In 2009, Ukrainian-born Anastasia Prikhodko sang for Russia at Eurovision. Her selection wasn’t just unique because she was born in Kyiv. It was unique because she sang for Russia at the first Eurovision it hosted. That transformed her into a Russian national hero, if only for a few weeks, and made her a staple of television chat shows.
Fast-forward to 2014, however, and she’s now Russia’s public enemy #1. According to Radio Free Europe, her star has fallen in the land of Dima Bilan, and she has become “the target of a mudslinging campaign in the Russian media, which have singled her out as one of the country’s greatest foes.”
On August 31, Russia’s NTV aired a program called “17 Friends of the Junta”, which portrayted Anastasiya as an anti-Russian rebel. It included footage of her estranged Russian grandmother crying and describing her granddaughter as a source of shame for the family. Separately, the Russian singer Iosif Kobzon described her 2009 Eurovision performance as “disgraceful” and called her a “street girl…who swears like a prostitute.”
Anastasia is keeping her cool.
“I find it funny watching how Russian media are agonizing,” she told Radio Free Europe. “The very name of the program is laughable.”
Her father may be Russian, but Kyiv-born Prikhodko has shown allegiance to Ukraine from the very start of the Ukraine-Russia conflict last December.
“I first demonstrated my political stance when I sang at the Maidan on December 14,” she said. “At the time, [Viktor] Yanukovych was still president and we risked losing everything. But for us, the future of our country took precedence over our own.”
As we previously reported, Prikhodko is among the Ukrainian Eurovision stars who has toured the east of the country, where Russian separatist forces have wreaked havoc. She’s been outspoken on Twitter, and has been repeatedly photographed in Ukrainian colours. Recently she was seen holding a puppy who had lost its home in one devestated region. She has continued the right with music, unveiling a song entitled “Heroes Don’t Die”.
Anastasia, who rose to fame after winning Russia’s Star Factory in 2007, says she won’t be returning to Moscow: “I won’t sing for the occupiers.”