Over the weekend, Steven Seagal headlined the festival Guitars in Formation to convey his gratitude to his adoptive home country of Russia.
The actor, a special envoy of the Russian Foreign Ministry for humanitarian relations between Russia and the United States, was recently awarded the Order of Friendship by Russian President Vladimir Putin for his dedication to the country.
On May 6, the audience could be heard shouting and chanting the star’s name as he made his way onto the stage for his performance.
Seagal, donning an all-black outfit, strutted onto the stage with a guitar and informed the audience of its cultural significance.
After saying in English that he was holding an old, antique Soviet guitar that he had restored, he said it would always remain at Vladimir’s museum.
Before the guitar was carried backstage, Seagal signed it. The movie star switched to a second guitar and sat on a chair onstage to play a series of blues songs for the appreciative audience.
Despite its “anti-fascism” label, Guitars in Formation is a militaristic nostalgia fest with past headliners, including the far-right biker club Night Wolves, which is a favorite of Putin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin presented Seagal with the Order of Friendship medal weeks earlier, citing his “great contribution to the development of international cultural and humanitarian cooperation.”
After receiving an award from Putin, Steven Seagal declared, “I am 1,000,000 percent Russian.”
Even more so than in the past, Seagal has been loud in his support of Putin and Russia ever since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began a year ago.
Earlier this year, Seagal claimed that “[Putin] is one of the greatest world leaders and one of the greatest presidents” and that the U.S. media is propagating “false information” about Putin and the conflict in Ukraine.
Seagal, a dual citizen of Russia and Serbia, has been Russia’s special ambassador to the United States since 2018. Seagal’s present, troublesome ties belie his early days and adoption of Eastern beliefs.
Seagal’s bromance with Putin has stained his legacy in American cinema.