VAL, who were chosen to represent Belarus in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2020 will not return to compete in Rotterdam in 2021.
This has come after relations between the group and the Belarusian state broadcaster BTRC have broken down due to “non conformist” attitudes by VAL in their opposition to the current president Alexander Lukashenko. Lukashenko happens to own BTRC and can freely control the operations of the broadcaster.
The breakdown of the relationship came to a head after two sets of statements were released by VAL and the broadcaster BTRC. In the interview with VAL, the band have stated that the broadcaster has become distant with them. This subsequently lead to BTRC to issue their own rebuttal over these claims.
BTRC ended their communication with a really damning statement regarding VAL. They had this to say.
After reading the interview, we want to say only one thing. The VAL group will really not go to Eurovision 2021 and this will happen not because something “broke” on BT or the censorship is raging, but because the artists of the VAL group have no conscience
This is what VAL had to say regarding a “contract” they had with BTRC in representing Belarus.
Lera: We almost signed it. But we had an unspoken agreement. For example, we could not give interviews to individual journalists or appear on some channels. It turns out that we have already broken this rule.
Vlad: All the artists [who represented Belarus at Eurovision before] have consistently fulfilled these contracts without violations throughout the year: they drove to state concerts and so on. We knew that if we didn’t show up at such a concert, then with a 99% probability they would choose a new artist next year. This is intimidation that is not directly discussed, but implied. Is it really? We could take a chance and check, but we wanted to represent Belarus at the competition, so we had concerns.
As you can clearly see, VAL did not have a formal contract with the broadcaster. On the other hand they were really enthusiastic on representing Belarus on the big stage. BTRC had this in response.
The contract, which is concluded between Belteleradiocompany and the representative of Belarus at the Eurovision Song Contest, does not contain any requirements for participation or non-participation in concerts, whether public or private.
In standard contracts, it is purely about the preparation and participation in the competition, participation in television projects is provided. But we did not contact the VAL group for any reason. We would like to emphasize that Belteleradiocompany has nothing to do with the organization of Slavianski Bazaar concerts, as well as state events with the participation of artists.
Sometimes we act as a broadcaster at such events. And this is the maximum. We do not care where you performed, perform and will perform.
It doesn’t end there.
BTRC continued in their criticism of VAL’s claims. Especially in regards to the lack of support issued to the duo.
The “remote” work of BT consisted in the fact that we had negotiations with some of the best directors of Eurovision. As a result: the performance for the artists was to be directed by the director of the winner of Eurovision 2014 Conchita Wurst and the performances of Austria at Eurovision 2018 (3rd place) Marvin Dietman, and the famous Cypriot Alex Panayi was to become the vocal teacher. At the same time, Belteleridiocompany was ready to pay for the work of specialists, which is not at all necessary under a contract. And this is not to mention the numerous broadcasts and diaries of Eurovision, which became additional PR for the artists.
We did it all from the heart. In vain.
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