Last week Ukraine’s security service SBU announced that it had banned the Russian candidate Julia Samoylova from entering the country for three years, thus ruling her ineligible to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest 2017. The country’s state broadcaster subsequently issued a statement saying it will respect and uphold its government’s decision. However, and despite the ongoing international furore, Ukrainian authorities have not yet sent written confirmation to the Eurovision Reference Group, which oversees the contest.

On Sunday Reference Group chairman Frank-Dieter Freiling explained the situation about Russia’s ban — and the contest more generally — in an interview with German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel.

Will Ukraine be able to host a decent Eurovision?

He stressed that preparations are fully under control, but admitted that it hasn’t been smooth sailing.

“The preparations are running at full speed, but it was not always easy. That was partly because until now state broadcaster NTU had to be changed into a public service station by January 1. This led to significant structural shifts, but also to changes in the top personnel, which constantly delayed decisions. The Ukrainian government was also strongly involved in the preparations, something which did not always let the process gather speed.”

Many have worried openly whether Ukraine’s broadcaster is able to pull off a show at the level of last year’s edition in Stockholm. Will it have the technology to wow?

“The Eurovision Song Contest is not only made of the equipment from the host broadcaster. In the past few years, stage and technical equipment that was desired was bought internationally. In Kyiv it will not be different from Vienna, Copenhagen or Stockholm.”

Is Julia Samoylova’s ban still reversible?

Plenty of questions and controversy still surround the ban of the Russian singer Julia Samoylova, which resulted from her illegal visit to Crimea during the summer of 2015. Freiling understands the worry, but suggested it’s not too late to reverse the decision.

“There is still no official confirmation from the Ukrainian government to us. The president and the Prime Minster can override the decision of the secret service by decree. The EBU has to observe the Ukrainian law in this discussion. From the beginning on, we have stressed that all participants should be able to participate in this event. Should the ban remain, we will assure Russia that they can still participate in this event. Our initiative of a live stream was not accepted by either side.”

 

 The Ukrainian Vice Prime Minster Vyacheslav Kyrylenko has repeatedly asked for Russia to send a new candidate — and one who has not broken the Ukrainian laws.

“We are still waiting for the final decision by the Ukrainian government. If they decide to not lift the ban, we will continue the conversation with Russia to see what solutions are useful. One thing we noted before the ban is that the Russian delegation did not take part in mandatory previewing sessions and did not reserve any accommodation, in contrast to all other delegations. Russia has to make its participation clear, just as we make must make it possible for them.”

According Freiling — and despite security official’s public statements — nothing has been decided yet and we should wait until official decisions are taken. Easier said than done…

Read all Eurovision 2017 news here

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James
James
3 years ago

Let Australia host Eurovision 2017, instead of Ukraine. Dami Im would have won if Eurovision hadn’t changed the voting system.

Julie
Julie
3 years ago

Aw Oxana come on, be honest – I know you’ve read them before too. That makes at least 2 people 😀

Oxana
Oxana
3 years ago

Julie
“good to know there is at least 1 person reading my essays”

that’s what we call a success! LOL

Sing
Sing
3 years ago

@Julian
Nothing will happen. Russia is smart enough to not make such a foolish moves like Ukraine.

Julie
Julie
3 years ago

Aw thanks @MTD! I appreciate that. And good to know there is at least 1 person reading my essays lol 😉

Darren
Darren
3 years ago

What I don’t understand is that Armenia supports the annexation of Crimea, yet nobody calls for their withdrawal and they are allowed to participate in But I guess the international political world doesn’t hate Armenia so there isn’t much emphasis on them, just Russia.

Anyways, I’m so done with the ever increasing political world of Eurovision, it’s getting worse every year, and it all seems anti-Russian, the EBU allow all of this to happen, so how can they honestly say that they are apolitical?
Politics is ruining Eurovision, of it continues, I won’t be watching.

