Russia puts forward Eurovision entry, Ukraine threatens to arrest her
By Andy Malt | Published on Tuesday 14 March 2017
Russia has put forward an entry for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, ending speculation that the country would boycott the competition due to it taking place in Ukraine. The announcement of Julia Samoilova as its entrant with the song ‘Flame Is Burning’ came just one day before the entry deadline.
Ukraine won the competition in Sweden last year with ‘1944’ by Jamala, a song about Joseph Stalin’s deportation of Crimean Tatar people during the Second World War. The song was deemed not to have broken Eurovision’s ‘no politics’ rule, despite the fact that Ukraine and Russia have been at odds since the latter annexed Crimea in 2014.
The ongoing conflict may as yet cause problems for Russia’s entry. Ukraine has already blacklisted 140 artists who have performed in Crimea since it was occupied by Russia. Although Julia Samoilova does not currently appear on that list, she has admitted that she performed there in 2015. Ukrainian officials have already said that they are considering barring her from entering the country, or may arrest her if she does.
A spokesperson for Ukraine’s security services, Olena Gitlyanska, said that they will “study the question and take a balanced decision on her entry into Ukraine based exclusively on the norms of Ukrainian legislation and interests of national security”.
A spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin said that it was “absolutely unacceptable” that Ukraine would attempt to politicise the contest, adding that “practically everyone has been to Crimea”.
This is just the latest controversy to hit this year’s Eurovision. Last month, the entire organising team quit due to a “lack of transparency in making decisions regarding key areas of operations”.
Currently, Samoilova is scheduled to perform in the competition’s second semi-final on 11 May to decide if she will go through to the final on 13 May. Here’s the song you may or may not as yet get to see performed there: