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Elton John Blasts Russian Government During Moscow Concert

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Despite his earlier claim that he would not speak out against the Russian government during a concert in Moscow, Elton John did just that. During last night's show, John not only condemned the country's homophobic laws but also explained why he chose to perform in the country. He also took a moment to dedicate the concert to a young victim of anti-gay hate.

John posted a transcript of his statement on his Facebook account. It reads in part:

"...I am deeply saddened and shocked over the current legislation that is now in place against the LGBT community here in Russia. In my opinion, it is inhumane and it is isolating. People have demanded that because of this legislation, I must not come here to Russia. But many, many more people asked me to come and I listened to them. I love coming here. I want to show them and the world that I care and that I don’t believe in isolating people....The spirit we share tonight is what builds a future of equality, love and compassion for my children and for your children. Please don’t leave it behind when you leave tonight. Each and every one of you please, keep this spirit in your life and in your heart. I wish you love and peace and health and happiness. And this show is dedicated to the memory of Vladislav Tornovoi."

Earlier this year, 23-year-old Tornovoi was brutally raped and murdered in southern Russia by two friends after they learned he was gay.

Watch video of John speak from the stage of Moscow's Crocus City Hall, AFTER THE JUMP.

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Comments

  1. Bravo. Thank you Elton for speaking out and inspiring those in that crowd, and those watching this, to create a better Russia.

    Posted by: Marc | Dec 7, 2013 4:59:07 AM


  2. Thank you Elton for showing the world the best way to fight homophobia.

    Posted by: Markt | Dec 7, 2013 7:44:50 AM


  3. That was great, now I wouldn't have a problem with Johnny Weir if he would speak out like this during his time there, but I doubt it. He is just there for the $, I think.

    Posted by: Patrick | Dec 7, 2013 7:54:23 AM


  4. I'll give you some credit for not just shutting up, Elton, but you could have NOT gone and said the same things.

    Posted by: Tiger | Dec 7, 2013 8:05:13 AM


  5. Awesome, glad Elton did this. Is he donating proceeds from the concert to LGBT organizations in Russia?

    Posted by: dumbnhung | Dec 7, 2013 8:15:33 AM


  6. @tiger I think it wouldn't mean as much if he just said that stuff in England, he is showing support and entertaining his gay fans while risking jail...

    Posted by: Patrick | Dec 7, 2013 8:17:13 AM


  7. Tiger - Not going would not have said the same thing to Russians. They got to see their idol speak up. Their news agencies will now report that he did it in honor of a Russian LGBT youth and know that the whole world sympathizes with that young man. Not going would not have done that. In your mind it would have done the same thing.

    Posted by: Markt | Dec 7, 2013 8:18:25 AM


  8. @markt I doubt news agencies will report on anything since it might be considered propaganda, but I get your point.

    Posted by: Patrick | Dec 7, 2013 8:23:07 AM


  9. If he had said it in England, it's likely that the thousands at the concert would never have heard. This way they did. And he risked jail, so frankly he's far braver for this than people who whine on these boards about him and Weir. At least THEY are doing something risky, instead of complaining after brunch on a forum.

    Posted by: Joey Y | Dec 7, 2013 8:39:12 AM


  10. This was the right thing to do. Period.

    Posted by: John | Dec 7, 2013 9:04:18 AM


  11. Idiot!

    Posted by: Johnny Weir | Dec 7, 2013 9:05:54 AM


  12. Wow...that was powerful. Thank you Elton John. Thank you for your tireless dedication to raising awareness around the world and for providing services to people living with HIV/AIDS through your AIDS foundation and thank you for this clear message about equality and love. I hope it gets picked up by news agencies in Russia.
    Bravo!

    Posted by: excy | Dec 7, 2013 9:21:06 AM


  13. As long you don't have anal sex in front of a library I agree with you Elton ! But I'm watching you !

    Posted by: Johnny Weir | Dec 7, 2013 9:59:16 AM


  14. I remember just two weeks ago so many people here calling Elton a traitor. What Elton did shows why showing up -- and speaking out to whatever extent you can -- is better than boycotting. It's more important to change the hearts and minds of the people than "send a message" to the government. The younger generations are with us here in the States, but they're homophobes in Russia due to all the cultural conditioning. Boycotting is walking away from the situation. This is a great opportunity for us. People had also tried to persuade singer Josh Ritter to boycott Messiah College in PA because of its anti-gay poliices and beliefs, but he showed up, gave a great concert, and spoke out from a place of love. Boycotting would have done next to nothing. We always have to show up and speak out -- speak our hearts. Not throw glitter or insults. I admire Lady Gaga, but how is boycotting the Sochi games going to change minds?

