RUSSIA – Russia will be allowed to participate in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, despite launching a military assault on neighbouring Ukraine. Organisers called the competition a “non-political cultural event” and said they were “currently planning” to host entrants from both Russia and Ukraine at the event this May.
“We of course will continue to monitor the situation closely,” they added.
Ukraine’s state broadcaster UA:PBC had called for Russia to be suspended.
It said the Russian broadcasters, who oversee the county’s participation in the contest, had been “a mouthpiece for the Kremlin and a key tool of political propaganda” and had taken part in “systematic dissemination of disinformation” against Ukraine.
— OIKOTIMES (@theoikotimes) February 24, 2022
THE GENERIC EBU STATEMENT
All media broadcasters and the EBU as a union are focused on doing our job for the public in difficult circumstances and will not hesitate to condemn any infringements or violations of press freedom.
It is vital for journalists to be allowed to continue to operate both freely and safely and report without hindrance. Supporting media freedom must be prioritized, not despite these challenging circumstances, but because of them.
- Russia was the favourite to win the competition in 2016 until Ukrainian singer Jamala stole a last-minute victory with a song that depicted the deportation of Crimean Tatars by Josef Stalin in 1944 – a horrific chapter that the nation’s parliament has described as tantamount to genocide.
- The lyrics were widely interpreted as a criticism of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Jamala, who is herself a Crimean Tartar, appeared to confirm the link when she told the press: “The main message is to remember and to know this story. When we know, we prevent.”
- On the path to victory, her song picked up several important votes from former Soviet countries that traditionally vote for Russia. Eurovision expert John Kennedy O’Connor called the result “a pointed slap in Russia’s face”.
- A year later, Russian contestant, Julia Samoylova was blocked from entering Ukraine, which was hosting the competition, because she had reportedly toured Crimea without entering it through the border with the Ukrainian mainland.
- The Ukrainian government considers people who enter the territory via Russia to have crossed the border illegally.
- Russian television station Channel One then announced it would not broadcast the contest or take part.
an oikotimes original text