Last month, a campaign was launched urging the EBU to remove Belarus from Eurovision 2021 due to ongoing political tensions in the country. The EBUs Director General has responded saying that the contest “is a music competition with no political agenda”.
The campaign was launched by the Belarusian Culture Solidarity Foundation, which was formed in October by Siarhei Budkin, to provide support for the cultural community in Belarus. The country’s opposition leader, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, has also supported the campaign, saying that she will raise BTRC’s EBU membership with EU Foreign Ministers.
No removal from the contest at this time
In a letter to Siarhei Budkin, the EBU’s Director General Noel Curran said that they have formally requested that the Belarusian broadcaster BTRC “defend professional journalistic values… to ensure citizens have access to information that enables them to hear a plurality of views and form their own independent judgements”.
Curran also addressed the decision by BTRC to not invite VAL back to Eurovision 2021 saying that, “a number of contestants selected for 2020 by participating broadcasters are not returning for 2021”. He added that the Eurovision Song Contest has “no political agenda” and that the EBU “consistently and vigorously resist attempts for this cultural event to be instrumentalised for political ends”.
The CEO of the Belarusian Culture Solidarity Foundation has responded to the letter on Twitter saying that, “if the EBU is ‘independent from politics’, then how can it include an organisation that has repeatedly violated human rights and international law?”
Belarus in the Eurovision Song Contest
Making their debut in 2004 with “My Galileo”, Belarus didn’t make their first Eurovision final until 2007. In Helsinki, Dmitry Koldun secured a sixth-place finish with “Work Your Magic” – this remains the country’s best result to date.
They have since made five more finals – including, most recently, in 2019 when ZENA scored 31 points in the final, and finished in 24th place overall with her song, “Like It”.
Last year, VAL were selected to take part in the contest for Belarus with “Da vidna” – which would have only been the country’s second song in Belarusian after “Story of My Life” in 2017. Unfortunately, the contest was cancelled and VAL weren’t invited back for the 2021 contest.
Do you think the EBU has made the right decision? Would you like to see Belarus take part this year?
Let us know in the comments below and on social media @ESCXTRA.