A famous duo of Russian comedians said they’re the ones who called Elton John while impersonating President Vladimir Putin and his press secretary, the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper reported.
Vladimir Krasnov and Alexey Stolyarov, who go by the stage names Vovan and Lexus, respectively, prank-called John after the openly gay British pop star said in a recent interview he’d like to talk directly with Putin about gay rights in Russia.
John told the pranksters that their conversation was “the most wonderful in my life,” according to Stolyarov’s account of the prank published Wednesday.
“We thought that Putin probably wouldn’t want to meet with him or call in the near future, but it turned out that Elton John was really waiting for this call, so that’s why he believed so quickly that the conversation was real,” Stolyarov told the newspaper.
The comedic duo, set to debut a recording of the prank on late-night comedy show Vecherny Urgant (Evenings with Ivan Urgant), is famous for prank-calling celebrities and politicians, including former Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili, Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, the newspaper reported.
A post on John’s Instagram page on Monday said he thanked Putin for “reaching out and speaking via telephone with me.”
“I look forward to meeting with you face-to-face to discuss LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) equality in Russia,” the post said.
Putin’s spokesman denied that such a conversation happened, but he added that the Russian president would be willing to talk with John about any issues he may have.
John had told British broadcaster BBC that he wanted to talk with Putin about his concerns over the liberty of gays in Russia, where it is illegal to promote homosexuality in public if minors may be present.
“It’s probably pie in the sky, but I’d love to meet him and say, ‘come on, let’s have a cup of tea, let’s talk about this,'” he told the BBC in an interview published Saturday.
“He may laugh behind my back when he shuts the door, and call me an absolute idiot, but at least I can have a conscience, to say I tried,” the singer said.
John met Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev on Sunday to talk about “the importance of legislative changes to support LGBT rights” and ask him to pass tough laws against discrimination and “hate crimes based on sexuality and gender identity.”