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Two famous Russian pranksters known as Vovan and Lexus told RT that they were behind Tuesday’s sensational international news after making Elton John believe that he had spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin about gay rights.
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“It was a surprise for him. And actually Elton was looking forward to the chat. So we gave him what he wanted, and he was not in any doubt,” prankster Vladimir Krasnov, aka Vovan, told RT in an exclusive interview.
On Tuesday, pop singer Elton John boasted on Instagram that he had been contacted by Russian President Vladimir Putin via telephone, with him promising a “face-to-face” meeting with the singer and gay rights activist to talk about “LGBT equality in Russia.” The Russian president’s press secretary later denied that such a call ever took place, adding that he didn’t know who Sir Elton had talked with.
Well-known Russian phone pranksters Vladimir Krasnov and Aleksey Stolyarov, aka Vovan and Lexus, confessed on Wednesday it was them who had conducted the conversation with Sir Elton, with Vovan posing as Putin, and Lexus – who is fluent in English – pretending to be the presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov, translating during the conversation.
“It is clear that Elton John has never talked to Vladimir Putin and that is why it was hard for him to establish who was really calling,” Lexus explained.
“It was interesting that Elton John had something to say to Vladimir Putin,” the pranksters explained. “Unfortunately Vladimir Putin was busy with important state affairs and was abroad. So we thought why not take this over.”
Pranksters had managed to reach Elton John’s agents “rather quickly,” but getting the star’s direct telephone number, according to Vovan, was “really hard.” The pair recorded the full conversation with the duped pop star, which in total lasted 11 minutes.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the pranksters should apologize to Sir Elton.
“I would recommend them to offer appologies to Elton John, he is a singer who’s respected and loved by the Russian audience. It was not good to hoax him like that,” Peskov told journalists on Wednesday. If a real request is received from the British singer, “the Russian president will be ready to meet him and clarify all questions he has,” the press secretary added.
The two men have long been famous in Russia for making fun of high-profile people, including politicians and celebrities. They have recently organized several prank calls touching upon relations with Ukraine. Posing as the son of Ukraine’s ousted president, Viktor Yanukovich junior, Vovan has asked Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko for an asylum for his father. He had also spoken to a US military commander Kevin McNeely pretending to be Ukrainian interior minister Arsen Avakov, making the high-ranking general promise to help equip Kiev’s National Guard.