Eurovision, the annual international pop song competition between member states of the European Broadcasting Union, will take place in Kyiv in May 2017. However, Russian participant Yulia Samoylova may not be allowed into Ukraine, because in 2015 the singer violated Ukrainian legislation: she performed in the annexed Crimea in violation of the procedure established by Ukraine.
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) announced previously that it is “making an informed decision about the entry of Samoylova into Ukrainian territory” for Eurovision. But on March 20, Vasyl Hrytsak, head of the SBU, said that his department has already prepared documents to ban Yulia Samoylova from entering Ukraine.
“At this moment a decision regarding her entering or not entering Ukraine has not yet been made, although I will reveal that the relevant document has already been prepared,” Hrytsak said.
The SBU representative also pointed out that he personally considers her entry into Ukraine inappropriate. According to him, not only has Samoylova visited the Crimea, she has also made posts on social networks commenting on Ukraine, its government, and the adopted Euro-Atlantic integration policy.
“My position is clear, the law must be the same for everyone… I think that she should not enter into Ukraine,” Hrytsak said.
Dmitry Peskov, Press Secretary to the Russian President, commented on the situation on behalf of Russia. He stated that Russia will not change the Russian participant in the 2017 Eurovision in Kyiv, if Samoylova is not allowed into Ukraine on account of visiting the Crimea.
“I don’t know what our organizers’ decision is, but as far as I understand, no ‘substitution’ option exists,” Peskov said.
On the same day, the Russian Channel One reported that the Russian Eurovision delegation had supposedly received official confirmation from Ukraine that Yulia Samoylova will not be banned from entering Ukrainian territory. Channel One also reported that information about Samoylova’s admission into Kyiv for participation in the contest had been received the previous week by the Russian side. However, the TV channel did not specify where this information came from.
Later, Channel One’s press service refuted the information about the admission. The channel’s press secretary Larisa Krymova said that “no notifications have been received from the Ukrainian authorities”.
Yulia Samoylova does not consider herself at all guilty for performing in the Crimea, and believes that it was a regular concert, which many artists took part in.
Samoylova’s Ukrainian colleague Jamala, winner of Eurovision 2016, commented on the possible participant from Russia as follows:
“No matter how we treat this concert, by calling it musical, when you go out with your flag, it’s already politics. And in this case you need to push your ambitions further, because a country wins.”
Last year, Eurovision took place in Sweden. The contest was not without its own scandals. Russia demanded that the Ukrainian participant Jamala be banned from singing the song “1944”, which is dedicated to the tragic deportation of the Crimean Tatars. The request for the song to be banned was not successful, but during translation, the Russian Channel One commentator distorted the meaning of the song, saying that it was about how people leave their homeland in search of a better life. This was the song which won, receiving 534 points.