Elton John claims he got a call from Vladimir Putin to discuss gay rights

Elton John at a 2001 concert at the Catherine Palace in Moscow.
Elton John at a 2001 concert at the Catherine Palace in Moscow.
Image: AD/CRB via Reuters
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Sir Elton John wanted to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the country’s “ridiculous” gay rights policies, and according to the singer’s Instagram account, his wish was granted today (Sep. 15). But the Kremlin denies that a phone conversation between the singer of “Tiny Dancer” and the Russian leader ever took place.

John, who is a high-profile gay rights advocate, expressed his wish in a Sep. 12 interview with the BBC. ”It’s probably pie in the sky… He may laugh behind my back when he shuts the door, and call me an absolute idiot, but at least I can think I have the conscience to say I tried,” he said.

Russia introduced a law forbidding “gay propaganda” in 2013, effectively sanctioning discrimination against LGBT people. Attacks against members of the gay community are also prevalent in the country, according to Human Rights Watch.

The Kremlin is vehement that the conversation did not happen.

“I don’t know who spoke to Elton John but President Putin did not speak to him,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the BBC. “If the president does get such a signal from Elton John, the president has always been open to discuss any… human rights problems, any issues. He is always ready to clarify the real situation.”