The former Beatle has tea with Russian president Vladimir Putin before playing to 20,000 fans...

PAUL McCARTNEY played a gig for 20,000 Russian fans in RED SQUARE last night (May 24).

The former Beatle met President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin for tea and a guided tour during the afternoon, and sang an impromptu rendition of ’Let It Be’ for him.

Putin admitted he was a big fan of the pop legends, and said that the band had been an inspiration during Soviet years, despite efforts by the Kremlin to discourage Western music.

Reuters reports Putin saying: “It was very popular, more than popular. It was like a breath of fresh air, like a window on the outside world.” The Beatles’ music was not banned, but was hard to get hold of. But the former KGB officer added that Western music was considered “propaganda of an alien ideology.”

McCartney had wanted to play in Russia in the 80’s, but his plans were quashed by the authorities, and he made up for lost time last night with a three-hour set.

McCartney, who is one of only a handful of artists to be given permission to sing in Red Square said Putin seemed to be “a really nice guy”, and said his trip to Russia had changed his perception of the country, and the notions he held when he wrote their hit ’Back In The USSR’.

“I didn’t know anything about it then,” he said. “It was a mystical land then. It’s nice to see the reality. I always suspected that people had big hearts. Now I know that’s true,” he said.