April 16, 2017
The wheelchair-bound singer Julia Samoylova was selected to represent Russia in Eurovision Song Contest, which will be hosted in Kiev this May, but was banned from entering Ukraine by the country’s authorities due to her past performance at the sport festival in Crimea.
The Ukrainian SBU security service won’t let the singer enter the country for three years due to her ‘illegal visit’. By new Ukranian law, those who entered Crimea not through the Ukrainian side, get banned from entering Ukraine.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) told Russian television station Channel One that they were unable to resolve the dispute. As a result, Russia decided to pull out of the competition altogether and also refused to broadcast the show in the country this year.
The Ukranian side suggested that Russia would change the contestant, while the Eurovision organizers offered an option of a satellite performance from Samoylova but the Russian side turned down the offers. Russian foreign ministry official, Grigory Karasin, has called the decision to bar the singer “outrageous, cynical and inhuman”.
It’s not the first time Ukraine doesn’t let Russian artists into the country, considering them anti-Ukrainian. According to Ria, a total of 140 Russian cultural figures are in Ukraine’s blacklist: from the point of view of the country’s authorities, these people “create the threat to national security”.
Frank Dieter Freiling, the chair of the Eurovision reference group, critisized Ukraine’s ultimatum, underlining that they “strongly condemn the Ukrainian authorities’ decision to impose a travel ban on Julia Samoylova”. Freiling added that it “thoroughly undermines the integrity and non-political nature of the Eurovision song contest and its mission to bring all nations together in friendly competition.”
Samoylova was going to present a life-asserting song ‘Flame Is Burning’ at the competition. When she found out about the Ukraine’s refusal to let her travel to Kiev, she said:
“Of course, I was very upset. But I didn’t cry: I never lose heart and hang my head. If I were a cry-baby like that, I would have never achieved anything”. The contestant adds: “And I’m sure that sooner or later I will travel to Eurovision and present Russia with honor at this competition”.
The 27-year-old singer suffers with spinal muscular atrophy – she doesn’t have function in her legs and uses a wheelchair. Samoylova became a runner-up in 2013′ season of Faktor A, the Russian version of X Factor.
You won’t see Julia Samoylova on Eurovision this year but you can check out the video with the song below.
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