How great would this be if it really happened? Via Max Seddon, FT’s Moscow correspondent:
Steven Seagal is prepared to resolve Vladivostok’s political crisis and step in as governor. “I represent the interests of President Putin,” he says.
And here’s the linked story, after a pass through Google Translate (Vladivostok is the administrative center of the Primorsky Krai region):
Segal announced his desire to become the governor of Primorsky Krai
VLADIVOSTOK, September 26 (Itar-Tass) – RIA Novosti. The actor, businessman and special representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Russian-American humanitarian relations Stephen Sigal said that he would like to become the governor of Primorye.
“With pleasure, I represent the interests of President Putin,” the actor replied to the question of whether he wants to lead the region.
Seagal, who received Russian citizenship in November 2016, reported that his ancestors on the paternal line “from here.” “Every time I want to learn Primorski Krai, see more and become your governor,” added the American actor who arrived in Vladivostok within the framework of the international film festival of the Pacific Rim countries.
The Primorye Electoral Commission, last week, on the recommendation of the CEC of Russia, found the results of the elections of the head of the region invalid. Vrio Governor Andrei Tarasenko said that he believes the decision to cancel the election results is correct. The candidate from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Andrey Ischenko said that he will challenge the results in three territories – in Ussuriysk, Artem and Nakhodka. He noted that the lawsuits are ready, and some of them have already been filed. The date of the next elections in the region has not yet been appointed, but it is expected that the deputies can approve it until the middle of October.
“Meridians of the Quiet” – the traditional annual festival of cinema in Vladivostok, this year it is held from 21 to 27 September. The president of the festival was the director and producer Alexander Rodnyansky, the main jury included Russian director Alexei German Jr. and Filipino producer Bianca Balbuena.
Over two million people live in Primorsky Krai, which borders North Korea.
Disappointingly, Seagal’s agent later said the actor had been “half-joking”:
Steven Seagal was granted Russian citizenship in November 2016 under a law that allows foreigners to be naturalized in recognition of their services to Russia or their general achievements.
The actor also holds US and Serbian citizenship and thus cannot actually run for a governor’s office, according to Russian laws. While the whole statement turned out to be a “half-joke,” Russian political parties took it quite seriously.
The Communist party (KPRF) said it already has its own candidate for the post of region’s governor, yet it was ready to cooperate with Seagal. Parliamentary spokesman for the communists, Ivan Melnikov, suggested that the martial arts icon might actually have a few ideas on cultivating sports and healthy lifestyle in the region.
Liberal Democrats (LDPR), in turn, said that Seagal was an unlikely fit for the governor’s post, but might be able to lead a “popular militia” of sorts in the region instead. The party, however, was quite suspicious over the statement, and guessed correctly it was a “joke.”