Russian Pranksters Say They’re The Ones Behind That Fake Putin Call to Elton John

17 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Elton John agreed to attend Moscow gay pride rally in Vladimir Putin hoax call.

Two Russian TV presenters have admitted pranking the Rocket Man singer by posing as the country’s president during a phone call about gay rights and the conversation has now been broadcast on Russian TV.Apparently the singer was prank called by two Russian comedians pretending to be the President and his press secretary, and now they’ve come forward to reveal their gag.

A curious spat bubbled up in the international media this week when a Kremlin spokesperson publicly denied that Russian President Vladimir Putin had spoken with singer and LGBT advocate Elton John. Sir Elton posted a picture of Mr Putin on his Instagram account on Tuesday night to thank the president for “reaching out and speaking via telephone”. “If both our offices can find a convenient date where we can convene and have a really wonderful discussion … that would be a miracle. Alexei ‘Lexus’ Stolyarov and Vladimir ‘Vovan’ Krasnov told newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda that they had recorded the phone conversation and were planning to broadcast it on Evening Urgant, Russia’s first Western-style late-night talk show. ‘Yes it was us,’ Vladimir said,’ Alexei speaks excellent English so he pretended to be Dmitry Peskov (Putin’s press secretary) and translated our conversation. Towards the end of the conversation the man purporting to be a translator for the president asked whether Sir Elton would attend a gay pride parade in the Russian capital.

We didn’t call him at night – it was 5.30pm Moscow time.’ ‘We thought it wasn’t likely that Putin would want to meet with him and call, at least not so quickly. But it turned out that Elton John was really waiting for this call, and so he immediately believed it really was a conversation with the people who we said we were.’ Elton had wanted to speak to the President about his ‘ridiculous’ attitude towards gay right, so no wonder the singer obliviously told the pranksters ‘this is the most wonderful and lovely in my life.’ Rather than back away from the controversial law, Putin appears to be embracing the hard-line stance by handing out a prestigious award last week to Vitaly Milonov, an unapologetically anti-gay politician who was one of the inspirations for the nationwide ban. Among Milonov’s many attempts to combat a perceived epidemic of homosexuality, he has argued that Western pop stars such as Madonna and Lady Gaga violated the terms of their visas when they spoke out in favor of LGBT rights at their Russian concerts.

John continues to enjoy significant popularity in Russia, even in light of his public pronouncements against the anti-gay law at recent concerts in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Those who would like to condemn reflexively Russia as being far out of step with global trends should pause and consider the slow and inconsistent progress that LGBT rights have made in their own countries. Some observers of contemporary Russia might point out that the country actually has much more pressing issues to confront then attempting to contain alternative sexualities.

One report recently issued by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates that approximately 30 percent of Russian deaths are linked to alcohol abuse. The problem is so vast in scale that Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets this week urged state-owned businesses to do more to combat drunkenness at work. Add to this plunging oil prices and a rapidly deteriorating ruble, and the scene is set for painful economic contractions and the possibility of prolonged recession. His popularity at home shows little sign of wavering in the near term, and the hard-line anti-gay stance may resonate with many Russian who resent aspects of the social transformation that Russia has observed since the fall of the Soviet Union and the loss of the old certainties. From such a position of strength, one would hope that Putin wouldn’t shy away from a free and frank conversation with someone who has the global following of Elton John.

The price of admission for a one-on-one chat, therefore, may be as simple as a quick a cappella duet of “Benny and the Jets.” A small price to pay to air your grievances and make the case for LGBT rights in Russia.

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