(RepublicanDaily.org) – Russian leader Vladimir Putin has bestowed a friendship award on Hollywood actor Steven Seagal, sparking political controversy, the Associated Press reported. Seagal is an American action movie actor who has dual citizenship in Russia.
The Order of Friendship is a state award for the Russian Federation which recognizes people that Russia considers having contributed to bettering its international relations. As the Special Representative for Russia-US Cultural Links, Seagal has established international relations with Russia, having been promoted as a special envoy by the Russian Foreign Ministry in 2018 to the United States and Japan. The Order of Friendship award is the “top state award” for humanitarianism, Reuters reported.
Seagal has been criticized in public media over the past weeks due to his affiliation with the Russian Federation, as the Russian incursion into Ukraine continues to wear on a year after it was launched in February 2022. Media and film magazine Datebook said that Seagal’s movie career had been “on the decline” before the actor became a special envoy to Russia, but that this decline in the actor’s career did not justify his “turning to the dark side” by becoming both a Russian citizen and a friend to Putin.
The friendship award the actor received follows an increase in anti-Russian sentiment in the United States due to the war. As the war in Ukraine wears on, many Americans have become weary of the associated politics, and skeptical of the outcome. Likewise, citizens of Russia have sounded a dissident outcry against the Russian regime’s leadership, Foreign Policy reported. Putin has reportedly done “more than ever” to crush dissent in his “unpopular” war in Ukraine.
As the war and its associated politics wear on, the United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies in Europe have issued further sanctions against the Russian Federation, The Wall Street Journal reported on February 24.
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