Putin on a show

Listen: Elton John agrees to go to Moscow Pride parade in hoax call

Audio of the hoax call has been published. The singer says it’s an honour to speak to “one of the most influential people” in the world.

johnputin Elton John and Vladimir Putin. PA PA

Updated at 10.20am

ELTON JOHN AGREED to attend a gay pride parade in Moscow during a hoax call with a Russian prankster who he believed was Vladimir Putin, it’s emerged.

Vladimir Krasnov – who goes under the nickname Vovan – called up the pop star pretending to be Putin after the singer said he wanted to meet the Kremlin strongman to discuss gay rights.

“He was very happy and said that the call had made his day and that it was a miracle that it had taken place,” Krasnov said in the wake of the phonecall.

Audio of the call has been published today.

At the start of the conversation, the singer said it was an honour to speak to “one of the most influential people in the whole world”.

Later, he speaks of his love for Russia and says the phonecall “made my day”.

Russia Insider / YouTube

Krasnov – whose previous victims have included Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko – said he spoke in Russian while a fellow prankster translated his words into English.

Alexei “Lexus” Stolyarov pretended to be Putin’s press spokesman and acted as an interpreter.

On Monday, Elton John posted on Instagram, thanking Putin for “reaching out and speaking via telephone.”

eltonjohn Elton John Elton John

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, however, denied that Putin had made contact with him and later suggested the tricksters apologise to Elton John for the prank.

He is quite a respected and well-liked performer here. It probably was not a very good thing to trick him like this.

The 68-year-old music star said in an interview over the weekend that he would like to discuss Russia’s attitude to gay rights with Putin.

“I’d say, come on. Gay people are not the problem here,” the singer told BBC television.

In 2013, Putin signed off on a hugely controversial law banning the promotion or display of homosexuality in front of minors.

Elton John, who has two adopted children with his husband, the Canadian filmmaker David Furnish, said he hoped to use his influence to promote tolerance.

Contains reporting by AFP and Daragh Brophy. Originally published Wednesday.

Read: Elton John wants to talk to Vladimir Putin about gay rights over a cup of tea>

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