Business News Media

Russia barred from entering 2022 Eurovision Song Contest over Ukraine invasion

By | Published on Monday 28 February 2022

Eurovision Song Contest

Russia has been barred from entering this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. The announcement came a day after the European Broadcasting Union had indicated that it was “planning to welcome artists from both countries to perform”.

In a statement on Friday, the EBU – which oversees the contest – said that its executive board had made the decision to exclude Russia “following a recommendation earlier today by the Eurovision Song Contest’s governing body, the Reference Group, based on the rules of the event and the values of the EBU”.

“The decision reflects concern that, in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian entry in this year’s contest would bring the competition into disrepute”, it went on. “Before making this decision the EBU took time to consult widely among its membership. The EBU is an apolitical member organisation of broadcasters committed to upholding the values of public service”.

It was the apolitical nature of the organisation and Eurovision that initially led the EBU to conclude that Russia should be allowed to compete.

Responding to a question about Russia’s inclusion by Swedish national public broadcaster SVT, the EBU said on Thursday: “The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political cultural event which unites nations and celebrates diversity through music. The EBU’s public broadcaster members in both Russia and Ukraine have committed to participating in this year’s event in Turin and we are currently planning to welcome artists from both countries to perform in May”.

The subsequent u-turn came after criticism from broadcasters across Europe about the EBU’s stance – including Ukraine’s state broadcaster, UA:PBC.

Currently, Ukraine is still planning to send Kalush Orchestra to represent the country with the song ‘Stefania’. The band replaced original choice Alina Pash, who was dropped after it emerged that she had travelled to Crimea in 2015, a year after Russia seized control of the area and strict rules were placed on how Ukrainians may enter the region.

Russia had not yet announced its 2022 entrant.