It’s the landlocked Eastern European nation, that sent a song in Belarusian to Eurovision for the first time last year and finished 17th on the night of the grand final.
But this year, Belarus won’t be represented by a Belorussian. Instead Ukrainian popstar Alekseev will fly the flag for Minsk at the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Lisbon. Now the country’s President, Alexander Lukashenko, has intervened after criticism over Alekseev’s selection.
Speaking to BelTA, Lukashenko said:
“I am okay with a Ukranian singer representing Belarus at the Eurovision Song Contest. There is nothing bad in it [a non-Belarusian representing the country], especially when this is a Russian or Ukrainian person.”
Lukashenko added that as a self-styled “internationalist”, he thinks Alekseev’s participation will be a good thing for the state. Alekseev’s popularity in the former Soviet states could also help secure 12 points from nations like Russia and Ukraine.
Belarus at the Eurovision Song Contest
Lukashenko also discussed his decision for the country to participate at Eurovision. He said he sees it as a way for the world to see Belarus and to make a statement.
The former Soviet state has a mixed track record at Eurovision, qualifying from the semi-finals on four occasions since 2007, including a 6th place finish at the final in 2007 with “Work Your Magic”. Naviband last year made it to the Grand Final for the first time in two years.
Alekseev is currently on an extensive promotional tour of Europe. He’s set to perform his entry “Forever” in seven nations, after recently performing in Baku, Azerbaijan. He’ll visit the Netherlands, Lithuania, Spain, the United Kingdom, Estonia, Moldova and Israel.
“Forever” faces stiff competition in Semi-Final 1, which many Eurofans anticipate will be the more competitive of the two semi-finals this year. Alekseev will perform in the first half of the semi-final on May 8.