Though the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) stated that Russia is “welcome to participate” at Eurovision 2022 after the invasion of its neighbor and fellow EBU member Ukraine began yesterday, several high profile participants and delegations past and present have voiced their objections.
The most high profile is Citi Zeni, who won Latvia’s national selection and will represent the Baltic nation at Eurovision 2022 in Turin, Italy.
In a post on Twitter, Citi Zeni urged the EBU to take action, and in a hint that further action should and could be taken, that other delegations and artists do the same.
“The sound of beauty cannot become the sound of war,” said Citi Zeni. “The current aggression and external politics conducted by the government of the Russian Federation are not acceptable to us. We stand united with the people of Ukraine and are strongly opposing the human suffering currently occurring.”
— Citi Zēni 💙💛 (@citi_zeni) February 24, 2022
The band requested the EBU reconsider Russia’s participation at Eurovision 2022, “that it is not correct to be sending an artist to one EBU country, while an army is being deployed to another.”
It is not just artists who are requesting that Russia be kicked out of Eurovision 2022 – Gustav Lützhøft, the head of Denmark’s Melodi Grand Prix, joined Sweden’s SVT as a delegation that voiced its opinion that the EBU’s stance was incorrect.
“First of all, I would like to say that it is a serious and extremely unpleasant situation that is unfolding in Ukraine right now,” Lützhøft told Denmark’s Ekstra Bladet. *
“At DR, we find it wrong if Russia is to participate in Eurovision, as the situation is now. That is DR’s position. And we communicate it to the EBU.”
“Given the very serious situation in Ukraine right now,” Lützhøft continued. “We find it incompatible with Eurovision’s values that Russia is participating.”
Other countries have since then spoken out as well. Finland’s broadcaster YLE have stated that they will withdraw if Russia is allowed to participate, with the head of Lithuania’s broadcaster LRT hinting at the same. Norway and the Netherlands have joined Denmark in supporting Sweden’s plea to reconsider Russia’s participation.
Many artists who have performed at past installments of Eurovision have also taken to social media to express their concern, support Ukraine, or condemn Russia’s actions.
Jamala, who won Eurovision 2016 for Ukraine with “1944,” posted a frantic message on Instagram condemning the invasion and the personal, heavy toll this will take on her family and country.
The Roop, who came in 8th for Lithuania at Eurovision 2021 with “Discotheque,” also announced their support for Ukraine.
We are with #Ukraine with all our hearts. What is happening now is an example of big egoism, inhumanity, and the desire to bring even more chaos. As Lithuanians we remember experiencing Russian regime aggression, being occupied, exiled, killed. We understand and support Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/wm7V06qpuh
— The Roop (@TheRoopBand) February 24, 2022
“We are with Ukraine with all our hearts,” posted The Roop on Twitter. “What is happening now is an example of big egoism, inhumanity, and the desire to bring even more chaos. As Lithuanians we remember experiencing Russian regime aggression, being occupied, exiled, killed. We understand and support Ukraine.”
Latvia’s Eurovision 2021 representative Samanta Tina said on Twitter that she supports Ukraine and calls for end to the war of Russian aggression.
— Samanta Tina (@Samanta_singer) February 24, 2022
Russia’s 2021 representative Manizha earlier posted her thoughts on Russia’s invasion and is the strongest condemnation so far from a former Eurovision artist based there.
“This is the morning when you regret waking up,” said Manizha. “You don’t know where to go, who to help. I sit on the corner of the bed and cry. I cry because it’s not my choice. The current aggression is against my will, against the will of my family, I believe that it is against the will of our peoples. There are Ukrainians in my family too. My daughter-in-law is from Ukraine. My future husband is half Ukrainian. My close friends are Ukrainians. Russia and Ukraine are not just two countries. We are relatives. Any war between us is fratricidal.”
Russia’s Eurovision 2005 representative Natalia Podolskaya wrote on Twitter, “I want everything to be like before! When in 2005 there was Eurovision in Kiev and chestnuts were blooming.”
Мне хочется, чтоб все было, как раньше! Когда в 2005 году было Евровидение в Киеве и цвели каштаны 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/1n7vwxQhlU
— Наталья Подольская (@podolskayamusic) February 24, 2022
The following artists, many of whom performed at Eurovision 2017 in Kiev, Ukraine, also expressed their thoughts on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, support for the people of Ukraine, and the EBU’s stance. The links to their social media are embedded in the artists’ names:
- Sergey Lazarev (Russia 2016 and 2019)
- Naviband (Belarus 2017)
- Hatari (Iceland 2019)
- Peter Nalitch (Russia 2010)
- Brendan Murray (Ireland 2017)
- Svala (Iceland 2017)
- Claudia Faniello (Malta 2017)
- Anja (Denmark 2017)
- Lucie Jones (United Kingdom 2017)
- O. Torvald (Ukraine 2017)
- JOWST (Norway 2017)
* Thanks to Twitter user Jazzer Hazzer for providing this link in response to our earlier story on the EBU’s stance.
ESC United’s position on coverage of Russia at Eurovision 2022 will be published shortly.
What do #YOU think of the EBU’s position on Russia? Do #YOU think Russia should be expelled from Eurovision, or do #YOU think that would be a “political” matter and Eurovision is an “apolitical” event? Let us know in the comments below, on social media, or in our forum.