It would be funny if it wasn't so depressing.
Elton John recently met with the president of Ukraine to discuss LGBT rights:
After this meeting, he publicly offered to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin in order to discuss similar issues, since Russia has a pretty terrible problem with homophobia. Vladimir Krasnov and Alexei Stolyarov, two Russian TV pranksters who known as "Vova and Lexus," jumped at this opportunity—they posed as Vladimir Putin and scheduled a phone call with Sir Elton. Because John is a committed philanthropist who was eager to engage in relations with Putin, he didn't verify that it was actually Putin and launched straight into the phone call. Here is the whole exchange. One of the pranksters poses as Putin, and another pretends to be a translator:
They pay their respects towards each other, talk about starting a dialogue regarding LGBT rights in Russia, and discuss the possibility of Sir Elton coming to a gay pride event in Moscow sometime. Listening to it is kind of depressing, since the whole time you're thinking "I wish this type of phone would actually happen with Russia." John posted the following Instagram after the phone call:
Thank-you to President Vladimir Putin for reaching out and speaking via telephone with me today. I look to forward to meeting with you face-to-face to discuss LGBT equality in Russia.@president_vladimir_putin @ejaf #lgbt#lgbtrights #ShareTheLove
Putin's spokespeople denied the call, and later the pranksters fessed up to the prank. After John found out the truth, he posted the following Instagram:
Pranks are funny.
Homophobia, however is never funny.
I love Russia and my offer to talk to President Putin about LGBT rights still stands. I will always stand up for those that are being degraded and discriminated against.
If this unfortunate incident has helped push this vital issue back into the spotlight, then I am happy to be pranked on this occasion.
@ejaf @president_vladimir_putin #lgbt#lgbtrights #ShareTheLove
Putin, meanwhile, is either 1) Undergoing a major change in values and is realizing that something needs be done about homophobia in Russia as a result of this conversation, 2) Laughing hysterically at the prank because the prospect of something like this actually happening in Russia is a joke to him, or 3) Hunting down the people who impersonated him and planning to subject them to some cruel form of KGB-era torture.