- By John HudsonJohn Hudson is a senior reporter at Foreign Policy, where he covers diplomacy and national security issues in Washington. He has reported from several geopolitical hotspots, including Ukraine, Pakistan, Malaysia, China, and Georgia. Prior to joining FP, John covered politics and global affairs for the Atlantic magazine’s news blog, the Atlantic Wire. In 2008, he covered the August war between Russia and Georgia from Tbilisi and the breakaway region of Abkhazia. He has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, BBC, C-SPAN, Fox News radio, Al Jazeera, and other broadcast outlets. He has been with the magazine since 2013.
Action movie star, fitness guru, animal rights activist, and Dalai Lama enthusiast Steven Seagal may be adding the job title “gun lobbyist” to his name if Russia has its way.
Today, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin formally asked the martial arts star to lobby for fewer restrictions on the sale of Russian rifles inside the United States.
“Your connections within the American establishment could help resolve this issue,” Rogozin told Seagal, according to The Moscow Times.
The Kremlin is for real:
Rogozin said his question concerns a 1996 U.S. government regulation allowing Russia and other former Soviet countries to export hunting and sport rifles to the United States.
Russia sees the regulation as discriminatory, since it only allows it to export weapons made before 1996 and because it does not cover all types of rifles.
“Those restrictions are detrimental for our country,” Rogozin said.
Apparently the Russian riflemaker Izmash sees an opportunity to boost its bottom line with fewer restrictions, as the United States already imports 80 percent of its sporting and hunting rifles. Not a bad economic inroad.
If the idea of the Under Siege star lobbying on behalf of the Kremlin paints a funny image in your head, it’s not the first time the pair have teamed up. Just last week, Seagal appeared with Vladimir Putin to support a plan to improve physical fitness in Russia. According to the Guardian, “Seagal’s action films are popular in Russia and he has met the president several times.”