Russian President Vladimir Putin met Paul McCartney in the Kremlin Saturday.
"You are loved here [in Russia] said Putin, while greeting the legendary singer.
McCartney will perform today on Red Square.
"Once you and The Beatles were very popular in this country. Your music was like a gulp of freedom." In reply to Paul McCartney's question whether The Beatles were forbidden in the USSR Vladimir Putin said that "it was not forbidden but the fact that you would not have been allowed to stage a concert, for example in Red Square in the 1980s is meaningful." Vladimir Putin explained to his interlocutor that at that time a lot of things were "overly ideologised" in the USSR. The president said that "it was considered incorrect to stage a concert at that time, as they considered that The Beatles' style was beyond the adopted ideology." Vladimir Putin asked the opinion of Sir Paul McCartney of St Petersburg where the singer had stayed the day before.
"It is a wonderful and very beautiful city," McCartney said.
He thanked the President for the invitation to visit the Kremlin.
Vladimir Putin congratulated Paul McCartney on the diploma of honorary professor of the St Petersburg's Conservatoire awarded to him.
Paul McCartney stated that "it is a great honour to visit the school where Tchaikovsky studied." Heather McCartney, Paul's spouse who also attended the meeting, wondered if the Russian President knew about the campaign to forbid anti-personnel mines which they were carrying out together with her husband.
Vladimir Putin replied: "Yes, I know. It is a very good area of activities." In reply to Heather McCartney's question whether Russia would join that campaign, the Russian president said that "everything aimed at preservation of human lives is worth attention." Vladimir Putin stated that "in order to resolve that issue at the state level it is necessary to reach agreement at the diplomatic level and at the level of military experts."