I have a tremendous amount of friends and family in Russia and former Soviet regions. I have huge respect and affection for Russia. As well as my own country,” Seagal said in a statement. “I always felt that USA and Russia should be best friends and allies,” he added. Seagal, who is a known Republican, previously called Putin “one of the greatest world leaders.” The Russian President has been a practitioner of judo since he was a teenager and has even written a book on the subject. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Seagal “has been insistent for a long time in asking to be granted Russian citizenship,” adding that “he is known for his warm feelings to our country. Seagal was also granted Serbian citizenship in January after offering to establish a martial-arts school in that country’s capital of Belgrade.