MOSCOW - Agence France-Presse
deputy prime minister has said he did not insult Madonna on Twitter ahead of her Saint Petersburg concert in which she spoke in defence of gay rights.
The outspoken lawmaker, Dmitry Rogozin, tweeted a Russian
abbreviation on Wednesday that was widely interpreted as an insult aimed at Madonna.
In his tweet, Rogozin used the letter "b", which can sometimes refer to an offensive Russian
word for "whore." "Every former b. seeks to lecture everyone on morality as she gets older. Especially during tours and gigs abroad," Rogozin tweeted.
"Either take off your cross, or put on your knickers," he added.
After media outlets picked up the comments, the former NATO
envoy said on Facebook on Thursday that he meant no offense and the abbreviation could refer to many things including "goddess" or "ballerina".
"And they immediately linked my comments with the so-called 'Madonna' (goddamn her) even though I did not say a word about her." At her Saint Petersburg concert Thursday, Madonna spoke in support of the gay community in an often homophobic nation. She also irked authorities Tuesday when she called for the release of three members of all-girl punk band Pussy Riot, who are on trial for performing a song against President Vladimir Putin at a landmark Moscow church.