Just two days ago, Russia announced that Julia Samoylova had been internally selected to represent her country at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. The X Factor Russia star will perform her inspirational ballad Flame Is Burning in the second semi-final in Kyiv on May 11th. Julia will hope to qualify for the grand final two days later. Nevertheless, it now seems Julia’s participation at the contest is under threat.
Julia reportedly performed in Crimea in 2015
It is believed that Julia performed in Crimea on June 27th 2015 at the World of Sport and Good concert. According to Ukrainian laws, a special permit must be obtained in order for an artist to perform in what is considered by Ukraine as “temporarily occupied territory”. It is believed that, as a supporter of the Russian annexation of Crimea, Julia did not obtain such a permit thus crossing the Crimean border illegally according to the Ukrainian legislation.
Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister, Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, has stated that “all participants must comply with Ukrainian laws”. As a result, he says the situation around Samoylova “requires additional study by the Ukrainian secret services” and this process is already ongoing.
Proposals to allow Julia to enter Ukraine
Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, has proposed to allow the Russian participant to enter the country. However, as part of the proposal, Samoylova would have to pay a fine upon entering Ukraine for previously violating Ukrainian legislation.
Dmitry Peskov, the official representative of the Russian president, states that he believes that “practically everyone” has visited Crimea at some point. In addition he states that “this is an international contest, and the host country should probably follow the rules based on which this contest is held”.
EBU: The ultimate decision belongs to the Ukrainian government
Peskov is presumably referring to the EBU’s recently announced stance on the situation. Jon Ola Sand, the executive supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, has today stated in a press conference that “we fully respect and understand the laws of Ukraine, but from the point of European Broadcasting Union (EBU) we have no objections to the Russian delegation and do not see any violations on their part.”
However, the EBU are giving the final decision to the Ukrainian government as to whether Julia can enter the country to compete in May and that the EBU will “respect” any decision made.
What do you make of this difficult situation? Should Julia be allowed to enter Ukraine and compete at the contest in May? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below and via our social media pages @escXtra.