Nineties B-list action star Steven Seagal opened an a martial arts school in Russia, which will help train Russian youths in hand-to-hand combat in preparation to serve in the army.
The “Under Siege” star’s All-Russian Aikido Centre in Moscow aims to “increase the applied nature of aikido, develop various styles and directions of traditional and modern aikido, increase the general motivation of those involved,” the Bloody Elbow reported on Tuesday.
Russian state-affiliated media outlet TASS, said the actor’s facility will also provide “the opportunity to become a champion, receive a sports category, title, as well as prepare young people for service in the Russian Armed Forces.”
“I am very glad to be able to present this centre today and that aikido will develop here,” Seagal, 70, remarked during the facility’s ribbon cutting ceremony.
“These arts can make this world a better place.”
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense mercilessly mocked the Russian’s for putting Seagal in charge of training future soldiers in the midst of the ongoing war between the countries.
“It’s been reported that russia has recruited Steven Seagal to teach martial arts to its soldiers,” the verified Twitter account posted.
“Rumor has it that the Seagal-style running technique will be included in the training,” the post continued.
“Russian soldiers will now be able to run away from their positions with weird hand motions.”
Seagal has long been ridiculed for his flailing running style, which has been highlighted in hawk-eyed social media posts.
Seagal’s allegiance with Russia began as his star was fading in the early aughts, when his action flicks went from box office hits to unmemorable direct-to-video misses.
When the “Above the Law” star had a falling out with his producing partner Jules Nasso, who hired a mobster to go after him for money, Seagal slunk off to Russia.
His fallen star meant nothing to the Russians, who trotted him out at film festivals and charity events, where he met Russian President Vladimir Putin, 70.
Their bromance grew in 2012 and beyond, likely out of their shared ages and similar interests.
Putin had often portrayed himself as macho, with televised stunts that included shirtless horseback riding in the wilderness, hang gliding, and hunting.
Scholar Fiona Hill, who co-authored a book about Putin, told Buzzfeed that “he plays an action hero as president.”
As Seagal is a literal on-screen action hero, who like Putin, has a black belt in martial arts, the pair bonded famously and were seen attending events together all over the country.
“I would like to think I know him well, but suffice it to say I know him well enough to say that he is one of the greatest world leaders, if not the greatest world leader, alive today,” the actor gushed about the foreign leader in 2013.
“He cares more about Russia than anybody I know, and he’s not afraid to stand up and do what needs to get done.”
Putin was so charmed by the “Hard To Kill” actor, that after failed relations with the Obama administration, he proposed that Seagal become an honorary consol of Russia in California and Arizona.
“Our reaction was, ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’” a U.S. official told Buzzfeed, noting that then President Obama was “flabbergasted” by the idea.
By 2016, Putin signed an order to grant Seagal Russian citizenship, which a Kremlin spokesperson said he had repeatedly requested.
Seagal was appointed as a “special representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry in charge of the Russian-US humanitarian ties,” the Embassy of Russian in the USA wrote on Facebook in 2018.
“The task is to facilitate relations between Russia and the United States in the humanitarian field, including cooperation in culture, arts, public and youth exchanges, and so on,” the statement read.