Madonna has blasted Vladimir Putin’s “blatant intolerance of gay rights”, and revealed that she received death threats for performing in Russia.

The singer, 55, was speaking last night as she introduced the band Pussy Riot at an Amnesty International concert in New York.

The singer said that Vladimir Putin’s regime showed “blatant intolerance of gay rights, artistic freedom, freedom of speech, and human rights in general.”

Speaking about the arrest of pro-gay band Pussy Riot members in 2012, she said: “I was shocked and outraged when I heard about this, and I spoke about it openly on stage [in Moscow] during my show.

“For this I received several death threats.

“From there we went to St Petersburg. My show was being damned by the regime for being a ‘gay show’, and for ‘promoting homosexuality’. All the people working on my show were told that we may be arrested.

“I was not arrested, but 87 of my fans were arrested for gay behaviour — whatever that means.

“What I realised when I went to Russia, and saw what was going on with Pussy Riot, and what was going on with the gay community, was how lucky I was and am to live in a country where I can speak my mind.

“It’s time for the rest of the world to be as brave as Pussy Riot, to stand up against people like President Putin that do not respect human rights, and perpetuate oppression, discrimination, and injustice of any kind.

“We all have a moral obligation to stand up for anyone who’s being persecuted, whether it’s down the street from us, or on the other side of the world.”