UK
25/09/2015 08:35 BST | Updated 25/09/2015 08:59 BST

Vladimir Putin Calls Elton John To Discuss Gay Rights After Singer Is Pranked By Russian Comedy Duo

Vladimir Putin has finally called Sir Elton John to discuss gay rights after the singer was pranked by a Russian comedy duo last week.

Earlier this month, the 68-year-old singer thanked Putin for calling him, and said that he was looking forward to meeting the president “face-to-face to discuss LGBT equality in Russia”.

Yet the Kremlin denied that a call took place and it was revealed a few days later to have been the work of television show hosts Vladimir Krasnov and Alexei Stolyarov, known as “Vova and Lexus”.

elton john

Good did come out of the prank, however, as the Kremlin announced on Thursday that Putin has finally contacted Sir Elton and agreed to meet him.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian media that the president called Sir Elton and “asked him not to feel offended” by the prank.

A Kremlin statement said: “The reason for the conversation was the prank call the world-famous British singer received from someone claiming to be the Russian president.

“Vladimir Putin asked Elton John not to take offence at the bad joke and said that he would be pleased to meet with him if their schedules coincide and to discuss any issues of interest to the singer.”

Earlier this month, Sir Elton posted on Instagram his thanks to Putin for “reaching out” to him.

But comedians Vova and Lexus later told Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda that they were the ones who called Sir Elton.

The two pranksters reportedly said that Sir Elton, who was not aware that he was being duped, had told them their call was the “most wonderful” he had received.

In the phone call, Vova and Lexus posed as Putin and his press secretary Dmitry Peskov, with the fake Peskov translating.

The audio was released on Russia's Channel 1 and Sir Elton can be heard telling the pair it would be a “dream come true” to discuss gay rights with Putin, The Press Association reports.

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They made plans to meet face-to-face in November to talk about “the violence towards LGBT people” in Russia.

Sir Elton reportedly ended the call by saying: “Please thank him for his time and tell him he's made my day. It's a very wonderful moment in my life.”

After finding out that the call was a prank, Sir Elton wrote on Instagram that “pranks are funny. Homophobia, however is never funny”.

He said that his offer to speak with Putin still stands and that he was “happy to be pranked” if this incident thrust the issue back into the limelight.

Sir Elton has openly condemned Putin's attitude to gay rights in Russia in the past, saying that he would like to meet with the president to discuss the his “ridiculous” attitude to equality.

Sir Elton has criticised Putin for telling gay people to “just leave kids alone, please”, ahead of last year's Winter Olympic Games.

Russia's anti-LGBT “propaganda” law, which was passed in June 2013, has been widely condemned as it was seen as effectively legalising discrimination against LGBT people.

Also on the Huffington Post UK:

Russia Gay Rights