Steven Seagal, Putin Latest Bizarre BFFs

Action star helping Russian prez promote physical fitness plan

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 14, 2013 8:12 AM CDT

(Newser) – How convenient: New BFFs Kim Jong Un and Dennis Rodman are probably looking for another pair to vacation with, and now they have one ... because Vladimir Putin and Steven Seagal have a similar world leader-washed-up celebrity friendship going on. Putin wants to reinstate a Stalin-era national physical fitness program, and used Seagal to help promote the idea yesterday, Reuters reports. Speaking at a martial arts school, Putin called for the revival of the mass physical education program "in a new, modern format."

Seagal, who is apparently popular in Russia, participated in what Reuters says appeared to be a choreographed stunt, pulling Putin out of a crowd of children who wanted to pose with him, bodyguard-style. The two also had lunch together, Itar-Tass reports. "Putin and Seagal have long been friends, and they regularly meet each other," a Putin rep told reporters. Writes Dan Amira at the Daily Intelligencer, "The days when a washed-up action star could visit an oppressive world leader without anyone noticing are long gone, which means it's only a matter of time before Sly Stallone goes fishing with Robert Mugabe."

Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, and Steven Seagal, left, speak to an athlete as they visit a new sports arena in Moscow, Wednesday, March 13, 2013.   (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, second left, and Steven Seagal, left, visit a new sports arena in Moscow, Wednesday, March 13, 2013.   (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Steven Seagal, front, visit a new sports arena in Moscow, Wednesday, March 13, 2013.   (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Steven Seagal visit a new sports arena in Moscow, Wednesday, March 13, 2013.   (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, second right, and Steven Seagal, right rear, visit a new sports arena in Moscow, Wednesday, March 13, 2013.   (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
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