EDD
EDD
3 years ago

Nice love ya’ll

MTD
MTD
3 years ago

@Julie – I love you! 🙂

And your perspective of things. I studied marketing/PR and that is just that. I do hate it now (the field). I wanna change profession. LOL

Julian
Julian
3 years ago

There is no need to change the law. Only to amend or postpone the decision a secret service has taken. In most countries this is under the power of the president. However the main reason why Julia is not accepted is, in my opinion, that Ukraine cannot ensure the safety of the Russian delegation. Recently the Russian ambassador in Turkey was assassinated. And it doesn’t need to be something so drastic but any breach of security will look very bad for the contest. EBU was not notified. The secret service does not have obligations towards EBU. Host broadcaster has them,… Read more »

Nika
Nika
3 years ago

@Aria
Ukraine doesn’t feel like holding Eurovision in Crimea because it would mean that it is held in Russia. Ukraine could easily hold the contest in Donbass but doesn’t want to do it for some reason.

Aria
Aria
3 years ago

I don’t understand why the competition can’t happen in Crimea? Ukraine gets to host as it thinks Crimea is still theirs and Julia can enter Crimea as the ban isn’t applicable there it seems.

fikri
fikri
3 years ago

@colin: or russia annex the whole of ukraine and take over everything.

ESC84
ESC84
3 years ago

@DR
Just accept the fact that Crimea is Russia now okay? The West let Scotland, Cataluña vote for independence? And Gibraltar. The West is no better.

Colin
Colin
3 years ago

There are five theorerical options now:

1. Russia withdraws and the contest just continues with 42 countries. That is the most probable option.

2. Russia stays in the contest, keeps “The Flame is Burning”, but changes the performer.

3. Russia stays in the contest, changing both the song and the performer.

4. Ukrainian authorities lift ban on Julia and she participates after all.

5. EBU bars Ukraine from hosting and the contest is held in the Summer somewhere in Europe co-hosted by runner-up Australia.

We should know soon…

Donna Vey
Donna Vey
3 years ago

No notification is not good enough. This translates to “we have no idea what’s going on”. A bit scary.

Sasha
Sasha
3 years ago

Well, why would they book their hotels and such if they’ve been told they can’t come/knew we wouldn’t allow them in? But imagine if they do book their trip, the ban is lifted, and the message of peace and working together overcomes all this negativity. Anyway, it serves European interest to keep Ukraine and Russia at odds so there won’t be a beautiful ending to this story.

James Triggs
James Triggs
3 years ago

I feel sorry for Yulia, but before we condemn either side we have to consider three important points. 1. Yulia was internally selected – meaning that while she was only issued a travel ban in March 2017, she wasn’t publicly announced until around then. With so many artists in Russia, its possible that Ukraine simply didn’t around to reviewing her until then. 2. While she was only issued a travel ban in March 2017, Ukraine had been issuing such bans for the same reason since 2015 (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33839418) and had made clear that these bans would apply to Eurovision. Russia knew… Read more »

Rufio Feelwix
Rufio Feelwix
3 years ago

These comments are infuriating. Wow.

Julia broke a law.

Ukrainian government has more say than EBU.

Russia had their chance to fix this and they didn’t.

Conversation over. EBU can’t get involved, and why on earth would it ban Ukraine?

Geez people, c’mon!

Oxana
Oxana
3 years ago

For Justice “… Oxana probably doesn’t know that there is no state border between Russia and Crimea. LOL” haha, indeed. that that to ane poor girl in a wheel-chair who had a dream if her life but id crushed against invisible border between Russia and Crimea. LOL OK, I’ll made final point for you to consider~ if for any reason EBU will force Ukraine to accept Samoylova and she will sing in Ukraine then all press will say “EBU supports Crimea annexation and publicly promotes it”. That will bring very nice rewards to EBU and after that they won’t be… Read more »

Julie
Julie
3 years ago

@DR “Russia may control it but only Russia believes Crimean in Russian. Ukraine and the international community believe the referendum was not legally arranged or fully democratic so they believe is nullified.” But that’s the thing: the referendum has been legitimized by several international/independent polls, meaning that it does indeed reflect the will of the people: democracy 101. The only reason it’s not recognized internationally is because of political reasons. Is that fair to Crimeans? Consider an excerpt from this article, published by Forbes (which by no means is a Russia-friendly outlet): “The U.S and European Union may want to… Read more »

CarlosM
CarlosM
3 years ago

The EBU just needs to accept it. Russia’s not coming at all and Ukraine doesn’t want Julia or any person who performed in Crimea to be there at all. Sucks, but that’s reality.

Once again, JULIA, COME TO AMERICA! PEOPLE W/ SMA AREN’T PAWNS, LIKE IN RUSSIA.

