Russian President Vladimir Putin has huge plans and by that we don’t mean with Crimea. He just announced that a national fitness program from the Stalinist era will be making a comeback and, according to reports, Hollywood actor Steven Seagal will also be involved in one capacity or another in it.First things first: the program, launched in the early 1930s, was called “Ready for Labor and Defense” but is best known as GTO, and was meant to make all citizens fit and healthy to be able to fight for the country or, depending on the case, be strong enough to work in the factory.
GTO was discontinued when the U.S.S.R. fell but Putin is now thinking that it was such a good idea that he’s literally reviving it with money left over from the Sochi Winter Olympics,” Time Magazine reports.
The Olympics also confirmed to the President that Russians are still at the top of their game, physically speaking, so he wants to make that a universal truth for every one of them.
“The Olympics and Paralympics have demonstrated that we are again becoming one of the leaders in global sports. We’re discussing what is necessary to… attract the vast majority of our citizens to take part in regular physical training,” Putin has said on the topic.
According to the report, the national program included training in sports like skiing, swimming, running, jumping and, last but not least, gun shooting and fake grenade throwing. “Tests were set and those who passed were given gold and silver badges that were worn with pride on proletarian chests,” Time says.
It’s not known yet how and where Seagal fits in, but he will most definitely be involved if only in a minor capacity, the Washington Post informs. The actor has a long-standing friendship with Putin and has even called him “the greatest world leader” of our times, so, clearly, if Putin were to ask him to do anything, he’d probably do it.
Perhaps even more telling is the fact that Seagal was recently in Russia to the grand opening of a new sports complex and, with Putin, walked among the flag-waving children as if he was a general surveying his new army. Speculation online has it that he would be “leading the charge” on Putin’s new fitness initiative, which will go national in September.
At the same grand opening, this happened. Putin is all like, “look at my minions, I am the puppet master! [*evil laugh],” but Seagal doesn’t seem entirely convinced.