WATCH: Elton John Reveals Why He Performed In Russia, Dedicates Concert To Gay Man Killed In Hate Crime

During his controversial concert in Moscow last Friday, Elton John stated that he felt obligated to perform in Russia because didn’t want the LGBT people there to feel isolated. Paraphrasing lyrics from his nemesis good friend Madonna, the out superstar looked out at his audience filled with both gays and straights and declared that it’s music that brings the people together.

John also revealed that his performance was dedicated to the memory of Vladislav Tornovoi, a 23-year-old gay man murdered in May, who some have called “Russia’s Matthew Shepard.”

The entertainer, who has performed in the country numerous times over his career, posted the transcript of his speech on his Facebook page:

“I have something to say.

I have always loved coming here, coming to this country, ever since I first played here in 1979. I love Russia – I love its art and its culture. But most of all, I love you, the people. You took me to your hearts all those years ago, and you have always welcomed me with warmth and open arms every time I have visited. You have always embraced me, and you have never judged me.

So 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.

Some people demanded that because of this legislation I must not come here to Russia….

But many, many more people asked me to come. I listened to them. I love this country. I want to show them and the world that I care, and that I don’t believe in isolating people.

Music is a very powerful thing. It brings people together, irrespective of their age, their race, their sexuality or their religion. It does not discriminate. Look around you tonight. You see men, women…young and old…gay and straight. Thousands of happy Russian people enjoying music. We are all here together in harmony.

And harmony is what makes a happy family…. and a strong society. 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, peace and health and happiness.

And this show is dedicated to the memory of Vladislav Tornovoi.”


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  • AuntieChrist

    Dame Elton sure can pack em in…I wonder if she got paid in rubles…?

  • Cam

    Did Elton give gays free tickets? Did he ask people coming to the concert if they were gay?

    Oh, he didn’t know if anybody in the audience was gay and he CHARGED for the tickets??? And the concert was planned AGES ago?

    So the real reason is that he booked the concert to make money, he got some backlash and now is lying about it. If he wants me to believe that his only motive was altruism then he is welcome to donate the profit from the concert to gay causes.

  • Merv

    @Cam: Elton put his ass on the line, risking arrest, doing what he did. Are you willing to go to Russia, break the law, and risk the consequences?

  • AuntieChrist

    @Cam: Profit..? I don’t know how it all works but I hope it wasn’t based on ticket sales…I think Dame Elton may be going broke… She has been wearing that same tired jacket for months…Do you know something…? Was she paid a big chunk of money…? If so, then the promoters must have lost a bundle.

  • robirob

    It only shows that Russia’s anti-Gay laws do not apply for the rich and famous. Or the country ist just too afraid to cause an incident by throwing someone like Elton John into jail to make an example of him.

  • Cam

    @Merv: said…

    “Elton put his ass on the line, risking arrest, doing what he did. Are you willing to go to Russia, break the law, and risk the consequences?


    1. That is a lie, they will not arrest somebody that famous.

    2. Elton John doesn’t seem to have even violated their anti-gay law.

    3. I notice that you did not dispute the facts that this concert was planned AGES ago and that John not only made a profit from it, but did not donate ANY of the money to any cause currently helping Russian LGBT’s.

    How convenient for him that he can claim that something that puts him in no danger, and provides him a lot of profit is somehow a help to Russian LGBT’s although not in any tangible way.

    Must be nice.

  • Merv


    “they will not arrest somebody that famous”

    Unless you have inside information, that’s an opinion, not a fact.

    “Elton John doesn’t seem to have even violated their anti-gay law”

    Others have been arrested for less.

    “you did not dispute the facts that this concert was planned AGES ago”

    Why would I? That’s how he makes his living. If he had done what I thought he was going to do and gone there and said nothing, I would have criticized him. I was pleasantly surprised, which is why I’m defending him.

  • Cam


    1. Inside information? Please provide us your information where somebody as famous as John has been arrested for having a non-political concert there.

