New East Digital Archive

Banned Russian Eurovision contestant Yulia Samoylova performs in Crimea

10 May 2017

In the diplomatic row between Ukraine and Russia that has threatened to overshadow this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, Russia has raised the game with a not-so-subtle snub: getting its banned entrant, Yulia Samoylova, to perform on Victory Day in Crimea.

What’s the big deal?

This decision seems especially pointed, given that Russia withdrew from Eurovision after Ms Samoylova was barred from Ukraine for three years over an “illegal” visit to the annexed Crimean peninsula in 2015. What’s more, the singer’s Victory Day performance in Sevastopol was timed to coincide with the first Eurovision semi-final last night. Giving Eurovision the brush-off with a patriotic celebration on disputed territory seems a pretty smooth (and not at all petty) rebuff.

“It’s a great honour for me to be in Sevastopol today, it’s very exciting and joyful to perform here on such a day,” said Ms Samoylova.

Despite her excitement at performing on Victory Day, Ms Samoylova told journalists that she is looking ahead to 2018 — Russia’s Channel One has stated that it will send the singer to next year’s Eurovision Song Contest, assuming it does not take place in Ukraine. Ms Samoylova has announced that fans can expect a new song for the contest.

Source: RIA Novosti (in Russian)