Jamala, a singer of Crimean Tatar descent, will represent Ukraine at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest with a song about Stalin’s wartime deportation of the Crimean Tatars.
The 32-year-old singer beat five other finalists to represent the country at Eurovision in Stockholm in May after a vote by the public and a panel of judges during the Ukrainian national final last night.
Jamala will sing a song entitled 1944, which refers to the forced deportation of Crimean Tatars from Crimea in that year. The lyrics of 1944 do not touch on current tensions surrounding Crimea, but entering the singer in the television song contest could raise the issue by implication. Eurovision rules prohibit songs with lyrics seen as having political content, and as such the lyrics to 1944 will need to be approved for the contest.
Earlier this month Volodymyr Viatrovych, director of the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance, stated that, in the case of a Ukrainian victory in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, the contest would take place in Sevastopol in 2017. Sevastopol’s city authorities have approved the idea of holding Eurovision in the Crimean port city, but only in the case of a Russian victory.