Vladimir Putin calls on Steven Seagal to promote fitness in Russia

The Russian president demonstrates a fondness for Soviet-era physical education

Published March 13, 2013 9:12PM (EDT)

    (<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-517963p1.html?cr=00&pl=edit-00">cinemafestival</a> / <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Shutterstock.com</a>)
(cinemafestival / Shutterstock.com)

Vladimir Putin, a wannabe action hero, recently called upon real life action hero Steven Seagal to usher in a new Soviet-era fitness initiative to Russia, the Guardian reports.

At a martial arts school outside of Moscow, he said, "I think it would be quite appropriate to recall the positive experience of past decades when the so-called GTO, Ready for Labour and Defence, was in use in our country," referring to a program from the 1930s, founded under Joseph Stalin. "The revival of this system – in a new, modern format – could bring major benefits."

The Guardian reports on Seagal's role at the event:

"Seagal's action films are popular in Russia and he has met the president several times. In what seemed to be a choreographed incident, Seagal rushed into a crowd of children trying to pose with Putin and pulled him out, as if acting as his bodyguard."

Neither Putin, who has a black belt in Judo, nor Seagal sparred -- instead, they watched from the sidelines.

By Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

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Celebrity Health Russia Steven Seagal Vladimir Putin