The meeting took place at the Fireplace Hall in the Kremlin.
President Putin said Russians love McCartney’s work, and music by the Beatles was a drop of freedom in the Soviet Union.
Answering Sir McCartney’s question whether the Beatles’ music was banned in Soviet times, Mr Putin said there was no ban on it, but many things were over-ideologised, and the Beatles’ trend did not fit into Soviet ideology. That was the reason why in the 1980s the official authorities did not allow Paul McCartney to hold a concert on Red Square.
Mr Putin asked the musician to tell him about his impressions of St Petersburg and congratulated him on being awarded the title of honorary professor at the St Petersburg Conservatoire. Sir McCartney thanked President Putin for his congratulations and said he had the honour to visit a school where famous Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky studied.
Sir McCartney’s wife, Heather Mills, said she and her husband were engaged in social activities and took an active role in the campaign against land mines. She asked the President if Russia could join the movement. The President said their activities deserve thorough attention because they address people’s safety, but before the use of land mines is banned by the state, preliminary consultations involving diplomats and military experts should be held. After the meeting, Mr Putin, Sir McCartney and Ms Mills had a short walk around the Kremlin. The President pointed out highlights of the Kremlin – the Armoury Chamber, the Grand Kremlin Palace, Sobornaya Square and Tsar Cannon.
That night Mr Putin attended a concert by the famous musician on Red Square. Sir McCartney performed 36 songs, 22 of which were from the Beatles repertoire.