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"Jamala" won the ESC for Ukraine in Stockholm last yearImage: Reuters/V. Ogirenko

Protests rattle Eurovision Song Contest prep in Kyiv

February 14, 2017

This year's Eurovision Song Contest in May was supposed to add some flair to crisis-ridden Ukraine, but there is trouble brewing behind the scenes. Over 20 event organizers have resigned in protest of their boss.


Following the first round of hosting the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) in 2005, Ukrainians are proud that they may give it a second go this year in Kyiv. The city's mayor, ex-boxing world champ Vitali Klitschko, believes that music can unite people. That is "particularly important for Ukraine," he said as the assignment of participants for the semi-final was announced. But now there's trouble on the horizon, and some are even uttering the word "failure."

Twenty-one Ukrainian ESC organizers have resigned from their posts in protest of their boss, Pavlo Grytsak. They have criticized Grytsak - two months into his job as deputy general director of NTU, Ukraine's national television broadcaster, which is to air the competition - of slacking off in making event decisions and calls for tenders.

The protestors published their announcement on Facebook on Monday. ESC Executive Producers Victoria Romanova and Oleksandr Kharebin have also resigned.

37 countries to compete in ESC

German ESC candidate Levina
Levina will step up for Germany in 2017Image: Getty Images/S. Steinbach

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organizes the song competition, was unruffled in response. It thanked the resigning organizers for their work, but also asked that Ukraine step up quickly with replacements.

Remaining organizers have said that the ESC will go ahead as planned, will the final competition to air on May 13. Tickets are schedule to go on sale on Tuesday, February 14.

so/als/kbm (dpa, ESC)


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