Should Russia be allowed to participate in Eurovision 2022?

Organisers have given tentative approval for Russia to participate in Eurovision 2022, despite the Ukrainian invasion.

Should Russia be excluded from Eurovision 2022? With nearly 1,400 arrests occurring at anti-war protests throughout Russian cities, there is an obviously overt objection within Russia over Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Despite Russia’s aggressive actions, at present organisers of the Eurovision song contest have said that Russia will be allowed to participate.

Photo by Jordy Brada

In a statement given to NPR, organisers of the event, the international public media association called the European Broadcast Union, said: “The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political cultural event. The EBU is however concerned about current events in Ukraine and will continue to closely monitor the situation.”

Framing Eurovision, a global contest, as non-political may be just wishful thinking or a conservative estimate aimed at de-escalation.

On Thursday, the Ukrainian public broadcast network (UA: PBC) stated in an open letter to the EBU, that Russian media should be removed from the contest as it is “a mouthpiece for the Kremlin and a key tool of political propaganda financed from the Russian state budget”.

The same letter also requested that Russia’s 2022 competitor be removed from the contest, although Russia is yet to announce a participant.

Despite comments from the organisers of the Eurovision song contest, it is increasingly becoming a proxy for political tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Last week, the UA: PBC terminated its agreement with Ukrainian singer, Alina Pash, who had been her country’s intended 2022 Eurovision contestant prior to current escalations.

In 2015, Pash toured in Crimea, which is illegal under Ukrainian law since Vladimir Putin’s 2014 occupation of the region. Protestors are claiming that she is un-Ukrainian, and the documents upon which she travelled Crimea are currently being scrutinised for their validity.

Pash said, “I’m a Ukrainian girl. I’m talking in Ukrainian, and my song is about Ukraine”.