When Lithuania gave Russia’s Polina Gagarina exactly zero points at Eurovision 2015, the message seemed to go beyond “We don’t like your song”. There were distinct overtones of “Step away from our border!”
The lack-of-love came down to the jury of five music professionals, who account for 50% of the overall score, and not the Lithuanian public, who account for the remainder. Lithuanian televoters ranked Polina and her song “A Million Voices” third, but the Lithuanian jury placed her 20th — meaning she finished 11th in Lithuania and earned no points. That’s out of line with public will and, given that Polina finished second in the final, broader European tastes.
After Eurovision, the Russian press has been very critical of how the Lithuanian jury voted.
Alexei Denisenkov, a columnist for Komsomolskaya Pravda, was the most explicit.
Several years ago I thought Lithuania the most loyal to Russia of the Baltic states. To be rank, the Baltic Republics never felt much warmth for our country and its people, but Lithuania was usually less hostile than the others….I had thought that all the negativity was nothing more than the government’s rhetoric and journalists’ invention, but no: Eurovision or, more preicsely, its most intriguing part, the voting, showed that the patient is seriously ill. Propaganda has done its work: Polina Gagarina’s objectively strong song did not get any points from the Lithuanians because of the anti-Russian jury.
Others have alleged that Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite, who oversees a pro-European political coalition, instructed jurors to vote against Polina in order to protest Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
As Delfi reports, President Grybauskaite brushed those allegations aside, joking, “If what they say is true, then I must be really influential.”
Lithuania: Eurovision 2015 jury-televote split
Lithuanian Juror responds
Lauras Luciunas, one of Lithuania’s jurors, has subsequently spoken out. As Delfi reports, Luciunas says politics had nothing to do with his low ranking of the song: he simply didn’t like Polina’s performance.
“I have no taste for far-fetched and over-acted songs. I prefer songs performed by singers, not by actors. What was so special about that song?”
“Let me underscore that we [jury members] do not have to justify ourselves to anyone. Including Russia. We should finally rid ourselves of this odd complex. The French did not ring me up to say I gave too few points, nor did anyone else.”
What do you make of all this? Do you believe the allegations against Lithuania’s jurors? Or do you think they’re full of hot air? Let us know below!