Russian comedians said Thursday that Elton John "immediately believed" he was speaking to Russian president Vladimir Putin when they made a prank call to the pop star.
“We thought Putin is unlikely to call and meet him at least in the near future,” the celebrity prankster Vladimir Krasnov was quoted as saying by Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda. “But Elton John turned out to have been eagerly awaiting the call and so he immediately believed in the reality of the conversation with the people we were pretending to be.”
Krasnov and his accomplice Alexei Sotlyanov recorded the call, which lasted for around 11 minutes.
Krasnov said the star was elated when told Putin was on the line, saying: "Thank you, you've made my day. This is the most great and amazing day and conversation in my life!"
John posted on Instagram following the prank exchange to thank Putin for “reaching out”. The singer has been a vocal critic of Putin’s record on gay rights and had said he wanted to meet with the Russian leader to discuss the subject.
A Kremlin spokesman quickly denied that Putin had called the star, adding that the Russian president would be open to a meeting if a formal request was made.
John was in Kiev earlier this week, discussing LGBT rights with Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, who is currently locked in a standoff with Putin over the Russia-backed rebellion in the east of the country.