DR
DR
3 years ago

Kris Laws are to keep the peace in your own country. International law is meant to keep the peace internationally. This is local law. I said Julia and Channel One knew of this law. Russia may control it but only Russia believes Crimean in Russian. Ukraine and the international community believe the referendum was not legally arranged or fully democratic so they believe is nullified. Just because Russia defacto rules doesn’t make it theirs. Look at China and the spratley islands. China are defacto rulers and are building military settlements on them when the countries around the South China Seas… Read more »

DR
DR
3 years ago

For Justice

Learn international law and law of referendum. The Crimea referendum was not legal and internationally is still seen as Ukrainian. Therefore they have every right to implement this law. If the referendum was done legally and Ukraine was still going on about it, I would be on Julia’s side. But as it wasn’t Ukraine has every reason to implement this law on land that is only considered not theirs by one country. Russia.

Kris
Kris
3 years ago

Laws are meant to keep peace. If Crimea is de-facto Ukrainian territory how did she perform there without taking Ukraine’s permission?? Just proves either two things: Crimea is either de-facto Russian territory or Ukraine’s laws are poorly enforced and this facade of a lawful country is fake Neither way Ukraine doesn’t come out looking good. And In most of Europe’s eyes Russia isn’t any good either.But Ukraine seems to be stooping even below their bad image of Russia. What I dislike is people saying Russia sent Julia or Russia did this. No the entire country didn’t . Its only the… Read more »

For Justice
For Justice
3 years ago

@DR Crimea is not a territory of Ukraine since March 2014. Ukraine was not the country Julia entered 2 years ago. She traveled within Rusiia. That’s it.
But if Ukraine “believes” that it’s law was broken – well, it’s painful, it’s like phantom pain after amputation. It will pass.

DR
DR
3 years ago

Kris This law has been in place for three years. It doesn’t matter if the laws contradict each other. If I entered Crimea from the Russian side, I would not expect freedom to enter Ukraine. Julia knew about this. Obviously when she performed in Crimea there was no future thought of competing in Ukraine for Eurovision so it wasn’t an issue. But just because the laws are contradictory doesn’t give Russia the right to dictate another country’s laws on entering the nation. She and Channel One knew this law was in affect. Having conflicting laws does not give anyone the… Read more »

DR
DR
3 years ago

For Justice I did read you carefully. You didn’t read me carefully. I said no matter what nation you are from. Russian, Chinese, British or whatever. You must follow the law of the country you are in or the country you are trying to enter in order to enter. Just because she is not Ukrainian doesn’t mean she has the right to break a Ukrainian Law and expect to enter Ukraine without repercussions. If a country believes you have broken their border laws, they have every right to bar you from the nation. Being Russian does not give her free… Read more »

Tom
Tom
3 years ago

Better not to go to the Ukraine, there is a danger not only for freedom, but also for life.

Sing
Sing
3 years ago

To book hotel when Julia can’t go? For what? What are you talking about, people? The theatre of absurd!

Nikos
Nikos
3 years ago

Wow that is interesting that Russia never bothered to book hotels etc. That would suggest they didn’t really intend to participate in the first place. That explains the arguably weak song by Russian standards too. When is the withdrawal deadline?

Kris
Kris
3 years ago

@DR According to Russian law she probably didn’t do anything wrong.Obviously any citizen would respect their own country’s laws before a foreign country’s. If i can go somewhere lawfully according to my country’s law why would I go through the hassle of entering another country to just go to the same place. Now Ukrainian and Russian law are antagonistic is not Julia’s fault. And there are multiple cases of countries looking past region-specific laws in the spirit of humanity and unity and peace.(ergo Sports events in Armenia/Azerbaijan, UAE/Israel , India/Pakistan). Its all a matter of ego here. Two wrongs don’t… Read more »

Julie
Julie
3 years ago

The “law” is neither logical or legitimate really, when you are considering the will of the Crimean people. The question comes down to, do we accept what Crimeans want or not? Does the international community really seek to force them to a union they no longer desire, to a government that feel no longer represents them? How are other nations entitled to decide what is best for Crimeans, as if they can’t make their own choices? Ukraine has woefully neglected Crimea for the 23 years it has had the region, and after the western-backed coup, it cut off power, water,… Read more »

For Justice
For Justice
3 years ago

@DR did you read me carefully? Julia is not Ukranian, she is Russian. She acted according to the law of her county. According to this law there is no question if she could go to Crimea or not. It’s the fault of Ukraine that they are doing nothing ro prevent any entrance to “their” territory from Russian or any other side. Shouting to the whole world that they are constantly offenden by Russia by all means is all what they are doing. They are not as much concerned by the song contest they are hosting this year as they are… Read more »

DR
DR
3 years ago

For Justice

Julia broke a Ukrainian Law. That’s why Ukraine has banned her. Like any nation that feels you have broken their border laws, they have banned her. Every nation had the right to do this. Eurovision does not give you diplomatic immunity. Even if you are from a different country, you must abide by the laws of the nation you are in or trying to enter.

