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In May he was among those cheering the loudest when Jamala won Eurovision 2016, bringing the contest back to Ukraine and giving state broadcaster NTU an opportunity to bask in the international spotlight.

But those happy memories turned sour on Tuesday as Zurab Alasania — NTU’s General Director for the past two years — announced that he was resigning from his role over the effects of lingering budget cuts just months before Eurovision…one of the most expensive and significant events the country has ever hosted.

His full resignation letter was published this morning by Ukrainian web site MediaPort, which Zurab founded in 2006, and he subsequently shared it publicly via his Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Writing that the public broadcaster needs “clean air in an environment poisoned by industry,” he makes several heated points about the broadcaster’s limited budget and how it must do so much with so little. The great expense of Eurovision — an event he loves and thinks will be good for the country — brings into sharper focus the budgetary restraints he and the system face.

He is fuming at the government for taking the ESC budget out of the station’s regular budget, barely leaving anything for him to run the station on for the next year. It would have been on him to make ESC and the general station business happen despite the crunch. So he’s quitting in protest.

He writes:

The government (through the Ministry of Finance) have included the Eurovision into the annual  2017 budget of the National Public Broadcasting Company.

Thus, out of €42,8 m prescribed by the law for the development of the Public Broadcaster in 2017, the government takes away €16 m for the Eurovision costs, €8,9 m as payment for transmission, €5,3 m by taxing and the city takes €1,6 m  through utility bills. Another €4 m a priori goes for international activities (Olympic Games, world championships, etc.).

What remains is €7 m. Authorities, are you serious?

Is that for the reconstruction of 32 outdated, obsolete and outmoded companies? It means zero for production and an average salary of €81  from that remaining amount. Shall we tell the country and the whole world that we are building Public Service Broadcasting after that?

 

There is a very strong suggestion that the government could provide more money if the powers-that-be wanted to share it in the name of public service.

In our country one can administrate (not a very tidy verb to use, is it?) with impunity, even billions. But only if you belong to the authorities or are close to it. Negotiate — and everything will be as it should: you will both do the work and make sure you don’t lose out on anything.

But otherwise… You will be punished for everything.

He ends his letter by making it clear he wants to raise awareness about the issue, perhaps to encourage the government to deploy its resources more effectively, and not simply to burn the building down as he walks out of the door.

Perhaps in this way I might be able to attract attention to the problems with the budget of Eurovision and the future Public Service Broadcaster’s budget.

This act is not blackmail of the authorities, it is rather an assumption that the transition period in the company must be overseen by a person who is more open to compromise, flexible, capable to deal, negotiating conflicting interests and interested parties.

However, we do not give up work, the next two weeks will be spent handing over the business to the newly-appointed chief. Yes, unfortunately, the new chief will not be elected by the Supervisory Board, but still appointed by the state.

I am enormously grateful to everyone who walked side by side, with whom I worked together and who took punches and honestly did their job.

I thank my colleagues who despite everything do not give us a head start and carefully monitor and treat us so critically as if the yet-state-owned company played with commercial companies on equal terms.

I also thank our viewers and listeners for not only expecting changes but also supporting them by not leaving us disregarded.

His resignation comes one day after a new “wealth declaration system” revealed that top government officials have huge stashes of currency, collections of weapons, rare Fabergé eggs and, in the case of one politician, an entire church. Critics have said it all points to the corruption of the political elite.

Will Zurab’s resignation send NTU into a tailspin with just months to go before Eurovision? Do you think his resignation will impact the quality of this year’s show? And will long-serving Deputy General Director Victoria Romanova — a very familiar face at Eurovision — be appointed his successor? Let us know in the comments box below.

Read more Ukraine Eurovision news

 

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Lady Gagarina
Lady Gagarina
4 years ago

@Pollaski so should Russians be the only one offended when a cheating country enters a political song, which is entirely against the rules? No, everyone should despise someone who flauts the rules, period. I guess next year, other peoples should send a song how the Crimeans collaborated with Nazis. They are the ones who started this mess by sending that ISIS-rave song, so they deserve scorn for this as well as for being financially & morally bankrupt as a country & as a people

Riva
Riva
4 years ago

It concerns me why big bunch of people wanna see one country a bankrupt. If this is the way you wanna revenge for millions of people for the song which exposes some other nation at some period as bad then are you ok to revenge for every neighbour you shared conflict and they used songs like this against you? Strange biased way how to balance the result, really.

hh
hh
4 years ago

….Will they become bankrupt after hosting the show?

Julie
Julie
4 years ago

@Pollaski

Haha true! However, we (and yes, I mean Americans) helped cause the mess in Ukraine. The least we can do is try to help reduce tensions (and I DON’T mean military intervention). Goodness knows we’ve had enough of that.

Pollaski IV: A New Hope
Pollaski IV: A New Hope
4 years ago

@Julie

Yeeeeeah….

