possibly some sarcasm here

Russia wants Seagal to be face of weapons industry
AP, Jun 4 2013

MOSCOW — Russia is looking at Steven Seagal to be the face of its weapons industry as it guns for first place on the world arms market. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said the action movie star may head up an international marketing campaign to promote the Degtarev arms plant, Russian news agencies reported. He accompanied Seagal on a visit there Tuesday. Rogozin said:

You’re ready to fight with your teeth and your intellect, and if USAians are prepared to promote and support you, that says we’re learning new ways to work on corporate warfare markets.

Russian officials are big fans of Seagal, who met Putin in March and claimed to have set up a meeting with Rogozin for a Congressional delegation last week.

Steven Seagal becomes the face of Russian arms firm
Alexander Winning, Guardian, Jun 5 2013

Vladimir Putin, Steven SeagalPhoto: Alexei Nikolsky/AP

The actor Steven Seagal has become an unlikely business envoy for a pre-Russian revolutionary arms factory after agreeing to feature in adverts marketing its weapons in the US. Seagal told journalists about the plans on Tuesday during a tour of the Degtyaryov weapons factory in Kovrov, a city about 160 miles from Moscow. The Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda reported Seagal as saying:

My friend Igor Kesayev invited me here. On his request, I will feature in adverts for Kovrov weapons for the US. I trust Kesayev. Whatever’s put in my hands, I will advertise.

Kesayev, who has an estimated fortune of $2b according to Forbes magazine, controls the Degtyaryov factory, which has made weapons including machine-guns and rifles since 1916. He is one of a series of influential Russians with whom the 61-year-old Seagal appears to have bonded with (sic – RB): in recent months he has been seen hobnobbing with Pres Putin and Chechen leader Kadyrov. In March, Putin showed Seagal a newly-built martial arts complex in Moscow, which was created to promote physical education among young Russians. After the event, the president’s official spokesman said Putin and Seagal had long been friends. The actor told a Russian online TV channel that he had Russian relatives. Seagal told the Dozhd TV channel:

I’m Russian (Irish-USAian mother, Russian-Jewish father – RB), I love Russia, I love Russian people, and I love your president. I really like that he does so much to support martial arts in Russia.

Kadyrov, whom human rights activists accuse of persecuting opponents, praised Seagal last month after the actor visited Chechnya and danced a lezginka in Grozny. The actor’s LA-based agent was not immediately available for comment on his client’s ties with Russian officials. Although an improbable intermediary between two former cold war enemies, Seagal is building a reputation as a favoured go-between for Russian and US officials. At a meeting in March, Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin asked Seagal to lobby US legislators to abolish restrictions on the sale of Russian weapons. Last week Seagal was said to have helped arrange meetings with senior Russian officials for a group of US congressmen visiting Russia in the hope of boosting counter-terrorism ties between the two countries.

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