Martial artists and 1990s action movie star Steven Seagal may become the face of the Russian arms market as top officials want the actor to lead an international marketing campaign. Segal had previously toured Russia in March and met President Vladimir Putin during his visit.
The Associated Press is reporting Russia wants Seagal to be its leading man as part of international efforts to promote the weapons industry and, in particular, the Degtarev arms plant. Seagal and Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin toured the plant on Tuesday, although there was no indication that the action star would accept a role in Russia’s marketing efforts.
Speaking about Seagal, Rogozin said, “You're ready to fight American [manufacturers] with your teeth and your intellect, and, if Americans are prepared to promote and support you, that says we're learning new ways to work on corporate warfare markets.” Rogozin hopes Seagal would be able to increase gun sales in foreign markets, AP notes.
Seagal is rather influential in Russia, having visited the country several times this year. Last week, a six-member U.S. congressional delegation went to Russia to discuss the Boston bombing with security officials. According to AP reports, Seagal helped set up a meeting with the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, or FSB, the successor of the KGB. Seagal also led the delegation through the site of the Beslan school hostage crisis where, in 2004, a Chechen separatist group, the Riyadus-Salikhin Battalion, took over the school and held 1,000 hostage. The hostage situation ended after three days with more than 330 deaths reported.
During his June trip in Russia, Seagal visited Chechnya and met with Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen Republic. Seagal had set up a similar meeting for the delegation, but U.S House rules prevented the trip, AP reports.
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Seagal and Rogozin previously discussed the weapons industry during his March trip. Rogozin hoped Seagal would open up discussions that would allow the sale of Russian rifles within the United States, Ria Novosti reports. “Everyone understands that such restrictions are absurd, because they hurt the interests of U.S. citizens who would like to buy Russian firearms for hunting and sports, and, on the other hand, it hurts our manufacturers,” Rogozin said.