Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised Elton John , an artist who used his recent Russian show to express support for the local gay community, and stressed that Russia will welcome all athletes and guests at the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics, regardless of their sexual orientation. Putin’s comments came during a news conference where George Stephanopoulos was the only American journalist present. “Elton John is an outstanding person and musician,” Putin was quoted as saying. “Millions of our people sincerely love him despite his orientation.” Recently, the Russian president has made some more remarks related to treatment of gay people and the refusal by some Western leaders to attend next month’s Sochi Olympics.