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Eurovision Song Contest 2016 winner Jamala from the Ukraine
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/B. Pedersen

Russia slams Ukraine's 'political' Eurovision win

May 15, 2016

After Ukrainian singer Jamala's Eurovision win, Russian politicians have decried the song's "political" content while media called for the votes to be reviewed. One politician has suggested skipping next year's contest.


While Jamala's Eurovision win was being widely celebrated in Ukraine, Russian lawmakers and media lashed out on Sunday, saying the contest was taken over by politics.

"It was not the Ukrainian singer Jamala and her song '1944' that won the Eurovision 2016 - it was politics that beat art," Russian politician Frants Klintsevich told Russian news agencies.

He also called for Russia to consider a boycott of next year's contest, which will be hosted by Ukraine.

Jamala overtook favorites Russia and Australia with her song "1944," about the deportations of ethnic Tartars from the Crimea peninsula by Soviet leader Josef Stalin. In interviews prior to the contest, the singer drew parallels to Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Konstantin Kochachev, who heads the Foreign Affairs Committee in Russia's upper chamber, said that "according to the tally of points it was geopolitics that gained the upper-hand."

He warned that Ukraine's European Song Contest victory could possibly jeopardize an already faltering peace process attempting to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

"For that reason Ukraine lost. And not only its long-suffering budget," Kochachev wrote on Facebook. "The thing the country needs now as much as air is peace. But war won."

Russia media calls out 'unfair' voting

Russia media on Sunday also bashed the song's topic and called for the votes to be reviewed.

"The viewers picked Russia to win, the experts chose Australia, but in the end Ukraine won first place," a female news anchor on Russian state TV Pervy Kanal said.

Russian singer Sergei Lazarev landed in third place after coming up short in the national jury tallies, despite claiming the most points from viewers in the public vote.

Russian tabloid "Komsomolskaya Pravda" published an online article following the results called "How the European jury stole victory from Lazarev."

"It became obvious that this is an entirely political story - as we won first place in the public vote that was meant to counterbalance the juries," read the article.

Televote results show mutual support

Despite political tensions between the two nations, televote results from the finale showed that viewers in both countries gave high points to each other's entries in the contest hosted this year in Stockholm, Sweden.

Data from the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which runs the annual spectacle, showed that viewers in the Ukraine granted Russia their top score of 12 points. In Russia, viewers gave the Ukrainian entry second place behind Armenia in the televote.

In this year's contest, national juries from the 41 participant countries as well as viewers were eligible to vote. Eurovision Song Contest rules stipulate that viewers and juries cannot vote for their own country.

Both countries' national juries, however, did not award a single point to each other's songs.

rs/sms (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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