Russia refuses to broadcast Eurovision after contestant banned from Ukraine

23 March 2017

Russia’s Channel One and All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company have announced that they will not broadcast this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, after Ukraine banned Russia’s entrant, Yulia Samoylova, from entering the country to participate in the contest in May.

While this development was reported as certain by Russian news site Vesti, in an interview with online newspaper TJournal, Channel One’s press service said they were still verifying the information. Another source close to Channel One claimed that no such decision had been taken.

“It’s very funny to watch all this from the sidelines, because I do not understand what they saw in me [...] in such a small girl, [that] they saw some kind of threat. I’m not upset [...]. For some reason I think everything will still change,” singer Yulia Samoylova told the Interfax news agency.

In any case, Ms Samoylova should get to compete at some point — Channel One has stated that it will send the singer to next year’s Eurovision Song Contest, assuming it does not take place in Ukraine.

According to the Ukrainian National Security Service, Ms Samoylova has been barred from Ukraine for three years, over an “illegal” visit to the annexed Crimean peninsula in 2015.

The contest’s organisers have reportedly been in discussions with the Ukrainian authorities, and say that Russia’s banned Eurovision contestant may be able to perform at the show via satellite link.

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.

Source: Afisha (in Russian)