San Marino, the smallest nation that takes part in the Eurovision Song Contest, has released a public statement about the decision of host country Ukraine to ban Russia’s participant Yulia Samoylova to enter the country. “Eurovision should be neutral ground,” says Carlo Romeo, the head of San Marino RTV.
“We disapprove this decision by Ukraine. We do not care if it’s a conspiracy or a Russian provocation. The Eurovision Song Contest should be a neutral ground,” is the statement we can read on the website of the broadcaster.
Thus far, San Marino RTV is the only European Broadcasting Union member to have commented on the current situation. It is still uncertain whether Russia will still compete in this years Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev. The EBU has called on Ukraine to delay the travel ban for the Russian participant until after the upcoming contest.
History of visa restrictions at Eurovision
In 2012, the EBU strictly demanded security guarantees from the Azeri government. These guarantees with regards to freedom of expression as well as the safety for a potential Armenian participant. The Azeri government temporarily changed its visa policy for Armenian citizens. However, in the end, the Armenian delegation decided to withdraw from the contest nonetheless.
This year, EBU took similar notions with Ukranian broadcaster NTU. Earlier on in the season, EBU’s Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand stated that “all Russian artists should be able to participate in Kiev. Even the ones on the “blacklist”.”