Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Putin: Gimme, Gimme, Gimme a private gig

Abba fan: Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin was declared a closet Abba fan last night as a UK tribute band claimed they secretly performed for the hardman Russian prime minister.

Singers with British-based cult act Bjorn Again said he danced a jig and yelled “bravo” after they were flown to Moscow to perform hits like Dancing Queen and Waterloo.

But despite the Kremlin denying he attended, the cult cover group’s founder Rod Stephen said Mr Putin “had a great time”.

He added: “You can hardly have a machine gun in your arms one minute, then turn around and say you like Abba. I think that’s why they’ve tried to keep it secret.”

Mr Stephen (50) said the band — which has played worldwide since forming in 1988 — had been paid £20,000 for the gig.

He added: “We got the call about a year ago. I remember someone on the line saying: ‘Hello this is the Moscow Kremlin’ — I told him to pull the other one.”

Mr Putin, a former KGB spy, was behind a lace curtain with a “glamourous” woman, the band claimed. He added that Mr Putin particularly enjoyed Mamma Mia and Super Trouper.

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