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Yulia Samoylova to Perform in Crimea During the First Semi-Final of Eurovision 2017

The controversy surrounding the Russian participation at this year’s Eurovision ended two weeks ago, after Russia withdrew. However, Russia have now had the last laugh, as they have invited Yulia Samoylova, their would-be participant in Kyiv, to perform in Russian-annexed Crimea on the same day as the first semi-final of this year’s Eurovision.
The Russian news agency Bloknot have announced that Samoylova will return to Crimea to perform in Sevastopol during the Victory Day celebrations on 9th May.  This is after the Security Service of Ukraine banned her from entering Ukraine completely for three-years, as she broke Ukrainian law by travelling to Russian-annexed Crimea in 2015 without travelling through Ukraine first. See our timeline of the controversy at the bottom of this article.

Government statements

The man whom Russia refers to as the Prime Minister of the Republic of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, has said:

“Ukraine should be deprived of the right to hold Eurovision, it would be right and just. And Yulia, you’re invited to come more often to the Russian Crimea.”

What does Yulia have to say?

Samoylova has stayed positive despite the controversy. To the Russian broadcaster, Channel One, she said:

“The support is unreal, it’s not just Russia either — it’s from all over the world. In Japan, they draw me like an anime hero!”

“It’s upsetting because it’s my dream, but I believe in hope. I believe I will go to Eurovision again. I want my example to inspire people, to inspire them to not surrender in any situation, live a full life and follow their dreams.”

Samoylova has indeed been invited by Channel One to represent Russia at Eurovision next year with a new song.

Timeline of the Russia-Ukraine controversy

  • 27th June 2015 – Yulia Samoylova performs at the World of Sport and Good concert in Russian-annexed Crimea.
  • 12th March 2017 – Russia announce Yulia Samoylova as their participant at the Eurovision Song Contest 2017.
  • 14th March 2017 – Ukrainian government find that Samoylova illegally entered Crimea in 2015. The EBU announce that the Ukrainian government are to decide whether Samoylova will participate.
  • 22nd March 2017 – The Ukrainian government ban Samoylova from entering Ukraine for three years.
  • 23rd March 2017 – The EBU offer Russia the opportunity to perform via satellite. Later that same day, Channel One rejects the offer.
  • 27th March 2017 – The Eurovision Reference Group chairman says that the Ukrainian government are yet to confirm Samoylova’s ban.
  • 29th March 2017 – The EBU chief, Ingrid Deltenre, describes Ukraine’s behaviour as “absolutely unacceptable”.
  • 13th April 2017 – Russia officially withdraws from the Eurovision Song Contest 2017.
  • 9th May 2017 – Samoylova to perform in Russian-annexed in Crimea at Victory Day celebrations.

What do you think of the Russia-Ukraine controversy this year? Is Samoylova performing in Russian-annexed Crimea on the same day as the first semi-final of Eurovision just a coincidence? Let us know what you think below!

Luke Malam

I've watched Eurovision for as long as I can remember, but my interest really built in 2008, after I decided to watch the semifinals online, out of boredom, before the final...I was blown away by the quality of the show and have been hooked ever since! I'm a competitive trampolinist and I love baking. I've also just completed a master's degree in Research Methods in Psychology at University College London.

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