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Putin performs at charity concert

Vladimir PutinSinging on stage for the first time may be a daunting experience, doubly so if the audience is full of Hollywood stars, but that did not stop Vladimir Putin on Friday.

The Russian Prime Minister made his singing debut at a charity gig in St. Petersburg in front of a star-studded audience playing his favourite song on the piano and singing a jazz classic.

Love and spies

When he was called onstage by one of the presenters, Vladimir Putin objected a little before agreeing to sing a note or two.

"Like the vast majority of people, I cannot sing or play, but I love doing it. You will have to endure," Putin warned the famous guests before taking the stage, RIA Novosti reported.

He played the Russian song Where the Motherland Begins on piano, a song he said he sang with Anna Chapman and her spying colleagues soon after they returned to Russia.

Putin then sang Blueberry Hill with a jazz orchestra. The latter song was made famous by artists as Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino, Elvis Presley, and many others. It may have been one of the songs from the PM's English lessons, as he described learning the language through song in his recent Larry King interview on CNN.

The glamorous audience thanked Putin for his efforts with a standing ovation.

For the children

The money raised at the charity event will be donated to cancer centers to buy diagnostic equipment, medical instruments and medicine.

Rumour has it that tickets to the charity evening in St. Petersburg's Ice Arena were going for as much as $15,000.

Putin was not the only entertainer at the gig, as during the show Gerard Depardieu read Yesenin's poetry, and Kevin Kostner performed a country song.

Sharon Stone, Mickey Rourke, Monica Belucci and Vincent Kassel were also at the event.

Musical weekend for the president

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev also went to a concert on the weekend. He attended Elton John's gig in Moscow on Sunday and then tweeted "Just been at Elton John's concert. Very serious work, of very high quality - almost three hours of live music."

The singer had earlier invited the president to his St. Petersburg gig on Monday evening, but the rock-loving politician apparently couldn't wait that long.


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