Ever since the suspension of Belarussian broadcaster BTRC from the EBU, there have been questions as to if and when the suspension would lift and Belarus could return to Eurovision. We can now confirm that the EBU’s suspension of BTRC’s EBU membership is indefinite.
Belarus Suspended from the EBU
That Eurovision Site reached out to the EBU for clarification on reports that BTRC’s suspension would expire on July 1st, 2024. These reports stem from an interview with BTRC director Ivan Eismont by state-owned Belarussian site SB.by. According to the BBC, this site is owned and operated by the government of Alexander Lukashenko.
The EBU responded to our request for comment with the following statement:
BTRC’s suspension is indefinite and subject to continual review at the discretion of our Executive Board.– EBU Communications Team
That Eurovision Site would like to thank the EBU for a swift response to our query.
This statement, unfortunately, confirms that there is no current timeline for the re-admission of BTRC to the EBU. Consequently, Belarus will not return to the Junior or Senior Eurovision Song Contests in the near future.
BTRC was officially suspended from the EBU following a decision on May 28th by the Executive Board. The broadcaster had two weeks to respond to the decision and failed to do so. Because of this, the suspension became official on July 1st, 2021. The Executive Board’s decision came amid continuing concerns regarding freedom of the press in Belarus under the leadership of Lukashenko.
Several Eurovision alumni, such as 2017 entrants Naviband and 2020 hopefuls VAL, have spoken out against Lukashenko’s crackdown on free speech. For instance, the two artists collaborated on the song “Volnyja sny” (Free Dreams) to mark Belarus’s Freedom Day on March 25th.
Belarus’s Disqualification from Eurovision 2021
This suspension followed Belarus’s disqualification from Eurovision 2021 due to accusations that its song constituted political propaganda. BTRC had selected Galasy Zmesta with the song “I’ll Teach You”. Following the EBU’s request for lyrical changes to strip the song of its political undertones, BTRC instead submitted a second song.
The EBU also rejected the second entry that BTRC submitted. As BTRC failed to find another suitable entry, the EBU announced that Belarus would no longer participate in the contest.
Belarus last participated at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2019 with Zena and her song “Like It”, which ultimately finished in 24th place in the Grand Final with 31 points. Their best result came in 2007 with Dmitry Koldun’s “Work Your Magic”, which finished in 6th place.
In conclusion, we would like to reiterate that ‘That Eurovision Site’ and its team members support the freedom of the press, including in Belarus, and strongly condemn the suppression of free speech and journalism worldwide.
What do you think of Belarus’s suspension from the EBU? Do believe they will return to Eurovision in the future? Let us know in the comments or on social media. Be sure to follow ‘THAT Eurovision Site’ on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
News Source: EBU Communications Team
Photo Source: EBU / Andres Putting