Just when we thought that it was all said and done, there’s another twist in the Russia Eurovision story. Russian media now report that Russia may be disqualified from entering Eurovision 2018.
According to TASS.RU, David Goodman, a senior EBU spokesman, has said that it’s possible for the EBU to take this action. This decision can only be made, however, after this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv.
Disqualification would come on the grounds of Russia’s Channel One refusing to broadcast the 2017 contest. The broadcaster, of course, took this action following Julia Samoylova’s ban from entering Ukraine.
There’s been no decision made just yet, though. As Goodman says: “Now the EBU’s attention is focused on this year’s contest. Any decision regarding actions that can or cannot be taken in this situation will be rendered after the event itself.”
Russia has previously been banned from Eurovision for this reason. Having been relegated from the 1998 contest, Channel One attempted to return in 1999. However, they were unable to as they refused to broadcast the 1998 contest.
Channel One did indeed broadcast the 1999 contest, despite not competing. This allowed for them to return with Alsou in 2000.
The broadcaster doesn’t seem too worried, though. According to bloknot.ru, Konstantin Ernst, CEO of Channel One, has already assured the public that Julia will participate in Eurovision 2018.
Ernst also noted that the channel is losing a lot by refusing to broadcast the contest. Ernst stressed that Russia is still paying contributions to the European Broadcasting Union for membership despite not competing. Failure to pay this membership was the reason for Romania’s disqualification in 2016.
The EBU has also relaxed their rules on this topic before. For 2014, the EBU attempted to woo Turkey back to the contest by offering them a chance to return, despite not broadcasting the 2013 contest (ostensibly due to Finland’s lesbian kiss).
A poll on the Blonkot website perhaps suggests that the Russian public aren’t too bothered about a return, either. The poll asks if Eurovision is important for Russia. At the time of writing, only 7.41% of respondents supported the answer “Yes”.
What do you think about this latest issue for Russia at Eurovision? Do you think they should be allowed to return in 2018 regardless of whether they broadcast the show? Shout out your thoughts on the wiwibloggs app or in the comments section below!