The Sideshow

Putin wants Russians to get in shape. Can Steven Seagal help?

The Sideshow

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Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S. movie actor Steven Seagal visit a new sports arena in Moscow, …

Few action stars could deliver one-liners like Steven Seagal. But can he help inspire a nation of 143 million people to get in shape?

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he was reinstating a Joseph Stalin-era fitness program called "Ready for Labor and Defense.” The program, which will encourage Russians of all ages to become physically fit, will be funded with money left over from the recently completed Sochi Olympics, Time magazine reports.

Putin praised his country's accomplishments at the Winter Games, saying, "The Olympics and Paralympics have demonstrated that we are again becoming one of the leaders in global sports."

But where does the faded action star — who once said, "I'm gonna take you to the bank, Sen. Trent ... to the blood bank" — fit in? 

It's unclear how large a role Seagal would take in the program. Seagal did tour a newly constructed sports complex with the Russian president, according to the Washington Post. Additionally, Putin and Seagal are both martial arts enthusiasts. It's not out of the realm of possibility that Seagal would be asked to lead the charge.

Russian officials have long been enamored with Seagal. In 2013, it was reported that the action star was approached to be the face of the country's weapon industry.  He recently expressed support for Russia's military actions in Crimea, saying in an interview that he considers Putin to be "one of the great living world leaders" and that he "would like to consider him as a brother."

Seagal has also expressed interest in running for governor in Arizona.

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Follow Mike Krumboltz on Twitter (@mikekrumboltz).

 

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