Friday, April 14, 2017

Russia Bars

From the BBC:
"Eurovision: Russia will not broadcast contest after Ukraine ban"

Russian broadcaster Channel One will not broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest next month because the country's singer has been barred from host country Ukraine. Russia's decision removes any chance of it competing this year, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said. Ukraine is refusing to allow Julia Samoilova to perform at Eurovision because she has visited Crimea, the peninsula seized by Russia in 2014. The EBU has condemned the ban. It says Ukraine is undermining the non-political nature of the contest. The union, which produces Eurovision, said it had offered two possible solutions to Channel One. The proposals were for Ms Samoilova to perform via satellite from Russia or for another contestant to be allowed to travel to Ukraine to take her place. Both were rejected and the broadcaster has now announced it will not televise the event. "Unfortunately this means Russia will no longer be able to take part in this year's competition," the EBU said. "We very much wanted all 43 countries to be able to participate and did all we could to achieve this."  Ukraine banned the Russian performer under a law which excludes anyone who entered Crimea via Russia. Frank Dieter Freiling, chairman of the event's steering committee, said the ban "thoroughly undermines the integrity and non-political nature" of the contest and its mission to unite nations in friendly competition. But he added: "Our top priority remains to produce a spectacular Eurovision Song Contest in May."  Russia and Ukraine have been at loggerheads since the annexation of Crimea and the subsequent separatist conflict in east Ukraine which Moscow is accused of stoking. Ukraine is hosting Eurovision because its singer, Jamala, won in Sweden last year. She took the crown with 1944, a song about Josef Stalin's mass deportation of Crimean Tatars during World War Two. The alleged political overtones of the song annoyed many Russians. Moscow is especially irked by the ban on Samoilova, 28, as she uses a wheelchair and the slogan of this year's Eurovision is "Celebrate diversity".

^ Russia not broadcasting Eurovision does nothing more than remove Russia from the contest. I know they believe they are making a broad statement, but in reality no one outside of Russia will care. Russia is seen around the world as an aggressor (for the Crimea, the Donbas, Syria, doping, hacking, etc.) and that is all people will remember. I am sure Julia Samoilova is just a pawn in all of this and that's sad, but she did go to the Crimea (which was invaded, occupied and annexed by Russia, but not recognized by the Ukraine or 99% of the UN) and she did break Ukrainian law in doing so. Laws are laws whether you agree with them or not. ^

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