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.”
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at email@example.com.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.| The Cable |