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Russian anti-gay groups call for Elton John concert ban

Parents' group says pop star's support of LGBT people would break anti-gay law

British pop star Elton John is set to perform in Russia Dec 6 and 7. Credit: eltonjohn.com

At least two anti-gay groups are calling on authorities to ban Elton John from performing in Moscow and Kazan in December, The Moscow Times reports.

The British pop star recently said that he wanted to perform in Russia to support the LGBT community.

"As a gay man, I can’t leave those people on their own without going over there and supporting them. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’ve got to go.”

But in an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, a parents' group in the Ural region says it wants John's concerts banned because he "intends to come out in support of local sodomites and break the current Russian law, directed at protecting children."

Another group, the Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods, issued a similar call.

"The statement by this gay guy — Elton John — about his support for gays and other perverts during the upcoming concert in Moscow is an insult to all Russian citizens," Union coordinator Yuri Ageshchev says, according to The Times.

"It also makes a mockery of our recently enacted law against the public propaganda of gay ideas," he adds.

In an interview with NPR published Sept 23, John says he's been going to Russia since 1979 and has always had a great rapport with his Russian audience.

"You know there are a lot of great Russian people out there who are outraged by what's going on," he adds.

John says he's not going to Russia to tell Putin "to go to hell and things like that."

He continues, "That's not the way things are done. You chip away at something, and you hope there will be dialogue and that the situation can get better. You don't just go in there with guns blazing and say, 'Well, to hell with you.' Because they're going to say, 'To hell with you, and get out of the country.' That's not going to solve anything. But if I can go there, maybe I can talk to some people in the administration."

Cher recently said she turned down an invitation from a "big oligarch" to perform at the Sochi Winter Games next year.

“I can’t name names but my friend called who is a big oligarch over there, and asked me if I’d like to be an ambassador for the Olympics and open the show. I immediately said no.”