The action-movie star Steven Seagal has played a former C.I.A. agent, a hit man and a killer of criminals. On Saturday, Russian officials tapped him for another role: special representative to improve relations between the United States and Russia.
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced the appointment on Facebook, saying his mission will include promoting “relations between Russia and the United States in the humanitarian field, including cooperation in culture, arts, public and youth exchanges.”
The position is unpaid, said Russian officials, who compared the role to that of a United Nations good-will ambassador — a distinguished volunteer who calls attention to the work of the United Nations.
Relations between the two countries have been fraught as United States intelligence agencies have accused Russia of interfering in the 2016 elections and have warned it could do so again in the November contests. The countries have also been at odds over the Syrian civil war and the Russian annexation of Crimea.
Mr. Seagal, who occasionally appears on Russian state television, said he welcomed the appointment, Reuters reported.
“I’ve always had a very strong desire to do all I can to help improve Russian-American relations,” he told the Kremlin-backed television station RT. “I have worked tirelessly in this direction for many years unofficially and I am now very grateful for the opportunity to do the same thing officially.”
Mr. Seagal, 66, could not immediately be reached for comment on Sunday.
Mr. Seagal’s films, which often highlight his martial arts skills, are popular in Europe. In his first big role in the 1988 movie, “Above the Law,” Mr. Seagal played a former C.I.A. agent and in one of his latest films, “Mercenary: Absolution,” he played a contract killer.
In 2014, Mr. Seagal posted a statement on his website to clarify that he had been misquoted by media outlets saying he called Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian president, the world’s greatest leader. He said he had called Mr. Putin “ONE of the World’s Great Leaders.”
He called Mr. Putin a personal friend and expressed a desire to improve relations between the United States and Russia.
Mr. Seagal’s grandparents were Russian Jewish immigrants, according to a biography on IMDB.
In November 2016, the Kremlin announced that Mr. Seagal had received Russian citizenship. Later that month, Mr. Putin, who has been described as a fan of the martial arts that Mr. Seagal practices in his movies, personally presented the actor with a Russian passport.
A Kremlin spokesman cited Mr. Seagal’s “warm feelings toward Russia” and his celebrity status as reasons for the gesture, according to Reuters.
In a video of the event, Mr. Putin and Mr. Seagal shake hands. Mr. Seagal says: “I’ll never, ever falter. Never.”