Steven Seagal
Steven Seagal, pictured October 11, 2014 at the qualifying ahead of the Russian Formula One Grand Prix in Sochi, Russia, angered Twitter with his thoughts on the 'disgusting' NFL protests. Getty Images


  • Russian President Vladimir Putin bestowed the Order of Friendship on Steven Seagal Monday
  • Seagal has been a vocal supporter of the Russian head of state and his policies
  • The actor was banned from entering Ukraine as he was considered a national security threat

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree that awarded a state decoration to American actor Steven Seagal Monday.

Putin bestowed the Order of Friendship on Seagal for his "significant contribution to the development of international cultural and humanitarian cooperation," independent news outlet Meduza reported.

A document posted on the Russian government's official internet portal announced Seagal's award.

The Order of Friendship is awarded "for special merits in strengthening peace, friendship, cooperation and mutual understanding between peoples," among other things, the website of the Russian presidential office noted.

Putin gave the 70-year-old actor, also a fellow martial artist, both Russian citizenship and a passport after Seagal defended his policies, including the annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

Seagal, who claimed the illegal occupation "very reasonable," even performed with his blues band at a concert for pro-Russian separatists in the annexed region that same year.

He is currently working on a documentary about Russia's invasion of Ukraine, unnamed sources close to the Kremlin claimed, according to a report by The Moscow Times.

Seagal has been serving as a special envoy of the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry for humanitarian relations with the United States and Japan since 2018.

The actor visited eastern Ukraine last year as part of the documentary, which resulted in him receiving praise from pro-Russian pundits.

However, other observers were appalled by Seagal's visit as it included a stop at Olenivka, a Russian-occupied town located in Ukraine's besieged Donetsk province.

Up to 53 Ukrainian prisoners of war were reportedly killed in an attack on the settlement's prison that both Russia and Ukraine have blamed on each other.

Prior to becoming a citizen of Russia, Seagal, who was born in Michigan, had been a regular visitor of the country and had accompanied Putin to several martial arts events.

The Ukrainian secret service temporarily banned Seagal from entering Ukraine in 2017 as he was considered a national security threat.

Such a decision is made when a person has "committed socially dangerous actions... that contradict the interests of maintaining Ukraine's security," the service's press secretary explained at the time.

President Putin formally annexed four regions of Ukraine