A few weeks back, we reported that the Ukrainian broadcaster confirmed that the Russian participant Julia Samoylova would be banned from entering the country for Eurovision. As we previously reported, the Ukrainian Government has banned Russian artists who support the 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula by banning them from entering the country. As this is a governmental ban irrelevant, and beyond the scope of Eurovision, the Ukrainian government have stood strong on the issue and have gone through with banning Julia from entering Ukraine, even if it is for Eurovision.
You may remember that the EBU offered alternatives to Russia, whereby they need to either change their participant, one that wouldn’t be breaking the law, or alternatively Julia Samoylova participated via satellite, an idea both rejected by the Ukrainian and Russian parties. After that, things were pretty quiet. Julia Samoylova filmed her postcard for Eurovision as if the participation was going ahead, and Eurovision fans were left in the dark as to whether we would or wouldn’t be seeing Russia as this year’s Eurovision.
It has now been announced by the EBU that Russia will be withdrawing from the contest. The Russian broadcaster Channel One have confirmed that they will not be broadcasting Eurovision, and as such, will no longer be participating. The EBU has expressed their disappointment, hoping that in some way or another, all 43 participants will be present in Kyiv.
Frank Dieter Freiling, Chairman of the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group has commented, saying, ‘We strongly condemn the Ukrainian authorities’ decision to impose a travel ban on Julia Samoylova as we believe it thoroughly undermines the integrity and non-political nature of the Eurovision Song Contest and its mission to bring all nations together in friendly competition. However, preparations continue apace for the Eurovision Song Contest in the host city Kyiv. Our top priority remains to produce a spectacular Eurovision Song Contest with our Member UA:PBC in May’