The controversy regarding the Russian participant in this year’s Eurovision, Yulia Samoylova, started 3 weeks ago. Samoylova was banned from entering Ukraine after the Security Service of Ukraine found that she had illegally travelled to Russian-annexed Crimea. Today, the Russian broadcaster, Channel One, have withdrawn from the contest.
The broadcaster released a press statement, saying that they refuse to send another singer, or use the EBU’s alternative, for Samoylova to perform via satellite. Read the full statement below:
“Channel One has received a letter from the European Broadcasting Union with the message that the EBU could not resolve the question of participation in Eurovision 2017 for the participant from Russia, Yulia Samoylova. This EBU report makes reference to the decision of the Ukrainian Security Services.
Channel One finds the Ukrainian refusal completely unreasonable. The reason for it, of course, is Ukraine’s attempt to politicize the contest, whose goal throughout its 62-year history has been to unite people.
The European Broadcasting Union still offers the option of remote participation from Yulia Samoylova or her replacement with another participant. But we have found both options unacceptable.
A remote performance discriminates against the Russian participant and is contrary to the rules and principles of competition. Yulia Samoylova’s replacement with another artist, in our opinion, cannot even be considered.
In this situation, the Channel One does not consider it possible to broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest 2017.”
Ukrainian Government Reaction
The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted the below tweet on Twitter:
— MFA of Ukraine 🇺🇦 (@MFA_Ukraine) April 13, 2017
The EBU have released a statement regarding the Russian withdrawal:
“Sadly both of our proposals have been rejected by Channel One and they have now announced they do not intend to broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest 2017. These proposals were to either take part via satellite or to change their chosen artist to one who could legally travel to Ukraine for the duration of the Contest. Unfortunately this means Russia will no longer be able to take part in this year’s competition. We very much wanted all 43 countries to be able to participate and did all we could to achieve this.”
Frank Dieter Freiling, Chairman of the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group, the event’s steering committee, said:
“We strongly condemn the Ukrainian authorities’ decision to impose a travel ban on Julia Samoylova as we believe it thoroughly undermines the integrity and non-political nature of the Eurovision Song Contest and its mission to bring all nations together in friendly competition. However, preparations continue apace for the Eurovision Song Contest in the host city Kyiv. Our top priority remains to produce a spectacular Eurovision Song Contest with our Member UA:PBC in May.”
Ukraine To Be Punished?
The EBU have previously stated that they may create sanctions against Ukraine if Russia is unable to participate. However, it is yet to be seen if these are real threats, or if EBU were bluffing.
What do you think of this news? Should Ukraine be punished for this controversy? Tell us in the comments!