Being a fellow American, I have to say Ive seen enough expensive wars to help ungrateful “allies” for a good while

Julie
Julie
4 years ago

@Pollaski

When I was writing that I was thinking Americans, but to be more accurate, I would say “we” refers to the Allies.

Pollaski
Pollaski
4 years ago

@Julie

Who’s “we”?

Julie
Julie
4 years ago

@Pollaski

You’re right, they should stop it. It is their responsibility first and foremost. But they haven’t…at some point we had to step in to intervene with what Nazi Germany was doing to its own citizens. It doesn’t seem to be at that level yet, but what the world can do right now is put pressure on Kiev to stop this, and to uphold their side of the Minsk agreement.

Pollaski
Pollaski
4 years ago

@Julie
And what, exactly should the world do about it? Who’s out there that can be called to reliably come into Ukraine and put a stop to it.

Nobody, that’s who.

Which is why the responsibility to stop it lies within the hands of the Ukranians themselves.

Julie
Julie
4 years ago

@Pollaski Respectfully, I beg to differ. If there really is anything resembling genocide going on in Ukraine, then the world should care, and it does ultimately affect us all. Do we want history to repeat itself..? Further, I’m merely replying to a thread that has mentioned politics, so it is relevant. As for Eurovision being just a song contest and not a “I like your politics the best contest”, well I would argue that that is exactly what the ESC has become, and that is what people on this thread are pointing out. I agree that it SHOULD be just… Read more »

Pollaski
Pollaski
4 years ago

@Julie

That’s a shame. The people of Ukraine should really do something about that.

But what exactly does this have to do with Eurovision, given that it’s a song contest and not an “I like your politics the best” contest?

Julie
Julie
4 years ago

@Pollaski

But Ukraine is a threat to its own nation and to a whole group of people – they are fighting/blockading their own people in the east. Moreover, their extremist groups most definitely do bring to mind 1930s Germany, matching Nazi philosophies and all: Ukraine only for Ukrainians, no Russians, Jewish people etc.

Pollaski
Pollaski
4 years ago

@bro There’s one difference- Germany and Italy were threats to other nations. Ukraine is not, nor will they be anytime soon. The only country that Ukraine has any external conflict is Russia, and that’s a conflict the Russians started. On here, Russians are butthurt because they lost to a better song that mentions a historical incident in which they were the clear bad guys. Boo hoo. Ukraine’s corruption has nothing to do with anyone else. If the Ukranian citizens don’t like that their country is run by a bunch of corrupt oligarchs, then they need to do something about it.… Read more »

bro
bro
4 years ago

@Pollaski what nonsense you are talking. There is no other nation under the moon empathizing Ukrainians more than Russians. Ukraine has become an oligarchic dictatorship after 2014. It does have now all the worst features of Italy and Germany of 1930’s. Millions of Ukrainians flee their country every year. Oligarchs become richer day by day, while other citizens are starving. I am sure Eurovision 2017 will become another act of huge propaganda. Thanks EBU.

Pollaski
Pollaski
4 years ago

@Lady Gagarina

So if you’re not Russian, what are you?

I mean, at least Russians have somewhat of a reason for being completely ruined by Jamala and Ukraine. You just removed the only justification you could possibly have.

Lady Gagarina
Lady Gagarina
4 years ago

Come to think of it, it maybe a good idea for Ukraine to continue hosting this next year…so that it will bankrupt them, and drown in more debt than what they can pay, so that they become a failed state like South Sudan. Go Ukraine 😛

Lady Gagarina
Lady Gagarina
4 years ago

@Adam yes I do have an issue with a corrupt country, a horrible & highly politicized song, and a fraud singer. Only people within the Eurovision bubble would love the ISIS-rave song, casual viewers think otherwise (see Youtube). Most horrible winner so far, more than Running Scared or Believe. I”m not even Russian, as others stupidly thinks

Guliguli
Guliguli
4 years ago

@James They hosted Eurovision before the coup d’etat of 2014

Pollaski
Pollaski
4 years ago

@James 1. I agree that this might be a strong possibility, which would be a shame, because it seems to me that winning for the sake of winning would be enough of a motivation. I like the “winner got next” rule. I think its a nice thing. But when I see people wanting a countries ability to host to determine whether they should win or even participate, well, that’s, as they say, why you can’t have nice things. And yes, a country does have right of refusal if they can’t host… but as we’ve seen from government a zillion times… Read more »

James
James
4 years ago

Too bad there’s no edit button here, meant to say on Number 2 is:

“… unless the EBU require active broadcasters to be publicly funded only and not privately-run ones before they could join Eurovision”

James
James
4 years ago

@jj: Considering that Ukraine pulled off hosting three ESC events for the past decade (once for regular ESC and twice for the junio edition), they can be capable hosts provided they have the proper support needed, especially coming from the government since they are funding its public broadcaster. @Pollaski: 1. What motivates these countries to continually join the process every year is because they know the potential in hosting Eurovision, boosting its tourism, economy and everything else that comes in a tight little package, knowing well it’s high risk that can yield either high rewards or high losses if they… Read more »

stephen podesta
stephen podesta
4 years ago

Yep thought so, give it back to Australia the true winners of Eurovision 2016, we will do it and it will be the most amazing show on EARTH we thrive on this sort of thing.

