Over the last few months a big matter regarding Russia’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest had arisen. Unfortunately, it resulted in withdrawal of the country from the 2017 edition. However, the problems don’t seem to end there, since the Reference Group hasn’t decided which penalties will be imposed on the two countries.
When it comes to Russia, when the Head of Delegation (HoD) meeting took place in Kyiv in March, there was reportedly no one from the Russian delegation present, something which is not allowed according to the EBU rules.
A few days later though, the Russian national broadcaster Channel One announced that the singer Yulia Samoylova would represent the nation in Kyiv. Their announcement was accompanied by the release of her entry Flame is burning.
On the opposite side in Ukraine, their authorities banned the Russian entrant from entering their country as she had entered and performed in Crimea in 2015 via Russia, something illegal for them to do following the start of their conflict with Russia in 2014.
The issue has caused great discontent with the EBU organizers, as they considered it to be inconsistent with the rules of the competition and involves political issues in the contest. However, and despite the negotiations, the Ukrainian authorities were not recalling their decision and insisted on the three-year embargo to Yulia. Finally in mid-April, Russia decided to withdraw from the contest.
After all that, the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group chairman Frank-Dieter Freiling stated that it is possible that some penalties are going to be forced onto both Ukrainian and Russian broadcasters. These could potentially even be a 3-year ban from participating. The issue is going to be discussed on 12 June in the Reference Group meeting.
Jon Ola Sand: “I’ m sure we will see Russia back in 2018”
The executive supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest Jon Ola Sand gave an interview to the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, before his departure to Kyiv. Amongst his statements, he said:
The Russian broadcaster is very sorry for this situation and has apologised for what happened. We have not received any reaction from the Russian authorities. This has not been a very big issue in the Russian media. We are therefore in a straightforward dialogue with the Russians, and I’m sure they will be with us again next year.
The 62nd Eurovision Song Contest is taking place on 9, 11 and 13 May at the IEC in Kyiv, Ukraine.