The pair’s meeting has been put on hold for now given their busy schedules, making it impossible for the singer and president of Russia to find an appropriate time to meet. “We were in correspondence with [Elton John] a couple weeks ago because there had been an agreement that, if their schedules allow, this meeting would take place,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “President Putin expressed readiness for this meeting. But this time, the meeting won’t take place, unfortunately.”
John declined to comment further on the delayed meeting.
John and Putin’s plans to meet started in September after a prankster called John and convinced him he was speaking with the Russian president. After the call went viral, John turned news of the prank into a plea for LGBT rights in Russia. “Pranks are funny. Homophobia, however, is never funny,” the singer wrote on Instagram. “I love Russia and my offer to talk to President Putin about LGBT rights still stands.”
Afterwards, Peskov revealed to the press that a real call had taken place between John and Putin following the prank, apologizing on behalf of the pranksters and offering the meeting that is currently postponed. “He was so nice and apologetic,” John told Rolling Stone of the call. “And couldn’t have been friendlier.”
John has long spoken out against the rampant homophobia and violence against the LGBT community in Russia. He addressed the issues during concerts in major cities around the country, including a 2014 show in St. Petersburg. He is set to perform in St. Petersburg again on May 28th and Moscow on May 30th during the tour in support of his latest album Wonderful Crazy Night.