Zebb
Zebb
4 years ago

Yet another couple of russian fans have shown their principles. They’re going to become a good entertainers following year 🙂

I’d admit my expectations decreased through the atmosphere that raised like from august. Should I expect equal organisation? No, since it does look like a burden so far.

Pollaski 3: Rise of the Machines
Pollaski 3: Rise of the Machines
4 years ago

Seems to me a great argument for two changes that would more than likely benefit the health of the contest in the long run.

1. Ending the “winner hosts next year” rule, which seems to inspire more voting than the songs themselves, and turn hosting duties to either a bidding or rotational process.

2. A movement away from public broadcasters competing (especially in nations that are in financial straights) towards privately owned broadcasters.

jj
jj
4 years ago

Hosting Eurovision is a burden to the non well-off countries. I think the winning country should get a choice on whether they want to host it or not. If not, it should go to a default country that is willing to be such. If there are several “default countries” then the winning country should get to select which one it would like to host. I think they should give the winning countries up to one month after winning to decide.

Plum
Plum
4 years ago

I am not amazed at all.
Something went whong in this story from the very start…

Crumbs
Crumbs
4 years ago

@Magistr, sorry dear but why do you think you are eligible to teach me who are trolls and who are not. We see everything with our eyes and need no one to label who is Russian trol, who is Ukrainian troll etc. We are interested in the result.

Magistr
Magistr
4 years ago

Im from Ukraine and I want to say that we here know sense in drama. We just want to entertain you by our preparation, but at the end all will be ok;). Trust me, dont trust to russian trolls (they are even here!).

Adam
Adam
4 years ago

@Lada Gagarina you obviously have some huge personal issues with Ukraine and Jamala….likening a damn SONG to ISIS is such a stretch. It’s time you settle down and stop taking the contest so damn seriously and lighten up. So much hate will poison your little heart

Elmar96
Elmar96
4 years ago

Too much hatred in comments section. That’s….. not nice!

What can I say? Good luck to Ukraine. Hopefully we will end up watching a great show at May (as I expect from Ukraine!!).

Lady Gagarina
Lady Gagarina
4 years ago

I hope EBU pulls a Miss Universe & dethrone this horrible woman, song, country. They are a big blemish to Eurovision’s history. Would have preffered Australia, Bulgaria or Armenia to have won instead if the ISIS rave song

Lady Gagarina
Lady Gagarina
4 years ago

I just had to add this. What a MESS. Ukraine = Mess = Corruption. Horrible, horrible, horrible. And this year’s song was like something you would play at an ISIS rave party lolz. And she looked ugly wrapped in rags. I love me some Loboda, Gaitana et al, but this year is just a political mess

Jr esc nl
Jr esc nl
4 years ago

Why would anybody be amused by this? This means bad press about Eurovision and can affect the contest in a negatieve way.

MTD
MTD
4 years ago

Who else is thinking that Ukraine winning was a good idea? LOL

Lady Gagarina
Lady Gagarina
4 years ago

The EBU should just cut it clean & revoke hosting rights from Ukraine & ban them for good. Scandals like this will tarnish the contest & we might even get a cheapo contest. The EBU should act now before it is too late. What a trash country. Bulgaria or Australia should have scored higher than that fascist song 😛

Chicken Kyiv?
Chicken Kyiv?
4 years ago

Drama in Ukraine? No way! 😛 😀

I think Fikri said it best below
“am i shocked? nope. am i entertained? YES.”

bro
bro
4 years ago

Was he expecting to get budget for the competition. 5 million Ukrainians are working in Russia because there’s no opportunity of employment in their home country.

bro
bro
4 years ago

He will be shot in head in two months. There have been quite a lot of similar examples in “New Ukraine”.

steve
steve
4 years ago

Thats why counties like Ukraine should not be entering Eurovision- if they cant afford to host dont enter!! Leave it to the proper euro countries like it was 20 years ago!!!!!

fikri
fikri
4 years ago

am i shocked? nope. am i entertained? YES.

Zebb
Zebb
4 years ago

But drama has hit the plank already! Now this infantry soap. Do they even have team to work on ESC? There were some articles that STB is gonna co-work with them again but that’s for NF. Something tells me that meant ‘do everything’.

mocosuburbian
mocosuburbian
4 years ago

apparently wiwibloggs doesn’t take cyrillic letters rip

mocosuburbian
mocosuburbian
4 years ago

?????aaaaaaaaaaaaaa

mad-professor
mad-professor
4 years ago

Absolutely right! How on earth can the government expect them to do anything with only €7m?!

Ron Kavaler
Editor
4 years ago

OMG

xESCx
xESCx
4 years ago

gosh so much drama in Ukraine!