UPDATE: Elton John Plays Moscow, Criticizes Russian Anti-Gay Laws

Posted December 7th, 2013 at 3:48 pm (UTC+0)
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Sir Elton John performs at the Allstate Arena on Saturday, Nov 30, 2013, in Rosemont, IL. (Photo by Barry Brecheisen/Invision for Invision/AP)

Sir Elton John performs at the Allstate Arena on Saturday, Nov 30, 2013, in Rosemont, IL. (Photo by Barry Brecheisen/Invision for Invision/AP)

Sir Elton John went ahead and played at Crocus City Hall in Moscow Friday night, December 6, pausing to explain why he decided to perform.  This full transcript of his remarks is provided on the Elton John 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 [the young man murdered in the Russian city of Volgograd in May 2013, targeted for being gay].”

Cecily Hilleary
Cecily began her reporting career in the 1990s, covering US Middle East policy for an English-language network in the UAE. She has lived and/or worked in the Middle East, North Africa and Gulf, consulting and producing for several regional radio and television networks and production houses, including MBC, Al-Arabiya, the former Emirates Media Incorporated and Al-Ikhbaria. She brings to VOA a keen understanding of global social, cultural and political issues.

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About rePRESSEDed

VOA reporter Cecily Hilleary monitors the state of free expression and free speech around the world.



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