What happens when one of the most influential homophobic men in the world, Russian President Vladimir Putin, calls one of the most notable gay men on the planet, Elton John, to discuss gay rights? Well we sort of found out…. or at least we thought we did.
“Thank-you to President Vladimir Putin for reaching out and speaking via telephone with me today,” John wrote on Instagram on Monday. “I look forward to meeting with you face-to-face to discuss LGBT equality in Russia.”
Soon after the social media buzz picked up, a Kremlin spokesman quickly shot down such claims, making note that there was never any conversation which took place. This left the internet quite confused. Was the Kremlin lying? Was Elton John lying? Was this some sort of prank?
As it turns out, Elton John was in fact on the receiving end of a cruel prank. Celebrity prankster Vladimir Krasnov, also known as ‘Vovan’, along with his sidekick Aleksey Stolyarov, known as ‘Lexus,’ decided to give John a call in which Krasnov portrayed Putin, while Stolyarov portrayed Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
“We thought Putin wouldn’t want to meet him or call him at least in the nearest future, but it turned out Elton John’s been waiting for such a call,” Krasnov told a newspaper. “That’s why he immediately believed we were exactly those whom we introduced ourselves as. Aleksey speaks perfect English, so he introduced himself as Dmitry Peskov on the phone and translated our conversation. And I was Vladimir Putin.”
“Hello Sir Elton,” Krasnov says. “I was told that you wanted to discuss important problems of Russian reality.”
“That is incredible. I am a musician and a philanthropic person and a humanitarian,” John exclaimed. “I’m not a politician, but I would love to sit down with the President and discuss things face to face, because I think we can solve many issues together.”
While this obviously was a cruel joke, and one which is certain to embarrass John, perhaps it will lead to somewhat of a dialogue, bringing Russian’s lack of gay rights to the forefront of international politics.
“I’d love to meet him,” John said. “I’d love to sit down with him and talk to him. It’s probably pie in the sky — but at least you try.”