She spent last week undergoing medical treatment and rehabilitation at a clinic in Finland.
But it seems that for Russia’s Julia Samoylova there’s no break when it comes to controversy and the ongoing dispute as to whether she should or shouldn’t be allowed to enter Ukraine for Eurovision 2017.
On Monday the Interfax news agency reported that the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) has drafted the necessary paperwork to prohibit the 27-year-old from entering the country — though their final decision is still pending.
According to the news service, Vasyl Hrytsak — the head of the SSU — said:
“At the moment, the decision to ban her entry has not yet been made, but I will reveal a secret — the relevant document has already been prepared.”
As Deutsche Welle previously reported, Samoylova performed in the Crimean city of Kerch in 2015 — more than a year after Russia annexed the territory.
That’s prompted the Ukrainian security services to investigate whether that should rule her ineligible to enter the country.
Writing on Facebook, SBU spokeswoman Olena Gitlyanska said the security services will “study the question and take a balanced decision on her entry into Ukraine.”
Now Hrystak has said that her potential ban goes far beyond her performance in the disputed territory.
“The law should be one for all — she did not just visit Crimea, she also left comments on social networks, where she spoke about Ukraine, its authorities and its course for Euro-Atlantic integration. My own position is clear: I think she should not come to Ukraine.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov shot back, saying that the country’s contestant will not be replaced.
“I do not know about the decision of our organizers, but, as far as I understand, there is no such option as a replacement,” he said.
Julia lives with spinal muscular atrophy — a neuromuscular disorder causing muscle wastage.
Some have suggested that Russia’s selection is a move to mitigate potential booing — a threat Russia has faced for several years.
Others believe choosing her is a deliberate “provocation” against Ukraine. For Ukraine to ban a singer with a disability would be counter to the “Celebrate Diversity” slogan of this year’s Eurovision and would be widely perceived as cruel and insensitive.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has denied the suggestion that Julia’s selection was meant to provoke this year’s hosts.
According to the TASS news agency, he told reporters: “I would not use such words as provocation, because it is a TV channel’s choice. I don’t see any provocation. Almost everybody was in Crimea, there is hardly anyone who has not travelled there.”
“Undoubtedly, we would like to avoid politicising the Eurovision contest.”
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