Steven Seagal Helps Vladimir Putin Promote Fitness Plan

The unlikely pair opened a new martial arts center together

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image: Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S. movie actor Steven Seagal visit a new sports arena in Moscow, Wednesday, March 13, 2013.
Alexei Nikolsky / AP/RIA-Novosti

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S. movie actor Steven Seagal visit a new sports arena in Moscow, Wednesday, March 13, 2013.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has enlisted Hollywood action man Steven Seagal to help him  promote a return to Soviet-era fitness.

The unlikely pair opened a new martial arts center outside Moscow on Wednesday, reports Reuters, to kick off Putin’s attempt to bring back a mass physical training program first introduced in the 1930s under Joseph Stalin.

The revival of the GTO system (an acronym in Russian which translates as “Ready for Work and Defense”) could bring major benefits to the country, said Putin, according to a transcript published on the Kremlin’s official website:

“Children should become strong, they should be healthy, love sports and have an opportunity to practice them, should know how to defend themselves, their loved ones, their family. Ultimately, they should be able to defend their motherland.”

(MORE: Putin’s Ph.D.: Can a Plagiarism Probe Upend Russian Politics?)

Wednesday’s event featured a band playing Soviet marches and students of the Sambo-70 martial arts school dressed in Russia’s national colors. As children tried to pose for pictures with the president, Seagal rushed into the crowd and pulled him out as if he was his bodyguard, in what was apparently a staged incident, as Reuters reports.

“Kids, remain calm, it’s a great honor to take pictures with the president of Russia,” said the announcer.

(MORE: Vlad vs. Wild: Russia’s Vladimir Putin Admits His Crazy Wildlife Stunts Were Setups)

The presence of Seagal, whose action films are apparently popular in Russia, is a typical Putin gesture, writes the Christian Science Monitor. The president seems to enjoy the company of Western celebrities — last month he bestowed Russian citizenship on the French actor Gerard Depardieu.

“Putin and Seagal have long been friends, and they regularly meet each other,” Putin’s spokesman told reporters, according to the ITAR-TASS news agency.

MORE: Vladimir Putin Enlists Boyz II Men to Boost Russia’s Declining Birth Rate

9 comments
ArthurRK
ArthurRK

To this day, many people still love Seagal for his classic action film style. One of his most recent flicks, Deadly Crossing, drew me in because of just that. Seagal fan's should be keeping their eyes peeled for its RedBox release later this month! 

MadDunc
MadDunc

@ArthurRK  Thanks Arthur! I saw that 'Deadly Crossing' got released on the 14th. Ill have to check it out!

colinklein09
colinklein09

@ArthurRK I agree, I also saw Deadly Crossing and found it enjoyable simply because it was packed with that classic over-the-top action. You can say I've had a long-standing movie soft spot for Seagal films.

GailIrish
GailIrish like.author.displayName 1 Like

Steven Seagal  Is A Famous Actor And Fighter As Is His Cousin Equally Cool To California Women & Men, I Sincerely Doubt If The Seagals Would Go To Russia To Do Anything For There People, They Are Busy In America Working And Playing With Their Families! We Wish Them All Peace & Tranquility & A Righteous Life Forever Our Seagals!     

jamarch2
jamarch2

Didn't Russia just get DVD players? They're behind the times, to Seagal is the pe rfect action fitness star for them. It just goes to show Seagal's character, Putin is his kind of guy. Birds of a feather, a couple of delusional bullies. They deserve each other.

jamarch2
jamarch2

Seagal is a "has been" in the USA, so why not reinvent himself in Mother Russia? Didn't

jamarch2
jamarch2

Seagal is a "has been" in the USA, so why not reinvent himself in Moth

USM-Valor
USM-Valor

Putin picked the most out of shape, over-the-hill action hero ever to kick start his fitness initiative? This isn't Weight Watchers, is it?