You might think that actor and martial arts star Steven Seagal and Russian President Vladimir Putin are an unlikely pair. But, as it turns out, the two men are well acquainted and share a lot of mutual respect.
A new initiative that President Putin put forward this week is intended to reinstate a Soviet-style fitness regime called “Ready for Labor and Defense”, Putin wants to encourage his fellow countrymen and woman to get in shape, Steven Seagal style.
The initiative comes following Russia’s unprecedented 33 medals win at the Sochi games, with the leftover cash being used to fund the plan. Putin said about the new program:
“The Olympics and Paralympics have demonstrated that we are again becoming one of the leaders in global sports. We’re discussing what is necessary to … attract the vast majority of our citizens to take part in regular physical training.”
The original “Ready for Labor and Defense” was launched in 1931, and was brought in by the dictator Joseph Stalin, to get Russians in shape so they could work well and fight if need be.
The program was intended to give Russians “Strength and Courage,” “Cheerfulness and Health,” and “Physical Perfection.”
These types of programs usually involved people running, swimming, skiing and climbing ropes, but were discontinued after the Soviet Union collapsed.
But what about the strange connection between Steven Seagal and Vladimir Putin? Well, that’s still a bit of a mystery, but what is known is that Seagal has a huge respect for the Russian President.
Steven Seagal told reporters in an interview last year, about his relationship with Vladimir Putin:
“I want to be polite and say I don’t know him very well. I would like to think I know him well. But I know him well enough to know that he is one of the greatest world leaders, if not the greatest world leader alive.”
Following recent events in Ukraine and the Crimea, Seagal’s opinion is at least open to question.