Russia Allowed to Compete in Eurovision Despite Ukraine Invasion
The Eurovision Song Contest has announced that Russia will still be allowed to compete in this year’s event despite the country’s invasion of Ukraine. In a statement, organizers described Eurovision as a “non-political cultural event.”
Eurovision Allows Russia to Compete in 2022
After Russian forces invaded Ukraine on Thursday, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) released a statement explaining that both countries will be included in the Eurovision Song Contest later this year, adding that they will “continue to monitor the situation closely.”
“The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political cultural event which unites nations and celebrates diversity through music,” the statement reads. “The EBU’s public broadcaster members in both Russia and Ukraine have committed to participating in this year’s event in Turin and we are currently planning to welcome artists from both countries to perform in May.”
This year’s competition will take place in Turin, Italy, from May 10 to May 14. This year marks the 66th version of the songwriting contest. The EBU added in another statement that it “will not hesitate to condemn any infringements or violations of press freedom” surrounding this year’s contest.
Ukraine’s National Broadcaster Objects to Russia’s Inclusion
According to Variety, Ukraine’s national broadcaster UA:PBC requested that Russia be excluded from this year’s competition. Mykola Chernotytsky, the chair of UA:PBC’s board, wrote an open letter to the EBU president Delphine Ernotte Cunci on the subject.
“We would like to emphasize that the Eurovision Song Contest was created after the Second World War to unite Europe,” Chernotytsky wrote. “In view of this, Russia’s participation as an aggressor and violator of international law in this year’s Eurovision undermines the very idea of the competition.”
The letter also points out that Russia’s participation in Eurovision is “provided by the All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company, which is an instrument of the Kremlin’s power in the information war against Ukraine and constantly violates journalistic standards underlying public broadcasting.”
If the EBU’s decision holds until May, Russia and Ukraine will be two out of 41 total countries competing in this year’s contest. That also includes Armenia and Montenegro, which were absent from last year’s competition.