DR
DR
3 years ago

Purple Mask The problem isn’t performing in Crimea. It’s how you enter the Crimea. Russia act entered the Crimea through the border with Russia while Artsvik entered going through Ukraine. That’s why she doesn’t count. According to Ukrainian authorities she entered Crimea legally while Julia entered from Russia. Which is illegal in Ukraine Law. That’s why she is banned not Artvisk. *** That’s why I agree with the ban. If Ukraine was banning them just for being Russian then that would be a problem. That’s not what is going on. People need to stop thinking in that way. Ukraine is… Read more »

Ugnius(LT)
Ugnius(LT)
3 years ago

Well, it’s clear now that when Russia decided to send Samoylova, it had the only purpose to provoke Ukraine. Channel One had no intentions of participating in Eurovision, otherwise they could have reserved accomodation and took part in those previewing sessions. Can you imagine how a delegation can prepare to a contest without even booking a hotel ? Methinks, Russia understood that Samoylova won’t be accepted from the very beginning and it only wanted to moan “look how bad Ukraine is” without any actual desire to participate

Kris
Kris
3 years ago

D’oh!! You’re completely useless.

Magistr
Magistr
3 years ago

…”One thing we noted before the ban is that the Russian delegation did not take part in mandatory previewing sessions and did not reserve any accommodation, in contrast to all other delegations.” LOL

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
3 years ago

Is now a good time to throw in those John Lennon lyrics?
(“Imagine there’s no countries. It isn’t hard to do…”)

For Justice
For Justice
3 years ago

@MTD Yes!!!

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
3 years ago

@Kris: No need to wait; I won’t make those demos public. They’re not designed for a general audience. Your ears would bleed, and I can’t afford the compensation. :p

For Justice
For Justice
3 years ago

… Oxana probably doesn’t know that there is no state border between Russia and Crimea. LOL

MTD
MTD
3 years ago

How about this:

– Russia sitting out this contest. Forced withdrawal, if I may.
– Ukraine gets a 5 year ban in June for entering ESC because of their mess of an organization on ground. And all of that, not related to Russia, because Russians aren’t obviously involved in the production this year.

There, fixed.

Oxana
Oxana
3 years ago

“There is still no official confirmation from the Ukrainian government to us” (about ban) This is intersting. what kind of official confirmation Security Service of the country should send to Song Contest organisers? they don’t have to. here’s why~ When a person of group of people have intention to cross country border they will be checked upon Interpol database and upon Ukrainian local database (for criminal and administrative cases). Then if it’s a person on it’s own he have to deal with Security Service on his own. If it’s a group of people (delegation) who’s heading to country on behalf… Read more »

Sing
Sing
3 years ago

They think Julia shoud ask the permission from the Ukranian goverment to travel inside Russia. What an absurd! Just think about it! Ukraine is a joke.

For Justice
For Justice
3 years ago

@zafir
The Russian participant didn’t break any law of her own country first of all. According to Russian law Crimea is Russian and nothing can be done about it. She stuck to Russian law when entering the territory of Crimea and the Russian broadcaster stuck to the same law when choosing the contestant.
No provocation. All Russians go for vacation to Crimea and all Russian artists go the same way: from the territory of Russia to the territory of Russia.

Sing
Sing
3 years ago

The Ukranian law is a joke. To ban the artist for travelling in their own country? Seriously?

Sing
Sing
3 years ago

EBU must ban Ukraine for this.

Kris
Kris
3 years ago

While @Purple Mask makes me wait,
Here’s something else to see……

https://youtu.be/S5GIa606m0E

zafir
zafir
3 years ago

Russia provocate Ukraine. They sent singer who are break ukraine law. EBU must suport Ukraine in this situation.