able to go there, interview Ukrainians, interview Russians, and let people tell their truth,” he told RT last year.