Vladimir Putin threatened Madonna with jail for promoting 'gay behaviour' in Russia

The singer also said she was the target of death threats after she went against the country’s controversial anti-gay laws

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The Independent Online

Madonna labelled herself a “freedom fighter” after she revealed that she defiantly went ahead with a string of concerts in Russia last year, despite being told by Vladimir Putin’s government that she would be thrown in jail for ‘promoting gay behaviour’.

The singer also said she was the target of death threats after she went against the country’s controversial anti-gay propaganda laws.

Speaking at the Amnesty International Concert in New York on Wednesday, during which the Queen of Pop took to the stage with Pussy Riot, she said:

"Needless to say, I did not change one moment of my show. 87 of my fans were arrested for gay behaviour – whatever that is."

Aligning herself with the feminist punks, who were jailed for hooliganism and religious hatred after they staged a protest performance in a Moscow cathedral, she said: “The right to be free, to speak our minds, to have an opinion, to love who we want to love, to be who we are – do we have to fight for that?


“I’ve always considered myself a freedom fighter since the early ‘80s when I realised I had a voice and I could sing more than songs about being a material girl or feeling like a virgin.

“And I have definitely paid for and have been punished for speaking my mind and for sticking my neck out for this kind of discrimination. But that’s OK.”

“I’d like to thank Pussy Riot for making pussy a ‘sayable’ word in my household,” she added. “Now, my eight-year-olds say it all the time.”

Her comments came after British viewers were left shocked by the violent vigilante scenes in Channel 4 Dispatches documentary Hunted. The show exposed how gay Russians are routinely sought out and tortured by gangs in the former Soviet state.

The Sochi Winter Olympics, which started in Russia yesterday, has also raised questions about the ethical nature of the country’s treatment of homosexuals.

Reports today suggest that famously faux-lesbian pop duo Tatu will performing during the Opening Ceremony this evening.

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