Conchita Wurst – the bearded drag queen who famously won the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest earlier this year – has said that he wants to visit Russia and meet with President Vladimir Putin.
Wurst is the creation of 26-year-old, Austrian performer Thomas Neuwirth. In an interview with the German-language Kurier, Neuwirth, who is gay, said that he felt sure that he could find common ground with Putin if the two spent time together.
‘I wouldn’t refuse a meeting with Putin… I would like to spend a week with Putin, so I can better understand him.
‘What does it mean to be Vladimir Putin? What pressure is he under?’
‘At the end of the day, Putin just wants to be respected. This desire for respect unites Putin with minorities.’
Russia passed a law in 2013 banning any promotion of ‘non-traditional’ family values – a law widely interpreted as a crackdown on LGBT rights and demonstrations. However, Neuwirth said that he was aware of having fans in the country. Indeed, during the Eurovision final, he came third in the Russian televote.
‘This is incredibly beautiful because it shows me that many Russians do not agree with the decisions of their government.’
According to RT, Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press secretary, ‘laughed off’ the possibility of a meeting between the two men.