Well, that’s it: Russia is officially out of Eurovision 2017.
The Eurovision Song Contest – a.k.a. the spiritual home of dramatic key changes and excessive stage fire – is taking place in Kiev, Ukraine this year, a country that has something of shaky past, present and (probably) future with Russia.
Following a dispute over whether Russian entrant Julia Samoylova would be allowed to enter the country, after she toured Crimea in 2015 after it was annexed by Russia, television station Channel One announced it would not be broadcasting the song contest, and nor would Russia take part. It’s the first time the country hasn’t participated since 1999.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which produces the strictly non-political competition, said it offered a couple of proposals to Channel One that would allow Samoylova to perform, but both were rejected.
“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. Sadly both proposals have been rejected by Channel One and they have now announced they do not intend to broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest 2017. 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,” the EBU said.
Chairman of the EBU Frank Dieter Freiling strongly condemned Ukraine’s decision to impose a travel ban on Samoylova, because 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.”
Not everyone is as ~shocked and appalled~ as the EBU, however.
My thoughts on Russia not performing at Eurovision pic.twitter.com/i69rmhgt5P
— Matt ???????? (@Pringster78) April 13, 2017
“Russia withdraws from eurovision 2017”
— Evelyn ???????????? (@eveboriee) April 13, 2017
— Gregorio Marañón (@gregorioingles) April 13, 2017
Samoylova was due to perform ‘Flame Is Burning’, which – like all Eurovision songs – is some nonsense song vaguely related to peace and/or love, with just the right sound frequencies to draw us all in with the force of a fully-fledged tractor beam.