Following its invasion of Ukraine on Thursday 23 February, the EBU stated that it would allow Russia to participate in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest in May. This decision was met with considerable backlash from the ESC community and beyond. Consequently, multiple EBU member broadcasters are calling on those in charge to reverse their decision.
Broadcasters Release Statements on Russia’s Participation
Swedish broadcaster SVT released a statement on Thursday condeming Russia’s participation, while their CEO Hanna Stjärne commented that the situation in Ukraine “crosses all boundaries”.
Today, several broadcasters took similar stances. DMGP Editor-in-Chief Gustav Lützhøft made Danish broadcaster DR’s position clear in an interview with Ekstra Bladet:
We disagree with the EBU’s assessment in this case. Given the very serious situation in Ukraine right now, we find it incompatible with Eurovision’s values that Russia is participating.Gustav Lützhøft, DMGP Editor-in-Chief
Norwegian broadcaster NRK also released a statement, with their broadcasting director Thor Gjermund Eriksen stating that “Russia can not participate in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest as a result of the invasion of Ukraine”. Lithuanian broadcaster LRT also adopted a similar stance. LRT General Director Monika Garbačiauskaitė-Budrienė indicated that they would invite other countries to make a joint call for the EBU to ban Russia.
Russia’s attack towards Ukraine is against all the values, that Yle and other European broadcasters represent. Yle will always defend western democracy, the principle of constitutional state, freedom of speech and human dignity. Yle cannot participate in an event, where Russia, a country that has radically violated these values, can use one of the most famous brands of Europe for their own agenda. I hope that EBU will act based on its own values here.Ville Vilén , Director of YLE’s Creative Content and Media Unit; translated to English by Alina (@alinaelomaa on Instagram)
Meanwhile, Finland will choose its 2022 Eurovision entrant this weekend via their selection show, UMK.
Calls to Expel Russia from the EBU
In addition to disqualifying Russia from the 2022 contest, some broadcasters additionally called for the EBU to expel Russia’s membership entirely.
Ukrainian broadcaster UA:PBC stated that the EBU should expel Russia because their member broadcasters Channel One and VDTRK are acting as “a mouthpiece for the Kremlin” and “a key tool of political propaganda” during the invastion.
And just this morning, Dutch broadcaster AVROTROS also called for Russia’s expulsion.
The full statement in English reads:
“Personally and also as director of AVROTROS I no longer want to remain silent. This is the time when Europe must unite and show what we stand for.
Russia’s military actions are no longer about politics; this is a gross violation of universal values such as sovereignty and human rights. I also ask other countries to speak out and call on the EBU to suspend Russia from EBU membership, so that they can no longer participate in the Eurovision Song Contest in Turin.”Eric van Stade, Director General of AVROTROS
Eurovision Artists Speak Up
Finally, one of the voices calling for the EBU to disinvite Russia from the 2022 contest is Citi Zeni. The band won the right to represent Latvia at Eurovision 2022 via Supernova earlier this month.
In a statement posted to Twitter, the band wrote that ‘”the sound of beauty” cannot become the “sound of war”‘.
What are your thoughts on this developing situation? Should the EBU disallow Russia from Eurovision 2022? Let us know in the comments or on social media. Be sure to follow THAT Eurovision Site on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
News Sources: Göteborgs Posten, Ekstra Bladet, NRK, YLE, UA:PBC, AVROTROS, Citi Zeni
Photo Source: Eurovision.tv