In the last week, the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) announced that they have banned the Russian representative at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, Yulia Samoylova, from entering Ukraine. The Ukrainian Broadcaster and the EBU stated that they will respect the government’s decision. However, the SSU are yet to send written confirmation of Yulia’s ban to the EBU.
There was much controversy in the Eurovision community when the SSU first announced Yulia’s three-year ban on entering Ukraine. In an interview with German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, the chairman of the Eurovision Reference Group, Frank-Dieter Freiling, says that the decision could still be reversed. We should still wait for the government to make an official decision. Freiling said:
“We still have no official notification from the Ukrainian government on this matter. The President or Prime Minister could override the SSU’s decision by decree. Of course, the EBU has to respect Ukrainian laws. However, from the beginning, we had made it very clear that we expect that all participants can participate as well. However, should the Russian participant not be allowed to enter, the EBU will continue to ensure that Russia can participate in the show. Our proposal for a live stream was not accepted by either side.“
Vyacheslav Kyrylenko has asked several times for Russia to send a new candidate, one who has not violated Ukrainian law. It appears that Freiling is suggesting that the Russian delegation were aware that their selection may cause these issues:
“One thing we noted before the ban is that the Russian delegation did not take part in mandatory previewing sessions and did not reserve any accommodation, in contrast to all other delegations. Russia has to make its participation clear, just as we make must make it possible for them.”
Will Eurovision 2017 still take place in Kyiv?
Freiling says that although the road has been rough so far, the preparations for Eurovision are fully under control:
“The preparations are, of course, in full speed, but they are not always easy. This is not least due to the fact that the former state broadcaster NTU became a public service station on 1 January. This led to significant structural shifts, but also to personnel changes at the top, which caused a delay. The Ukrainian government, represented by a ministerial committee under the leadership of the deputy prime minister, is also heavily involved in the preliminary planning. This didn’t speed up decisions either.“
In terms of the show’s quality, Freiling says:
“The host broadcaster will never be left to organise the contest alone. Over the past few years, major elements of technology and stage equipment have also been purchased internationally. Here, there are specialists who are able to make suggestions and to implement them technically, with regard to the material requirements for such a show. The show will be no different in Kyiv than in Vienna, Copenhagen or Stockholm. Let yourself be surprised in May!“
We will bring you more news about this controversy as soon as we receive it.
What do you think of the controversy? Is Ukraine right to ban Yulia from entering the country? Did Russia know what they were doing? Leave a comment and let us know!