Sweden is used to the annual Melodifestivalen generating interest far beyond its borders, but it may have to contend with some negative international reactions to the interval act staged during this year's Globen final.
The Russian embassy in Sweden has apparently launched a scathing critique of Saturday's act, labelling it "disgusting" and suggesting that it completely misrepresented the country. Embassy spokesperson Anatoly Kargapolov pulled no punches, explaining that "it makes no sense to me why Sweden would show such ignorance in misinterpreting this image of Russia" according to reports. He continued "If Russians could see what happened on the stage of Globen on Saturday, I’m fairly certain it will reduce the number of votes they give to the Swedish singer."
Kargapolov also explained how embassy staff were left confused by an apparently "offensive" and "disconnected" display of Russian culture. Although ambassador Alexander M. Kadakin was apparently informed of the complaints, he has chosen not to get involved personally in the matter.
"Satire can be edgy"
Saturday's interval act, which consisted of some light-hearted cultural stereotypes, was defended by SVT's Ronnie Lans, who asserted that "the number was done with a lot of humour and affection". He stressed that it was meant as a satirical piece, and that "it wasn’t our intention at all to offend anyone. It was a comedy sketch. Satire is what it is, and sometimes it can be edgy. We’ve all been to Russia and know that’s not how it really is." The show's humour was apparently aimed at Sweden's popular misconceptions of Russians, and not at Russians themselves, also Lans admitted that SVT could do some good by trying to counter these stereotypes, something which Kargapolov welcomed.