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Two notorious Russian comics posing as President Vladimir Putin and his press secretary fooled British singer and gay rights advocate Elton John with a prank telephone call.
During a visit to Ukraine to highlight he plight of the LGBT community in the region, John had expressed a wish to talk with Putin about Russia’s anti-gay laws.
Within days pranksters Alexei “Lexus” Stolyarov and Vladimir “Vovan” Krasnov – who have pranked a host of Russian and Ukrainian celebrities in the past – were on the line to the British singer.
Krasnov – who has his own YouTube channel – played the president and Stolyarov, who speaks good English, played Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary.
Although Russians familiar with the Kremlin chief and his assistant would not be taken in by the pairs’ voices, John was telling “Putin” that “it is a great privilege to be able to talk to one of the most influential people in the world; it is amazing.”
John is respectful and thoughtful during the 11 minute conversation, telling Putin that his trip to Ukraine was not “political” but designed to support the LGBT community there and that he would “love to sit down” with Putin “to discuss things face to face.”
The two agree to a meeting in Russia in mid-November and “Putin” even suggests that John take part in a Gay Pride parade that could be organized to coincide with the event.
“I would like to do that, that would be fantastic,” John says, stressing that “I am not coming in to cause trouble, I am coming in to talk on a one to one level because I love Russia.”
At one point a clearly impressed John jokes that he has “Obama on the other line.”
The call ends with “Peskov” urging John to publicize the call on social media, which the singer did with a post to his Instagram account.
The two pranksters were guests last night on Russian television’s late night Ivan Urgant show, where the host joked with the pair asking if they were gay and asking how they had obtained the singer’s number.
They told him that was a “trade secret.”
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