Cross-Dressing Diva Conchita Wurst to Russia's Putin: Let's Hang Out

VIENNA  — Conchita Wurst would like to hang out with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The bearded Austrian cross-dresser says she would "love to spend at least a week with him" because she wants to understand what it means to "be President Putin."

Russia under Putin has clamped down heavily on gay rights, making the "promotion of non-traditional sexual relations to minors" punishable by law.

Wurst's participation last year in the Eurovision Song Contest was widely criticized by thousands of Russians. The Russian Orthodox Church described her as an "abomination" and after her win, Putin advised her not to flaunt her lifestyle.

But that doesn't seem to faze Wurst, who expressed her wish Thursday at a presentation of her new album. She is co-hosting this year's Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna on Saturday.

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