BERLIN — Elton John spoke out against anti-gay policies in Russia, describing them as “inhumane,” at a sold-out gig in Moscow Friday. He dedicated the show to the memory of Vladislav Tornovoi, a 23-year-old Russian killed in a horrific homophobic attack earlier this year.
“You took me to your hearts all these years ago, and you’ve always welcomed me with warmth and open arms every time I’ve visited,” he said from the stage. “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.”
The singer went on to justify his decision to go ahead with his two Russian concerts, despite the prevailing anti-gay mood in the country.
“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. 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 Russian people enjoying the music. We’re 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 and peace and health and happiness.”
He concluded by dedicating the show to the memory of Tornovoi, who was killed in the city of Volgograd in May. Tornovoi’s skull had been smashed and he had been raped with beer bottles. A suspect told police he had been killed because he was gay.