Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, no Russian act will participate in this year's Eurovision Song Contest, the European Broadcast Union (EBU) announced on Friday.
The decision was made due to fears that the inclusion of Russia in the competition could "bring it into disrepute," a statement released by EBU reads, calling the invasion of Ukraine an "unprecedented crisis."Russia's elimination from Eurovision comes after the Ukrainian Public Broadcast network UA:PBC sent an open letter to the EBU – an alliance of international public service media organizations best known for producing the Eurovision Song Contest – urging the EBU to remove Russian media from the organization and remove Russia’s contestant from the 2022 Eurovision competition.
“The appeal states that since the beginning of Russia's aggression against Ukraine in 2014 and to this day, EMC broadcasters from the Russian Federation - Channel One and VDTRK - have been a mouthpiece for the Kremlin and a key tool of political propaganda financed from the Russian state budget,” the UA:PBC open letter read.
“During the long-term aggressive policy of the Russian Federation, the resources of these media outlets have systematically disseminated disinformation, violated journalistic standards and spread hate speech, which is contrary to the values of the EMU.”
The latest letter by Ukraine came amid Russia’s attacks on Ukrainian cities since Thursday morning in what Russian President Vladimir Putin called a “special military operation.”
The Eurovision competition, which hosts roughly 40 contestants across European countries every year, is not immune to geopolitical controversies. Ukraine’s contestant for the 2022 contest, 28-year-old Alina Pash, had her participation revoked amid an investigation into her 2015 trip to Crimea. Entering Crimea from the Russian Mainland is considered illegal entry according to Ukrainian Law.
"I am a Ukrainian citizen. I follow Ukrainian law and try to bring Ukraine's traditions and values into the world,” Pash said in an Instagram post last week. Ukraine has selected hip-hop trio Kalush Orchestra to represent Ukraine in Pash’s place, while Russia is yet to announce a contestant.
In 2017, Russian contestant Julia Samoylova was blocked from entering Ukraine – which was hosting the competition – because she had reportedly toured Crimea without entering it through the border with the Ukrainian mainland.
The 2022 Eurovision contest will take place in Turin, Italy from May 10th-14th.