    Posted by: will | Dec 7, 2013 10:09:20 AM


  15. wondering if he had a simultaneous translator - if not, what he said pretty much fell on deaf ears - or maybe some of the audience got some of it - I've lived in russia - worked at a university - and i can tell you the english ability of the majority of the young folks i dealt with was pretty limited -
    so in essence they heard him up there speaking for a few minutes and most heard/understood not much
    this statement is clearly not for those in the crowd -

    Posted by: j | Dec 7, 2013 10:41:05 AM


  16. There is probably nothing the Russian homophobes would like better than for all gays to stay out of Russia. Good for Elton John for going to Russia and speaking out publicly. I hope Johnny Weir does the same thing using NBC as his microphone. NBC has an obligation to speak out in support of the oppressed gays in Russia. They won't do it unless we pressure them to do it.

    Posted by: Mario | Dec 7, 2013 10:49:33 AM


  17. Yesterday I called Elton John a Quisling.

    Today I retract that statement. I don't care if 'others' don't think he did enough. I Do.

    Mr. John, by far, met the task of standing up and speaking out IN RUSSIA about the LGBT community, family and the humanity and love we should all share with each other.

    For that, I am grateful...he has surprised me.

    Thank you, Elton John!

    Posted by: Jeremy | Dec 7, 2013 11:00:11 AM


  18. He accomplished very little. The Russian media won't and haven't reported on his speech at all thus Russians know nothing other than Elton was in town. He should have never gone to Russia and deprived his Russian sponsors of the millions he made for them. What is it people don't understand here. Elton John went to Russia for the money and certainly not to help the gay citizens. His ego is so big he'll go to any lengths, even if it means riding on the back of the gay community, to put another million rubles in his pocket. He's old, a tired queen who hasn't written a hit song in decades. He does more harm than any other gay celebrity along with Thomas and Weir. They are a sideshow sellout.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Dec 7, 2013 11:13:06 AM


  19. Good for him. I must say I'm surprised, given that he said before that he wouldn't do something like this. He puts Weir and Thomas to shame.

    Posted by: Merv | Dec 7, 2013 11:18:49 AM


  20. I dare you to watch the following YouTube clip. Russians are beating and killing young gay men, laughing and trumpeting their exploits without repercussion. They aren't arrested or held accountable. Elton John's presence is not helping these people one iota.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59WCKaKqjKY

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Dec 7, 2013 11:19:46 AM


  21. @dumbhung,

    I don't know whether Elton John wants to donate the proceeds to Russian LGBT organizations. However, if he does, the organizations will be in danger of large fines, because of the "foreign agent" law.

    Posted by: Victor | Dec 7, 2013 11:29:19 AM


  22. I think Elton brilliantly played the Russian government. His non-committal statements opened him up to criticism at home but guaranteed he would get the visa the Russian Government was "reviewing" whether or not he should be allowed to have. They ultimately decided, in part beacuse of his statements that he wouldn't speak out from the stage, to allow his concerts to go on. Then, when he got there, he DID speak out. He met openly with gay activists, condemned the law as "inhumane" from his stage, and drew global attention to one of the worst of all the anti-gay hate crimes in recent history, and openly advicated for his audience to take that message and spirit back to their communities...which is a criminal act in Russia as that is blatant "propaganda." He risked arrest, however unlikely, and will most assuredly never be permitted a visa to play in Russia again under the current regime, cutting off all future revenue. I wouldn't be surprised if someone trued to ban his music sales there, now. He HAD to be non-commital going in to make sure he got that Visa and the opportunity and he did so at some personal and financial risk, which is more than a lot of people do as they condemn from their comfortable arm chairs and TV studios in their perfectly safe home countries. I am not saying Elton's choice is better than Cher's, but it was valid and it was brave and I had not given him nearly enough credit. Bravo, Elton.

    Posted by: BreckRoy | Dec 7, 2013 11:29:41 AM


  23. Mike Ryan: What horrible logic. Elton's presence isn't stopping the gay-bashings.

    You might as well say that every gay person in the United States coming out to his friends & family isn't preventing gay bashings here either. You're comparing apples with Pet Rocks.

    Posted by: will | Dec 7, 2013 11:30:50 AM


  24. Will: You're wrong. Elton John's presence is not helping to stop the killing and maiming of young gay men in Russia. His presence is filling his pockets with money - money that he will continue to use to live his high profile lifestyle. He's not helping any gay person in Russia. Yes, we all see his grand stand here in America but the Russian people are not seeing much less hearing his disingenuous speech.

    He should have never gone to Russia. He could have easily made the same speech in Paris and still had as much impact on the Russian people as he is having today - which is no impact whatsoever because they don't see or hear his speech. Quit fooling yourselves people.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Dec 7, 2013 11:46:14 AM


  25. Mike Ryan: you're as hard to reason with as talking to Sarah Palin about the desirability of separating church and state. I guess you're fully indoctrinated in your approach.

    Posted by: will | Dec 7, 2013 11:53:57 AM


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