Kyiv, 16 February 2022
It has been in the air for the past few days, but now it’s official. Alina Pash, who won Ukraine’s national final Vidbir last Saturday has formally resigned her candicacy for the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest. She is the second Vidbir laureate to drop out of Eurovision in the past four years, the other being MARUV in 2019.
As you may have heard, Pash’s ability to legally represent Ukraine has been called into question the moment she was announced as a finalist. The rules of Ukraine’s selection, Vidbir, specifically state that the participants are not allowed to perform in or travel to Russia. Ukranian artists that wish to perform in the occupied region of Crimea need to acquire a special permit that will be checked by government officials as soon as they set foot on Crimean soil.
Incidentally, tensions between Ukraine and Russia have flared up again very recently, with the Russian army holding military drills near the Ukrainian border, in both Russia proper and Belarus. The threat of an invasion is palpable (although Russian president Vladimir Putin has denied that he has plans to invade Ukraine), with several world leaders, including US president Joe Biden attempting to diffuse the situation.
As such, it was of paramount importance that whoever represents Ukraine in Eurovision (in the same semifinal as Russia) is free of any controversy or doubt.
Pash had indeed performed a concert in Crimea in 2015, and therefore needed to produce the necessary legal documents to prove that her journey there had been approved of by the Ukrainian government. Her team submitted the documents, and she was allowed to participate in Vidbir, which she went on winning.
However, as it turned out, the documents her managing director had supplied to the delegation had been proven illegitimate and possibly forged. As a consequence, her entire participation was called into question. The decision whether to disqualify Alina Pash or not would have come this Friday, after she submitted a second (this time official) document as proof.
Pash has since then terminated her cooperation with the manager who supplied the fake document, and has now formally withdrawn her entry “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” from Eurovision.
Update: We have since found out that Suspilne would have disqualified Alina Pash this Friday and informed the singer this morning of the decision.
You can read an official statement by Pash below:
So what happens now?
Ukrainian broadcaster Suspilne have stated in a press conference last Monday that they would investigate the legitimacy of the travel documents submitted by Alina Pash’s team, but the same time they also declared that they would offer the participation to Kalush Orchestra, the band that finished second.
However, Kalush Orchestra and Suspilne aren’t on the best of terms, with the former accusing the latter of fixing the results of Vidbir (which is something Cloudless, another participating band, also complained about after suffering technical manfunctions during their performance), and one of the lead vocalists harrassing the official in charge of the result backstage.
If Kalush Orchestra decline, or if Suspilne refuse to ask them, we might have another situation where Ukraine withdraw from Eurovision all together. We’ll get back at you once we have more information on the matter.
Update: we have since found out that Suspilne will reserve the right to select any of the remaining Vidbir finalists, which means they could ask the other finalists of Kalush decline.
Do #YOU think Alina Pash’s withdrawal is justified? What are #YOUR thoughts on this messed-up situation? Let us know in the comments, on social media or on our forum HERE. Alternatively, join the discussion on our Discord HERE.