Russian President Vladimir Putin hails Elton John following concerns over anti-gay law

Putin describes John as an 'oustanding musician' ahead of Winter Olympics

iTunes festival 2013
Photo: iTunes festival 2013
Russian President Vladimir Putin has hailed Elton John as "an outstanding musician" ahead of the Winter Olympics just weeks after the singer spoke out against the country's anti-gay law.

Putin insisted he does not discriminate gays and claims that he is a big fan of the singer. He told AFP: "Elton John is an outstanding person (and) outstanding musician. Millions of our people sincerely love him despite his orientation."

His comments come just weeks after John, interrupted a gig in Russia to voice his concerns over the country's "anti-gay law". The 'Rocket Man' singer said he was "sad to learn" of the law banning "propaganda of homosexuality" and was quoted as saying that it was "inhumane and it is isolating". That same show at Moscow's Crocus City Hall was also dedicated to Vladislav Tornovoi, a 23-year-old man tortured and murdered in the southern city of Volgograd earlier this year for being homosexual.

Gay rights activists have criticised Putin for the recent law which bans the dissemination of so-called "gay propaganda" to minors. But Putin defended the law yesterday (January 19) insisting it "does not offend anyone". He added: "People with non-traditional sexual orientation cannot feel like they are second-rate because they are in no way discriminated against: not professionally, not career-wise, not when it comes to recognition by society," he said.

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