American mixed-martial arts (MMA) fighter Jeff Monson has joined the roster of foreign celebrities that have been naturalized as Russian citizens.

Monson, 47, was the first American to receive a passport from the Moscow-backed separatist Luhansk People’s Republic in 2016. The former world wrestling champion and self-proclaimed communist is also a passport holder of the breakaway Republic of Abkhazia.

President Vladimir Putin awarded Monson Russian citizenship in a decree published on the government’s website on Tuesday.

“I felt deep down right away that this is my home,” Monson wrote in an op-ed for Newsweek in early 2016 after filing for Russian citizenship.

Past high-profile figures to become naturalized in Russia include Hollywood action movie star Steven Seagal and French actor Gerard Depardieu.
Putin Grants MMA Fighter Jeff Monson Russian Citizenship

Monson does indeed identify as a Communist.

Since moving to Russia, he joined the Communist Party of Russian Federation there (still number two political block in the nation), here with CPRF leader Gennady Zyuganov, to his left, at lead of a procession on Red Square to lay flowers to Lenin's Mausoleum


He has become one of the Party's public faces and been involved in their projects around the country


He has also been supporting all the pro-Russian breakaway republics.

Here, in 2016, with Raul Hijimba, the president of my partially recognized homeland Abkhazia, who indeed gave him honorary citizenship (for helping fund a new MMA school in the republic and participating in a major tournament there)


And here, receiving a passport of the Lugansk People's Republic in Donbass, from its then leader Igor Plotnitsky

Plotintsky's since been deposed in a coup and fled to Russia: Armed coup in Donbass

But Monson, I understand, is still very much a welcome guest in Lugansk (and Donetsk) lol

He also generally helps promote sports and physical activity among youth.

Here, visiting kids at a martial arts school


Him and Russia's biggest MMA superstar Fedor Yemelianenko, his old arch-rival, are now best pals, supposedly

(I heard that Fedor, a devout member of the Orthodox Church with no love for the Commies, in fact thinks Monson is a weirdo and a nutjob, but is forced to pretend to be friends with him in public, because Putin wants him to, because any foreign celebrity must be rewarded for moving to Russia haha)

Also, he competed on Russia's version of "Dancing with the Stars" lmao


Now, I guess, Putin decided he has finally earned his red passport. Congrats to him hehe