Russia might still take part in the Eurovision Song Contest, even though their chosen artist Julia Samoylova was refused entry to host country Ukraine. The EBU has offered the solution that Russia will take part through a satellite connection during the second semi final.
With these events, the soap is not over yet. Rumour has it that Russia’s Channel One has refused this offer and demands access to the stage in Kiev. On the other hand, Ukraine states that broadcasting her performance would be illegal in Ukraine, even if Julia is not in the country itself. Another solution that would be suitable for all three parties has yet to be found.
On 22 March the Ukrainian authorities issued a travel ban on the artist chosen as the Russian entrant to the Eurovision Song Contest, Julia Samoylova.
EBU issues statement regarding Russia’s Eurovision participation
The EBU thinks to have found a solution for this issue, and let Russia take part in a way that has never been done before. They write: “In order to maintain the non-political nature of the Eurovision Song Contest, the EBU has been working hard to find a solution to this situation and has taken the unprecedented move to offer Channel One Russia the opportunity for Julia to still participate in this year’s Contest by performing live in the 2nd Semi Final via satellite. Should the Russian entry qualify for the Grand Final the same solution would apply.”
“This is something that has never been done before in the Contest’s 60 year history. But, in the spirit of Eurovision’s values of inclusivity and this year’s theme of Celebrate Diversity, the decision has been taken to ensure that all 43 entrants are given the opportunity to participate.”
Eurovision Song Contest Executive Supervisor, Jon Ola Sand said: “We are continuing our dialogue with the Ukrainian authorities with the ambition to have all artists present to perform in host city, Kyiv, which is, of course, our preferred option. It is imperative that the Eurovision Song Contest remains free from politics. And as such, due to the circumstances surrounding Julia’s travel ban, we have felt it important to propose a solution that transcends such issues. We have offered Channel One Russia the opportunity for Julia to perform live via satellite as it is the EBU’s intention that every broadcaster that has chosen to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest does so, as has been the case for all previous events in the contest’s history.”
ESC Reference group chairman Frank-Dieter Freiling expressed his hope though, that the political leadership of Ukraine will not implement the travel ban and find a solution in line with the contest´s slogan “Celebrate Diversity”.