Sir Elton John is still “hopeful” that he will speak with Vladimir Putin to discuss LGBT equality – after Putin ditched their meeting. Sir Elton was embarrassed last year when he fell for a hoax orchestrated by two Russian TV pranksters – who called him pretending to be Vladimir Putin. However, after public fallout from the prank, Kremlin officials confirmed the real President Putin would indeed be willing to meet with Sir Elton – who has an extremely large Russian following.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said:”There had been an agreement that, if their schedules allow, this meeting would take place. “President Putin expressed readiness for this meeting. But this time, the meeting won’t take place, unfortunately.” Speaking via the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the singer said he is hopeful a dialogue will still go ahead. He told fans: “As some of you may know, I had hoped to meet with President Putin on this trip. Although it wasn’t possible, I’m deeply grateful to him for inviting me to discuss some serious issues in Russia, including LGBT rights and HIV. I very much hope we will find the time to meet in the future.”
During his trip, John had met with key figures involved in fighting the country’s growing HIV epidemic – including Natalia Ladnaya, Snr Expert of the Russian Federal AIDS Centre; Evgeny Pisemsky, head of the NGO Phoenix Plus, Andrey Skvortsov who heads the Russian branch of the Int’l Treatment Preparedness Coalition and Maria Godlevskaya of the NGO ‘EVA’ which supports women living with HIV across the country.