Onetime Santa Ynez resident and former action movie star Steven Seagal was named special envoy by the Russian government to promote better relations with the United States. Seagal lived in Santa Ynez during his famously turbulent marriage to actress Kelly LeBrock. He is an admirer of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom he called “one of the world’s great leaders.” Seagal, who parlayed his skills in martial arts into a successful film career, bonded with Putin, who holds a black belt in karate. In 2013, Seagal invested in a Russian gun manufacturing company; in 2016, he was given Russian citizenship. He has been the target of #MeToo-related lawsuits.


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