Sunday. 02.10.2022
WAR IN UKRAINE

Russia banned from Eurovision Song Contest after Finland's pressure

Finland even threatened not to send an entry to the contest if the EBU did not ban Russia from participating, according to broadcaster Yle

22 May 2021, Netherlands, Rotterdam: Members of the Maneskin band from Italy celebrate on the stage after winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 in the Netherlands. Rock band Maneskin won with the song Zitti E Buoni, thanks to a major boost of votes from the public, ending a 31-year drought for Italy. Photo: Sander Koning/ANP/dpa
Members of the Maneskin band from Italy celebrate after winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 in the Netherlands. Photo: Sander Koning/dpa.

Russia will not take part in this year's Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) due to the military attack on Ukraine, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said on Friday.

The decision came following a recommendation earlier by the Eurovision Song Contest's governing body, the Reference Group, the EBU said in a statement.

The Reference Group recommendation was also supported by the EBU’s Television Committee, according to the statement.

"The decision reflects concern that, in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian entry in this year’s Contest would bring the competition into disrepute," it said.

Eurovision had previously said it intended to allow Russia to compete but faced strong criticism from state broadcasters in countries including Iceland, Finland, Norway and the Netherlands, according to PA news agency.

Finland's threat

Finland even threatened not to send an entry to the ESC if the EBU did not ban Russia from participating, according to broadcaster Yle.

The Russian attack on Ukraine violates all the values for which it stands, as do all other European broadcasters, Yle said on Friday.

Ukrainian broadcaster UA:PBC had also earlier this week urged the EBU to suspend Russia's membership and ban it from the contest that takes in place in Italy this year.

With Russia, 41 countries actually wanted to take part in the ESC 2022. The EBU's maximum limit is 44 - but this number of participants has never been reached before. Belarus is still excluded from the competition after the suspension of the broadcaster BTRC last year.

Ukraine's candidate resigned

Alina Pash had resigned as Ukraine's candidate on February 16, due to questions about a trip the singer made to the Crimean peninsula annexed by Russia.

Ukraine will instead send the band Kalush Orchestra to Turin, due to perform with the song "Stefania."

It has yet to qualify in one of the semi-finals, due to be held on May 10 and 12. The Russian entry had not been selected.

Russia banned from Eurovision Song Contest after Finland's pressure
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