We remember Steven Seagal, the once-famed action movie actor who bestowed the glorious film “Under Siege” upon us before slowly driving his career into obscurity, making progressively worse movies. Today, Seagal is more of a joke than anything else, known more for talking like a Cajun gator hunter for some reason, running weird, and pooping his pants after getting choked out by a Judo master.
Seagal has long been a friend of Russia, being made an official citizen of the country by presidential decree in 2016. But Vladimir Putin needs all the friends he can get lately, as his closest allies seem to keep falling out of windows. So Putin has decided to award the actor with the state’s official Order of Friendship.
Steven Seagal has been many things in his career, both on and off the silver screen. He’s most famous for his role as Casey Ryback, the protagonist of the 1992 “Die Hard on a Boat” film, “Under Siege.” He began his adult life as a legitimate Aikido master, a 7th-dan black belt, who taught the art in Japan.
He started his film career in 1987 and his first five movies were box office successes, making him a bona fide movie star. After that, it was all downhill. Seagal’s slow but steady descent into direct-to-video began with his directorial debut “On Deadly Ground,” which featured both an all-star cast and a bizarre environmental lecture at the end of the movie.
These days, Seagal mainly does films where he receives top billing but only acts in 20 minutes of the movie, barely moving, and is often sitting. Since the movies are made by his production company, he can pretty much do whatever he wants.
Seagal had a brief brush with reality television stardom on the series “Steven Seagal: Lawman,” which documented his time as a deputy law enforcement officer in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. There were only 29 episodes of the show, but the apex of his law enforcement career had to be the time he participated in an animal cruelty raid in Arizona. The actor drove a tank through the house, killing the family dog and a number of rooster. He was later sued for the incident.
His international diplomacy career began in 2016, when the government of Serbia granted him citizenship for training the country’s special forces in aikido. That same year, Seagal joined actor Gerard Depardieu in being granted citizenship in Russia. According to a Russian spokesperson, Seagal "was asking quite insistently and over a lengthy period to be granted citizenship."
After Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, Seagal openly backed Russia and Putin, telling a Russian newspaper that Putin’s "desire to protect the Russian-speaking people of Crimea, his assets, and the Russian Black Sea military base in Sevastopol … is very reasonable."
He would later declare that Putin is one of the greatest current world leaders and that he considers the Russian president to be like a brother to him. This led to Putin suggesting Steven Seagal be appointed as a Russian envoy to the United States to President Barack Obama. In 2018, Putin did name Seagal as a Russian Foreign Ministry humanitarian envoy to the United States and Japan.
Putin’s award of the Order of Friendship to Seagal is just the latest in the duo’s ongoing international bromance. Seagal visited the Russian-occupied Ukrainian town of Olenivka in 2022, the site where Ukrainian prisoners of war were killed in an artillery barrage. The Order of Friendship is awarded by presidential decree to those who promote peace, cooperation and understanding between other nations and Russia.