Mar 30, 2016

    Putin to meet singer John in Moscow?


    RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin could meet British singer Elton John when he visits Russia in May if room can be found in the two men's schedules, the Kremlin said on Monday.

    Mr Putin telephoned John in September to say he would be ready to meet for a chat after the entertainer requested a meeting to discuss his concerns about gay rights in Russia.

    "When they spoke by telephone several months ago, they agreed... they will meet during Elton John's stay in Moscow," Mr Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said in a teleconference with journalists.

    "Such a meeting cannot be excluded, if there are precise dates of his (John's) stay here and if the president's working schedule allows it," he added without elaborating.

    John, 69, is set to give a concert in a high-end Moscow shopping and entertainment centre on May 30 as part of his world tour.

    Before going to Moscow, he is expected to give a concert at an ice palace in St Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city and Mr Putin's birthplace.

    Western states and human-rights activists have criticised Russia for its treatment of gay people. John has previously spoken out against a 2013 law banning the dissemination of "gay propaganda" among young people.

    Mr Putin has said he is not prejudiced against gay people.