A day after John announced on Instagram that the Russian president spoke to him on the telephone, the Kremlin denied it, Russian state news agencies reported today.
"Putin did not have a conversation with Elton John, and most importantly ... we did not get him any suggestions about the meeting," said Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, according to reports. "What was announced in the media, I do not know how authentic it is."
Insisted a rep for John: "Look at Elton’s Instagram page. Says it all. Putin called him."
In 2014, when John, 68, played in St. Petersburg, Russia, he told the fans that he was upset about the country's anti-propaganda laws, which ban the "promotion of homosexuality to minors."
"If I'm not honest about who I am, I couldn't write this music," he explained. "It's not gay propaganda. It's how I express life. If we start punishing people for that, the world will lose its humanity."
On Saturday, John, who was in Ukraine, told the BBC that Putin's attitude toward gay people was "isolating and prejudiced" and "ridiculous."
"I would like to meet [Putin]," he said. "It's probably pie in the sky... He may laugh behind my back when he shuts the door, and call me an absolute idiot, but at least I can think I have the conscience to say I tried."
While in Ukraine, John met with that country's president, and called upon him to support the LGBT community; he also met with business leaders and urged them not to refuse to hire LGBT employees.
"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