Only a few days ago, German newspaper Sonntagsblick reported that the EBU threatened to remove Ukraine from future Eurovision events if they upheld their entry-ban on Yulia Samoylova. Today, Ukrainian newspaper Kiev Vlast has leaked a letter sent by Ingrid Deltenre, the EBU chief, to Volodymyr Groysman, the Ukrainian Prime Minister.
The letter is dated 23 March, which is only a day after the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) announced Samoylova’s ban.
Summarising The Letter
Deltenre says that, if the Ukrainian authorities confirm the ban, it would have a “big negative impact” on Ukraine’s international reputation as a modern and democratic European nation. She also talks about the damage that the ban would inflict on the Eurovision Song Contest itself and the EBU, and that several countries have already threatened to withdraw due to the controversy.
Deltenre points out that no previous host country has prevented an artist from performing, and that the EBU would not like this to start in 2017. She reiterates that Samoylova’s ban is “unacceptable”, as previously reported, and it may result in the Ukrainian broadcaster from being excluded from future events.
The Full Letter
The full letter, which the EBU have confirmed to us as genuine, is as follows:
“Dear Prime Minister,
We’d like to draw your attention to the Russian delegation’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest and particularly to the Russian artist, Ms Julia Samoylova’s, participation.
The EBU was made aware yesterday that the security authorities – without consultation with the EBU – have issued a three-year ban on Ms Samoylova – entering Ukraine. We ask you to intervene and make sure that the Russian artist can enter Ukraine in May to take part.
The ban would certainly have a very big negative impact on Ukraine’s international reputation as a modern, democratic European Nation. Needless to say that we are also concerned for the damage to the Eurovision Song Contest and the European Broadcasting Union.
The current situation is causing anger among our Members. We have received communication from a number of them criticizing the decision and considering to withdraw from the event.
No previous host country has prevented an artist from performing at the Eurovision Song Contest. The EBU would not like Ukraine to set a precedent in 2017. We consider the current ban of the Russian singer as unacceptable. As a result the UAPBC might be excluded from future events.
We would like to ask for your help and intervention on this particular issue and ask that you exceptionally intervene. Please confirm that Ms Samoylova will be able to take part in this year’s Contest under the same conditions as the other delegations.
As we have mentioned in our public statements, the EBU fully understands and respects the laws of Ukraine. However, we have also understood that, from the dialogue we have had with the authorities since last June, Ukraine will make all in order for all 43 delegations to be able to attend and that you will guarantee their safety. This would be under the condition that they pose no threat.
We have not been made aware of any information that Julia Samoylova poses a security threat to Ukraine.
The EBU does everything it can to make sure that the Eurovision Song Contest remains a non-political event. We are increasingly frustrated, in fact angry, that the Security Service of Ukraine are using this year’s competition as tool in the ongoing confrontation between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.
Please be aware that should we not be able to find an agreeable solution to this matter it will without doubt place the future participation of Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest under threat.
We are confident that you understand the urgency of this situation and that you will quickly find a solution.
Looking forward to hearing from you promptly on your decision.
The Effect of The Letter
The leak of this letter could help to rebuild the EBU’s credibility; fans criticized them greatly for not making a strong statement on this controversy. The letter shows that they were trying to handle the situation quietly, and not involve the public.
What do you think of the letter? Is it reasonable? Let us know in the comments!