MOSCOW — British pop artist Sir Elton John, performing in Moscow on Friday evening, criticized the Russian government’s recent passage of anti-gay laws, calling them “inhumane” and “isolating.”
In a statement read on stage, John dedicated his concert to the memory of Vladislav Tornovoy, a 23-year-old Russian man who was beaten, sodomized with a beer bottle, and murdered earlier this year after his attackers allegedly learned he was gay.
“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. 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. 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.
“And this show is dedicated to the memory of Vladislav Tornovoy.”
Ealier this year, John has said he wanted to perform in Russia to support the Russian LGBT community.
“As a gay man, I can’t leave those people on their own without going over there and supporting them. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’ve got to go,” he told British media.
In addition to the Moscow performance, he is scheduled to perform in Kazan on Saturday.