Sir Elton John got a phone call from Russia but this time, it was from the real Russian president.
Russian President Vladimir Putin recently called the British musician and invited him to meet and discuss gay rights.
But instead of Putin, John apparently took a prank call from two Russian satirists who pretended to be the president and an official interpreter, respectively. John posted a message on Putin’s Instagram account, thanking him for reaching out to him. However, the Russian government claim the reports of their phone discussion were false and that the president did not call him. Later on, a recording of the prank call was aired on Russian TV.
Vladimir Krasnov and Alexei Stolyarov, also called “Lexus,” soon came forward and told BBC and Komsomolskaya Pravda, a Russian newspaper, that they were the ones who tricked the British singer. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced on Thursday that the Russian president spoke to John after a meeting he hosted at Russia’s agro-industrial complex in Semikarakorsk. Peskov told the media: “Putin called and said: ‘I know that you were pranked by the telephone guys. Don’t be upset with them. They’re harmless, although that, without doubt, does not justify them.’ ”
The pranksters were very proud to have done the prank call as they think it paved the way to Putin and John’s meeting.
“We are very proud that we hastened the meeting between the president and Elton John, for which Elton John was ready, but everything was resolved much faster,” Krasnov explained to RIA Novosti, a Russian news agency.
Putin confirmed on Thursday that he is willing to meet John in the future to tackle any issues that the British singer is concerned about, according to Peskov.
The real Vladimir Putin offers Elton John a meeting on LGBT rights http://t.co/fb35QjiSl3
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) September 25, 2015
Russia has been criticized for its laws suppressing gay rights. The country even allows prosecution of people who participate in raising awareness about homosexuality among young people. According to Human Rights Watch, there have been reports of homophobic violence and attacks in the gay community, but Russia has not taken the necessary steps to prosecute the offenders.
In an interview with BBC earlier this month, John called Putin’s treatment of gay people as “isolating and prejudiced.” The singer also commented on Russia’s law prohibiting gay couples to adopt children. Gay propaganda is considered pornography in the country.
At the moment, John’s spokesman, Gary Farrow, refused to comment on the issue.
[Image by Alex Wong, Getty Images]