Will Russia boycott Eurovision?

3 March 2017

This year’s Eurovision Song Contest has already been fraught with obstacles and scandals, from funding challenges to mass resignations. Now the event is faced with yet more intrigue — could Russia be boycotting the contest?

The 2017 Eurovision Song Contest final is due to take place on 13 May in Kiev, following the victory of Ukraine’s representative, Jamala, in the 2016 contest with the song 1944.

Amid continuing tensions between Russia and Ukraine, centring on the war in the east of Ukraine and Russia’s annexation of Crimea, a number of prominent Russian figures have called for Russia to pull out of the competition.

According to the BBC, Russian MP Vitaly Milonov urged the head of Russia’s Channel One TV to boycott the show.

“The reality is that we will be unwelcome guests [...],” he told the BBC, while Channel One omitted to comment on the issue.

Mr Milonov’s views have been echoed by a number of entertainment stars, including veteran singer Iosif Kobzon and pop star Philipp Kirkorov, the co-author of last year’s Russian Eurovision entry, which took third place.

“I wouldn’t send anyone. I’m deeply disillusioned by how politicised and biased the contest has become,” Kirkorov said in a statement to Life TV, adding that he sees “no point” in Russia taking part.

“It’s not clear whether we need to boycott,” Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told the BBC, while Ukrainian MP Olga Chervakova dismissed any claims of hostility towards Russian Eurovision participants or visitors to Eurovision as unfounded.

Source: BBC News