Where is Steven Seagal now? His Russian connections detailed

Steven Seagal had a sterling run as an action movie actor in the late 1980s and the 1990s, with films like Above the Law and Under Siege elevating him to international stardom. The former martial arts instructor’s acting career dipped after the turn of the century as his focus shifted to direct-to-video films. 

Seagal had opportunities to appear in blockbuster movies, but he turned down offers to appear in The Expendables and Rush Hour film franchises. Steven, who turned 70 in April 2022, has lost relevance in the acting world and often appears in the headlines for controversial reasons. 

Seagal is reportedly working on a documentary on the Russia-Ukraine war

Steven Seagal currently resides in Moscow, following his move to Russia to avoid paying a settlement to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Seagal agreed to pay the SEC $330,000 for failing to disclose he was compensated to promote digital currency. 

The actor paid $75,000 and defaulted on the balance despite repeated reminders from the SEC. Seagal hoped he would avoid paying by moving to Russia, but a federal judge in Brooklyn, New York, empowered the SEC to collect the remaining fines and interest from Seagal’s business manager. 

Steven is enjoying life in Moscow despite his financial troubles in the United States. Seagal threw a lavish party in Moscow, attended by allies of President Vladimir Putin, to celebrate his 70th birthday. 

“Each and every one of you, you are my family and my friends. And I love all of you,” Seagal toasted. “We stand together, through thick and through thin.”

A month prior, Seagal talked to Fox News Digital about his views on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. “Most of us have friends and family in Russia and Ukraine,” Steven said before blaming an unidentified ‘outside entity’ for the war. He continued:

“I look at both as one family and really believe it is an outside entity spending huge sums of money on propaganda to provoke the two countries to be at odds with each other. My prayers are that both countries will come to a positive, peaceful resolution where we can live together in peace.”

Reports suggest that Steven plans to profit from the war. In early August 2022, Steven visited Yelenovka in Donetsk, where explosions killed Ukrainian prisoners of war. It’s unclear which country carried out the attack, with both parties blaming the other for the massacre. 

Denis Pushilin, head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, stated via Telegram that Seagal is working on a documentary about the war in Donbass. Pushilin wrote:

“Today he [Seagal] spoke with the prisoners of war in the Yelenovka detention center. Steven noted that 98% of those who speak about the conflict in the mass media have never been here, that is why the world doesn’t know the truth.”

Pushilin wished Seagal success in his endeavor. 

Seagal received membership in Vladimir Putin’s party in 2021

Steven Seagal has gained fame for his pro-Putin rhetoric, with the actor regularly defending the much-maligned president. 

Seagal and Putin met through Bob Van Ronkel, a producer who’s helped celebrities establish ties with Russia’s top brass. Van Ronkel told NPR:

“I was hired to bring Steven Seagal to perform with his band for another event with President Putin, so kind of was responsible for that introduction, and Steven becoming best friends with him.”

Russia’s elite, including President Putin, use figures from show business to soften their images and legitimize their wealth. Seagal has perhaps done more for Russia’s leaders than any other American celebrity. 

Steven described Russia’s annexation of Crimea as ‘very reasonable’ and described Putin as ‘one of the world’s greatest living leaders.’ Seagal dismissed reports that Russia interfered in the US elections, saying: 

“For anyone to think that Vladimir Putin had anything to do with fixing the election, or even that Russians have that kind of technology, is stupid.”

In 2016, Putin granted Seagal Russian nationality. Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, said Seagal had pushed for Russian citizenship for a while. “He is known for his warm feelings for our country, he never made a secret of it, and he’s also a well-known actor, which gave grounds to make him a Russian citizen,” Peskov added

Ukraine banned Seagal for five years following his comments about Russia’s invasion of Crimea. In 2018, the Russian Foreign Ministry appointed Seagal as a special envoy for humanitarian ties with the United States. 

Following President Biden’s inauguration, Putin requested that Seagal serve as a liaison with the US government, but the administration refused. In late May 2021, Seagal joined Putin’s A Just Russia – Patriots – For Truth party. 

Seagal was reportedly working on a third  Under Siege  film

Steven Seagal is no longer the agile, sharp shooting actor who took the world by storm in the 1990s. He retains martial arts prowess but has gained weight and moves a little slower. In 2015, a video of Seagal taking down opponents at the 2015 International Youth Sambo Tournament surfaced. 

In an interview with TMZ, Seagal laughed off suggestions that the video was fake. “I’ve been doing martial arts all my life, how could it be fake?,” Seagal said. “When you’re about to break someone’s arm or wrist, usually they like to go with it so it doesn’t snap.”

Seagal’s reduced mobility made reports of a third Under Siege film seem a bit far-fetched. In early October 2016, Seagal announced via Twitter that former Navy SEAL Woodie Mister had started working on Under Siege 3’s script. Steven hasn’t posted updates on the project since then, fueling suggestions that Seagal shelved it. 

Sexual abuse and misconduct allegations have hampered Steven’s attempts to reignite his acting career. For instance, Seagal’s stint in the reality show Steven Seagal: Lawman, in which he played a reserve Sheriff’s deputy, ended after ex-model Kayden Nguyen accused Steven of sex trafficking and sexual assault. 

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand confirmed Seagal resigned from his role as reserve deputy Sheriff to avoid an internal investigation into Nguyen’s allegations. He told the Phoenix New Times:

“[Seagal] was facing an internal affairs investigation immediately following the outcome of his lawsuit. And he refused to return to Jefferson Parish, at which time he tendered his resignation.”

After leaving the force, Seagal starred as a fake cop in the short-lived action series True Justice. Since the turn of the century, Seagal has appeared in many direct-to-video films, with his contribution to the movies diminishing as the years go by. 

Critics have suggested that filmmakers involve Seagal in the movies not for his acting skills but for his marketing value. Seagal demands premium pay for the appearances, eliciting suggestions that including him in projects isn’t worth it anymore. Seagal hasn’t appeared in a production since 2019. 

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