    2. Thank you for admitting that he planned the concert ages ago and it was all for profit. He is trying to defend himself against going there by claiming that this was to help gays, and yet once again, funny, I don’t see any ACTUAL help being provided to them by this opportunist.

  • xzall


    I don’t think Elton John ever billed this as a charity concert so I’m confused on why he should have comped tickets for anyone? Did Madonna or Lady Gaga comp their tickets in Russia? It was always billed as a regular concert.

    He went to Russia because he has fans there and he spoke out against the horrible propaganda laws. And he did take a chance since the WHOLE POINT of the problem with the law is how VAGUE it is and how anyone can get arrested at any time for any perceived violation. In fact, just prior to him showing up the prominent anti gay politician said Elton John speaking up would be a violation of their laws.

    And by the way, it’s not like his concert will break the bank or anything. I just went to his concert and paid $29 for a 3 hour show. I’ve paid much more for a lot less before.

    And I get that Elton John is a divisive entertainer and the whole Limbaugh thing. But what he did at this concert is more effective than just writing a check if only from the publicity alone and the fact that what he says is on youtube available for anyone to view. The whole point is to make people aware of what’s going on in Russia and he did his part.

  • Sohobod

    You’re from EJ’s PR firm, aren’t you?

  • xzall

    @Sohobod: No. I don’t think Elton John is perfect. I’m not even sure if going to Russia was the right thing to do. But he did do more with the situation than say Roberts did with the Miss Universe pageant.

    He spoke up about what’s happening. Apparently what he said in English was translated in Russian on the screens so the people at the concert could understand what he was saying. It was reported in various Russian news outlets and papers so people are aware of what he said. Some Russian outlets even wrote about his husband and child.

    It’s led to some mainstream reporting of what he said here, which helps educate the people in the US to what’s happening more. And it’s available for viewing on youtube so people can hear what he said. That’s something and to just act like it didn’t take guts to do that is silly since that’s the whole point; that gay people are so oppressed in Russia that they’re afraid to speak up about anything and it’s not like Russia hasn’t jailed musicians before–see Pussy Riot.

    As is being reported he’s actually the first Western celebrity that has spoken out over in Russia against these laws since it’s been enacted. That’s something.

  • Cam


    He claimed that he was doing the concert because he didn’t want LGBT’s to feel isolated.

    In other words he was defending himself against the backlash by pretending that there was some altruistic motive to him going there to perform.

    The fact is, it is money making, it was planned out long ago, and to pretend that there was any altruistic meaning reason for it is just a sad PR attempt.

    the guy took a check to perform at Anti-gay Rush Limbaugh’s wedding, so lets not all pretend that he has any type of integrity here.

  • the other Greg

    Elton’s thoughts:

    “These poor, pitiful Russians lead such drab lives. Seeing Me is the only excitement they have all year long. So it would be cruel of Me to deny them that pleasure. It’s up to Me to be a ray of sunshine for them. … hmm, Bernie can probably make a lyric out of that.”

    And you know what, maybe it’s true? Life in Russia must be pretty grim!

  • tada-no

    I don’t believe in categorical boycott of countries. Elton did not fly to give Putin a personal show but a concert for people. It is important to have a dialogue inside Russia on gay rights. Big stars like Elton whom Russians love can contribute to sway public opinions on gays. A lot of Russians are ignorant on gay culture and their state controlled media and Russian celebs don’t have the balls to speak up for LGBT rights because Putin threatens their careers.

    The fact that he did this speech is commendable. Elton John earned my respect than that Putin rimmer Johnny Weir. It has to start from somewhere. Somebody has to make noise and speeches. Gay celebs and athletes should be visible there. Many Russians now heard the name Vladislav Tornovoi. Many of them do not know about the details of his death because media does not present it as a anti-gay hate crime.

  • Stefano

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ! Elisabeth John, you are the best.

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