Ukraine’s participation is now in jeopardy as Alina Pash is under investigation to have broken the law in her country.
Alina Pash’s post-Vidbir story
Ukraine’s national selection, Vidbir, took place on Saturday (February 12th), which saw Alina Pash win both the jury and the televote. However, due to technical mishaps, many of the televote points had to be read out from paper. This prompted accusations of corruption in Pash’s favour from second-placed Kalush Orchestra.
In response, public broadcaster UA:PBC issued a statement dispelling the rumours of broadcaster interference.
Immediately following the allegations of corruption, it emerged that Alina Pash’s travel history and documentation could jeopardise her participation. The case is currently in review by both UA:PBC and the Ukrainian Border Guard.
The broken law
The reason behind the controversy centres around the current tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Following the annexation of Crimea in 2014, many Ukrainian institutions created a blacklist of artists who had regularly performed in Russia following the conflict in the Donbass region in the east of the country.
In addition to this, Ukrainian law made it illegal to enter the occupied region of Crimea from Russia, only allowing crossings from Ukrainian entry points. Musicians were also unable to perform in Crimea following the annexation; this was the reason cited in the barring of Yulia Samoylova and the subsequent withdrawal of Russia from Eurovision 2017, in Kyiv.
Following Vidbir 2019, winner Maruv withdrew her right to represent Ukraine after UA:PBC requested she cancel upcoming tour dates in Russia. Ukraine eventually withdrew from the Contest as a result of the debacle. To stop another possible controversy, Vidbir introduced a new rule to ensure that all competing artists would support the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Alina Pash is alleged to have travelled into Crimea from a Russian entry point, which, in Ukrainian law, is illegal. In addition, outlets reported that Pash forged travel documents in order to facilitate her entry to the region.
As a result, UA: PBC requested the help of the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service (USBGS) to verify Pash’s documents. As well as this, UA: PBC has decided to rescind Alina’s automatic right to represent Ukraine until the USBGS have carried out their verification checks.
Alina Pash has not given any public statement on her own right about the situation. Instead, her management released a statement denying the allegations. Speaking to Suspilne, a representative for Pash’s team said it was not her who had forged the documentation.
This certificate was not provided by her personally, and she did not request it. It was requested by a member of our team. We are now understanding within the team how this certificate was obtained, what the certificate is and how it appeared in public.Representative for Alina Pash
In response to the allegations, UA:PBC posted on social media saying they are waiting for more information from the USBGS.
Ukraine’s Eurovision journey
Ukraine is one of the most successful countries to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest. The country has scored seven top-five placements, with an extra three top-ten finishes. Ukraine won the Contest in 2004 with Ruslana’s “Wild Dances” and again in 2016 with Jamala’s “1944”. Jamala’s win made history for Ukraine, as it became the first ex-Soviet country to win the Contest more than once.
In 2021, Go_A represented Ukraine in the 65th edition of the Contest with their song “SHUM”. The band scored 364 points, finishing in fifth place.
What do you make of the drama in Ukraine? Should Alina Pash be allowed to compete in Turin? If not, who from the national selection represent Ukraine? As always, let us know what you think by commenting below. Also, be sure to follow ‘That Eurovision Site’ on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for all things Ukraine.
News Source: Suspilne
Photo Credit: UA: PBC / EBU
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