On April Fool’s Day, we fooled many of you by reporting that the contest was being moved from Ukraine. However, it may be we whom are the fools, as it has been reported by Russian media that there are real plans in place to move the contest to Berlin.
The ongoing controversy surrounding the Russian participation in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest began 2 weeks ago. This was after the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) issued a three-year ban to the Russian participant, Yulia Samoylova, from entering Ukraine. The SSU banned her due to her illegal entry into Russian-annexed Crimea in 2015.
It has previously been suggested that the contest would be taken away from Ukraine, and it has been reported by Russian media that the EBU have everything in place to move the contest to Berlin. The EBU may use these plans if the Ukrainian government give an unsatisfactory response to the letter sent by EBU Chief, Ingrid Deltenre, which asks for the government to intervene so that Samoylova can take part.
How were the plans discovered?
It is reported that Russian pranksters Alexei Stolyarov and Vladimir Kuznetsov discovered the plans after they made a prank telephone call to Deltenre. The prank call involved them calling on behalf of the Ukrainian Prime Minister. In the conversation, Deltenre takes the side of Samoylova:
“We expect that the country will comply with the rules of Eurovision, the exclusion of participants or organizers is unacceptable – Ukraine would be violating the rules of the contest. Firstly, when Samoylova was in Crimea, she was not a Eurovision representative. Secondly, you could impose the ban on her after the contest.“
According to Deltenre, Ukraine will incur massive reputational damages if they prevent Samoylova from participating. She also states that there is a very real prospect that Kyiv will lose the right to host the contest.
Moving to Berlin
Although the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Volodymyr Groysman, says:
“There are only two months left. I do not believe that some other country will be able to host Eurovision at such short notice.”
“We already have everything reserved in Berlin.”
If this is true, it puts huge pressure on the Ukrainian government to allow Samoylova to take part in this year’s contest. Otherwise, they may lose the contest entirely.
Deltenre adds that if the EBU had to postpone Eurovision, Ukraine would be temporarily banned from the contest. Furthermore, Kyiv would lose contracts with the EBU to broadcast the Fifa World Cup.
The EBU have responded to this news, completely denying that the conversation took place, and that there are any plans for the contest to be moved to Berlin. Thus, it is unclear if this news is true, or not.
UPDATE – RECORDING RELEASED:
Life.ru have released a recording of the alleged conversation between the pranksters and Ingrid Deltenre. Deltenre can be clearly heard saying the quote “We have everything reserved in Berlin”. She also says that Ukraine may be banned from competing in the contest until the Russian geopolitical conflict is resolved. She states that other countries are “very worried” and that they may move the contest anyway, “just to be safe”. Deltenre adds that the BBC and ARD are both considering withdrawing from the contest due to the controversy. Furthermore, Deltenre states that if she knew earlier about the politicism of ‘1944’, she would not have allowed it to compete last year. The EBU are yet to comment on the authenticity of this recording, which you can listen to below.
What do you think of this news? Do you believe the Russian media? Would the contest do well in Berlin? Get involved in the comments below!