Two Russian pranksters can now say they got one over on Elton John. Earlier this month, after John met with Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko to talk about Ukraine’s issues with gay rights, the singer said he’d been phoned by Russian president Vladimir Putin, who in turn offered to meet with John to talk about Russia’s similarly troubled record. John, understandably, was pretty jazzed about the whole thing, even taking to his Instagram to boast about the gracious call. Unfortunately for him, Vladimir Krasnov and Alexey Stolyarov, who are well known in their country, have admitted to pretending to be Putin and his press secretary Dmitri S. Peskov for that phone conversation with John, going on late-night comedy and variety shows in Russia and playing clips of the call. As Stereogum notes, the call’s not actually very funny, though if it were, John probably would have seen through the ruse.
Though it doesn’t look like Krasnov and Stolyarov are going to get punished for their shenanigans, something good has thankfully come out of the whole affair. Peskov now says Putin will gladly meet with John to talk about Russia’s LGBT policy, so at least that might happen. John also said on Instagram that he hopes the whole incident will help keep LGBT issues in the spotlight in both Russia and the Ukraine.