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Steven Seagal visits Kalmykia

Steven Seagal visited a poor region in southern Russia on Tuesday. He sampled sheep soup and prayed at a Buddhist shrine.

The action movie star of such films as "Under Siege" and "Exit Wounds" accepted an invitation to visit Kalmykia from its quixotic president, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

During the trip, Seagal was obliged to play some chess - Ilyumzhinov's favorite game.

The millionaire Ilyumzhinov has made a name for himself heading chess' world governing body, suppressing local political opposition and claiming that he has communicated with aliens.

Ilyumzhinov escorted the martial-arts expert on tours of supermarkets in the regional capital, Elitsa, a visit to a youth sporting competition, and a trip to a local Buddhist shrine.

Seagal, who was made an honorary Kalmyk citizen, also spent time at the massive chess museum that Ilyumzhinov has built in Elitsa and made a few moves on a chess board.

The poor, barren, Caspian Sea region is populated in part by descendants of Mongol nomads - many of whom are subsistence farmers or livestock herders.