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By John Helmer, Moscow

Announcement just released by the Russian Foreign Ministry, Information and Press Department: “Prominent investigator and martial writer John Helmer has been appointed Special Representative for Russia-Oligarch Cultural Links, Cultural and Historical Heritage in a voluntary capacity. The special representative will perform his duties without any financial remuneration and for the purpose of strengthening direct contacts, mutual understanding and trust between the Russian people and the oligarchs.”

The Ministry announcement continues: “It is expected that in his new role, John Helmer will assist in the development and implementation of various projects for bilateral cooperation in the field of culture, arts, science, education, sports, public and youth exchanges, as well as participate in respective events in Russia and abroad, and maintain contacts with partners in the United States. Moreover, the special representative will be involved in the preservation of memorial sites that are somehow connected with Russian oligarchs, research into and the promotion of the Russian oligarch legacy and other chapters of our common history that are of great interest.”

“We appreciate Dr Helmer’s willingness to use his experience and authority for promotion of the Russia-oligarch public, cultural and humanitarian links as well as for building a more positive atmosphere in bilateral affairs. We wish him every success in this capacity.”

The Director of the Press and Information Department, Maria Zakharova (lead image, right), added  her hope that in the coming months Dr Helmer will also be coordinating his tour of the memorial sites with Steven Seagal, an actor with two Russian grandparents (father’s side, deceased).  

Memorial site tour, November 16, 2016: left to right, President Vladimir Putin; Tsar Alexander II (deceased); Steven Seagal. According to the Kremlin transcript, Putin told Seagal “I cherish all your souvenirs and presents”. Seagal replied: “Never ever falter, never.” Live action:  https://www.rt.com/ Transcript: http://en.kremlin.ru/

A citizen of the US, Serbia, and Russia, Seagal was appointed by Zakharova on August 6 as  Special Representative for Russia-US Cultural Links, Cultural and Historical Heritage.  Seagal,  who has been reported by a Moscow newspaper “to be a relatively close acquaintance of [President Vladimir] Putin partly due to their shared love of martial arts”,  has been called by Kremlin sources “one of the great living world actors.”

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