Steven Seagal says he is Putin’s man, wouldn’t mind ruling Russia’s Far East region

Steven Seagal says he is Putin’s man, wouldn’t mind ruling Russia’s Far East region
Martial arts icon and Hollywood star Steven Seagal has described himself as Vladimir Putin’s representative, and announced that he wants to become the governor of Primorsky region in the Russian Far East.

Seagal has arrived in Primorsky Krai (a type of federal district in Russia) to take part in the Pacific Meridian movie festival, which is currently taking place in the region’s capital Vladivostok. When reporters asked the celebrity if he wanted to become the governor, he answered that he represented President Vladimir Putin’s interests and would take over the gubernatorial seat with pleasure.

He proceeded to say that his ancestors on his father’s side came from the Russian Far East, and that he wanted to know more about Primorsky Krai and become its governor.

Seagal also told reporters that he had been appointed the Foreign Ministry’s special envoy for relations with Japan, and that he planned to apply maximum effort to strengthening diplomatic relations between Moscow and Tokyo.

Later on Wednesday, Seagal’s agent Anar Reiband told reporters that his client was half-joking when he talked about his future career as governor, and that he had no serious intentions to run for election in the Primorsky Krai, at least at the moment.

Steven Seagal was granted Russian citizenship in November 2016 under a law that allows foreigners to be naturalized in recognition of their services to Russia or just their achievements in general. The actor’s appointment as an envoy for Russo-Japanese relations occurred in early August. Seagal has also worked as the Russian Foreign Ministry’s representative for Russian-US relations since April.

The movie star was apparently asked about his political aspirations because the situation in Primorsky Krai became complicated after the September 9 gubernatorial elections. The first round of the polls ended in a run-off between the incumbent governor, a representative of the parliamentary majority party United Russia, and a federal MP representing populist opposition party, the LDPR.

READ MORE: Blip or trend? Regional elections suddenly become less predictable in Russia

The run-off elections took place on September 23 and ended in a near-draw, but the results have been annulled by the local Elections Commission over numerous complaints of violations that came from candidates.

The date for the new vote in Primorsky Krai has not yet been set, but it must take place before December 16, according to electoral laws.

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