Steven Seagal Invited to Represent the Russian Weapons Industry: Don’t Do It!

Posted on June 7, 2013

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So apparently Russia would like Steven Seagal to advertise for them.  More specifically, they want the action-movie star to “be the face of its weapons industry as it guns for first place on the world arms market,” reports the Associated Press.  Mr. Seagal has been squired around by the Russian Deputy Defense Minister, Dmitry Rogozin, who took him to tour the historic Degtyarev arms plant (founded 1917).

Russia hardly needs advertising; their weapons sales have been booming.  The Russian press reports that last year, Russia sold $15 billion worth of weapons; this year, there are orders for another $37 billion worth, of which some 30% have reportedly already been fulfilled.  That means 2013 is easily on track to establish a new record for weapons sales for Russia.

Whatever money or ego boost might be involved, I certainly hope that Mr. Seagal does not allow Russia to use him to advertise and promote their weapons, because to do so is nothing like, say, promoting the latest Colt pistol or Winchester rifle; it is tantamount to promoting Russian government foreign arms sales to other governments.  It is the promotion of a Russian national agenda item, bringing in profits as well as bringing more countries in line with Russian influence.

It is worthy of note that the vast bulk of Russia’s weapons exports go through a state corporation which serves as the sole intermediary for Russian imports and exports of defense-related materials.  “Rosoboronexport operates under the strict supervision of the Russian President, the Russian Government and in full conformity with the UN arms control treaties and the relevant international agreements,” says the company website.  And:  “The official status of the exclusive state intermediary agency gives Rosoboronexport unique opportunities to expand long-term mutually beneficial cooperation with foreign partners, provide guaranteed state support of all export-import operations, and strengthen Russia’s leadership in the world arms market.”

Add to this, Deputy Defense Minister Rogozin’s remark:  “If Americans are prepared to promote and support you, that says we’re learning new ways to work on corporate warfare markets.”  And there you have it.  The Russian Ministry of Defense wants a famous American face to promote their agenda.

I hope you are reading this, Mr. Seagal.  Is this really what you want to promote?  Russian leadership in the world arms market?  Russian cooperation with more foreign partners?  Do you really want to represent an entity which is “under the strict supervision of the Russian President?”  Make no mistake; if you think you are advertising for Degtyarev, it is merely a very big player under the auspices of Rosoboronexport.

Steven Seagal is a controversial figure, but he does a lot of stuff I like.  He adopts animals from shelters and advocates  for animals’ well-being.  He is an environmentalist.  He has advocated for the protection of Native American tribal grounds and has supported an orphanage in Thailand.

Don’t mess it up by getting in bed with the Russian government, Mr. Seagal.

Cover photo credit: Gage Skidmore

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