Why did Russia appoint actor Steven Seagal as an intermediary figure in US-Russo relations? What is this role and what are Seagal's responsibilities? I know that Steven Seagal was recently granted citizenship in Russia in 2016, however, I'm curious about any underlying motives for appointing Seagal in this unpaid position? What political angle is Putin trying for?
Same political angle that UN does for appointing Angelina Jolie something or other, or US Congress to invite Matt Damon to discuss education policies.
Celebrity brings positive PR.
Seagal personally brings one more possible niche benefit (aside from main benefit of him being available to appoint) - he's been a "pro-environmental" celebrity, which means he might be slightly more positively viewed by political left than, say, "Humvee" Schwarzenegger.
Found the original announcement (after screwing around searching for Russian wording, the blasted thing ended up being posted in English on Facebook, of all places. Bloody millenials and their bloody social networking. Even Russian MID is succeptible). This covers the role and responsibilities.
Prominent actor, film producer and musician Steven Seagal has been appointed Special Representative for Russia-US 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 and American peoples.
It is expected that in his new role, Steven Seagal 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 in the US that are somehow connected with Russia, research into and the promotion of the Russian America legacy and other chapters of our common history that are of great interest for both nations.
We appreciate Mr Seagal’s willingness to use his experience and authority for promotion of the Russia-US 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.
As you can see the "why" is partially answered here - "willingness and authority".
Also, RT article on the topic (which can be considered vetted by Russian government to an extent) supports my original assertion about Jolie:
Уточняется, что в международной практике должность Сигала можно сравнить с работой послов доброй воли ООН.
It is clarified that in international practice the position of Seagal can be compared with the work of the UN Goodwill Ambassadors.