The New Face of Russian Arms Makers

Steven Seagal may be best known for his martial arts skills, but in recent journeys to Russia the action move star has expanded his repertoire into a number of unusual roles such as international statesman, gun lobbyist and now as a possible spokesman for a Soviet-era weapons factory.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said Tuesday that the Russian government may ask Mr. Seagal to be the front man in a promotional campaign for a company founded in 1916 that manufactures motorcycles, machine guns, shoulder-fired rockets and surface-to-air missiles.

“Today, a famous actor who has played many different roles connected to the fight against terrorism will visit the Degtyaryev factory – Steven Seagal,” Mr. Rogozin told the Interfax news agency. “We are discussing the possibility with the shareholders of including Mr. Seagal in efforts to promote their brand to an international market and show how they compare to the best of American and Western arms.”

The meeting comes just days after the “Marked for Death” star improbably appeared at a press conference with a group of U.S. congressmen who he had apparently helped broker meetings with Russian officials – including Mr. Rogozin – during a fact-finding mission for information about the ethnic-Chechen suspects in the Boston marathon bombings.

In March, Mr. Seagal met with Mr. Rogozin who asked him to help lobby for abolishing restrictions on the sale of certain Russian weapons in the United States. At the meeting, Mr. Rogozin lauded the “Hard to Kill” hero’s close ties with U.S. officials. Earlier that week, Mr. Seagal joined Russian President Vladimir Putin to help promote physical fitness in Russia. Mr. Seagal has also developed a close friendship with Chechen strongman, Ramzan Kadyrov.

Mr. Seagal’s camp said the actor had no comment about his relationship with Russian officials.

By Lukas I. Alpert, WSJ
Photo Associated Press

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