Vitaly Milonov, Russia’s crusading anti-gay lawmaker and activist for “traditional values” who was just awarded a medal “For Service to the Motherland” by President Vladimir Putin for his long “years of honest work,” received the blow of his life today when Mr. Putin’s press-secretary said that his boss had nothing against personally meeting with Sir Elton John to discuss gay right situation in Russia, as long as the meeting is arranged through verifiable channels.
(A prank on Mr. John in which he believed he was speaking to Mr. Putin about gay rights has been widely reported).
“I have no doubt that if such a wish will be expressed, the President would be eager to meet with anyone, including Elton John, to give answers to all the questions that he might have. But so far we have not received such signals [about the meeting],” said Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press Secretary.
Vitaly Milonov furiously opposes such a development. “Nobody was looking for the special meeting with Elton John. It was the singer who stated his wish to meet the President,” he said. Just two days ago Mr. Milonov himself challenged Sir Elton John to public verbal debates on the issue of gay rights in European countries. Representative of the pop star said that Sir John had no interest in debating with Mr. Milonov.
Some people do not support the idea on the other end, too.
The founder of the Moscow gay rights movement, Nikolai Alekseev, said that in the debate on this topic the politicians who can somehow influence the situation should be involved, not pop stars.
“The position of many stars is already known, but the issue [of gay rights] should be resolved at the political level or the level of the human rights – he said. – I’m much more interested in the meeting with President Vladimir Putin of the Luxembourg prime minister Xavier Bettel, that is going to take place soon. Such a meeting would be much more effective. The Prime Minister of Luxembourg is openly gay and got married just last year”.
Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomoletz did a survey of its readers on the issue if President Putin had to personally meet Elton John. 1,732 people took part in it. About 3.5 percent answered positively but only with the condition that Sir Elton John would take Russian citizenship first. Almost 39 percent said “Yes, because this meeting would mutually enrich both of them.” More than 10 percent said “No, because it would hurt the reputation of Elton John.” 22.5 percent said “No, because it would hurt the reputation of Vladimir Putin.”
And more than 25 percent said “No, because Vitaly Milonov will not survive this.”
In the phone prank that set off the ruckus, the 68-year-old performer behind “Daniel,” “Rocket Man,” and “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” became a victim of was of the famous Russian phone pranksters Vladimir Krasnov, better known as Vova, and Alexei Stolyarov, who calls himself Lexus.
“Yes, it was us, admitted Vladimir Krasnov to Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. – Alexei` s English is excellent, so he introduced himself as “Dmitry Peskov” and translated the conversation. And “Vladimir Putin” was me. We called Elton John not at night, as they said in the media but at 17.30 Moscow time. He at that time was in London at his recording studio”.
“We thought that Putin would unlikely to want at least in the near future to meet with him or to call him, but it turned out that Elton John was waiting for that call, so he immediately believed in the reality of a conversation with the people that we represented. He said, “Thank you. You made my day. This day and this conversation was the most wonderful and amazing in my life”.
The Russian answer to The Jerky Boys have now posted the entire 11-minute telephone conversation with Elton John.