Eurovision approves Ukraine song challenged by Russia
Ukraine's entry for this year's Eurovision Song Contest, which faced fierce opposition from Russia over claims it had a political message, can take part in the competition, organisers said Thursday.
The song by Susana Jamaladinova, known by her stage name Jamala, is about Joseph Stalin’s wartime deportation of Crimean Tatars.
“The governing body of the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of the participating broadcasters, evaluated the eligibility of the Ukrainian entry ‘1944’,” a statement from the Geneva-based organisers said.
“The group concluded that the title and lyrics of the song do not contain political speech and the song is not considered to be in breach of the rules of the competition.
“The song therefore can participate in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest,” it added.
Russian officials and some politicians in Crimea had complained that the song brought up old history in order to denigrate Russia for its decision to annex the Ukrainian peninsula in March 2014.
The song was inspired by the deportation of Jamala’s great-grandmother, her five children and some 240,000 other Crimean Tatars in 1944, virtually the entire Tartar population on the Black Sea peninsula.
This year’s Eurovision competition will be hosted by Stockholm in May.