SunStroke Project backlash Russian TV Channel One

Despite achieving third place at Eurovision 2017 — Moldova’s best-ever finish — the three members of SunStroke Project have been facing backlash from the domestic press and fans. It’s not over their stellar performance, but rather the fact they rushed to Moscow for their first TV appearance after Kyiv.

The day after Eurovision 2017 ended, the Moldovan three-piece were invited by Russia’s Channel One to appear on a show to discuss their third place in Kyiv. The show, called “Let Them Talk” and hosted by Andrey Malakhov, also featured banned Russian representative Julia Samoylova and, via satellite, Bulgaria’s entrant Kristian Kostov. The special was entitled “Blacklist for Eurovision” and focused on Julia’s ban from Eurovision 2017 by Ukrainian authorities.

Although SunStroke Project were not given much airtime, frontman Sergey Ialovitsky stole the show when he kissed Julia Samoylova’s hand upon hearing that she would be the automatic representative of Russia at the Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon next year. How continental!

Epic Sax Guy Sergey Stepanov also said that Julia was lucky to be the centre of attention among the Eurovision fans for two years in a row.

The group refrained from making any political comments during the heavily pro-Russian and anti-Ukrainian show. (Among other things, it featured speculation that Kristian Kostov did not win Eurovision because he had a home in Moscow).

Upon return to Chisinau the “Hey Mamma” singers were criticised for not booking their first interview with the broadcaster who actually sent them to Kyiv, TeleRadio Moldova.

The fact that SunStroke Project later apologised for their gesture in the Russian language fuelled the fire even more.

Appearing on “Prima Ora” on Moldova’s Prime TV, Epic Sax Guy fielded a question about the Moscow visit. He responded to the host in Russian.

We know what has been written about us, we do have Facebook… Dear friends, we would have liked to come home first, to relax, to give interviews to everyone, but the fact such a big show, with such huge ratings took an interest in our country, we could not decline. Especially because we were invited to tell them what went on. Please do not be angry with us. Believe us when we say that it would have been so much more pleasant for us to stay at home.

The comments did little to ease the anger of Moldovan internet users and the press, which criticised the band for not speaking in Romanian, the official language of Moldova, even when they were apologising.

We must, however, stress that the band members of SunStroke Project are ethnically Russian. Two of them hail from the Russian language-dominated region of Transnistria, a separatist territory with fierce pro-Russian sentiment. But the artists themselves have always been apolitical and proudly flew the flag of Moldova in Kyiv. Although they speak Romanian in a very broken accent, they always prefer to speak in their mother tongue and, as a minority in their country, they should not be blamed for that.

Decorated by the President of Moldova

One person who does not blame SunStroke Project for their Russian leaning is the president of Moldova, Igor Dodon. The leader of the country, who is himself pro-Russian, decorated the three band members and their manager with the high distinctions “Order of Honour” and “Civic Merit”, respectively. Speaking in Romanian at the ceremony, Dodon praised the band for their result and for putting Moldova back on the musical map.

Moldovan president Igor Dodon decorating SunStroke Project
Moldovan president Igor Dodon (center) decorating SunStroke Project members and manager Dimitry Sergeyev (right)

What do you think? Should SunStroke Project have booked their first interview at home? And what do you make of the backlash they got upon returning to Chisinau? Let us know in the comments!

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zoolander
zoolander
4 years ago

Was this some kind of loosers afterparty – sulking and looking for lame excuses to reinforce the notion of how the whole world is united in conspiracy to stop the glorious Russia on its path to stardom? Oh wait, this is a narrative of 80% of Russian TV shows. Nothing new here.

AngieP
AngieP
4 years ago

This is nonsense!
Blaming them for not having an interview at Chisinau first? They’ll do the 2nd or the 3rd? Come on! They brought the best place ever for Moldova!

And what’s the problem with Sergey kissing Julia’s hand? Is he to be blamed?

Chill out people in Moldova!

Denis
Denis
4 years ago

Not having first interview with TVM who sent them to Kyiv was a mistake, but why blame them for going to Russia? I might not be a fan of Russia at all but isn’t this really in the spirit of ESC and what it is all about? To reach out to other nations and overcome differences, isn’t that ESC? Yes Russia did wrong in this contest and I don’t mind seeing them thrown out but the boys didn’t do anything wrong by going there. They said nothing about the contest or whether they thought Russia exclusion was wrong. All they… Read more »

Sorbonne
Sorbonne
4 years ago

I wonder why any show where truth is spoken is called “heavily pro-Russian and anti-Ukrainian show”? Funny. Kisses from Ukraine.

nn
nn
4 years ago

If they guest before Eurovision at russsian television they would not be in TOP 3 in final.

Zebb
Zebb
4 years ago

They did what they needed – promote themselves for russian bookers towards classic Ukrainophobic show. Gladly for them the only available hint [they gave for average ukrainian televoter] was an insta-post where they thanked their pro-russian president for helping make their act, which was quite understandable yet couldn’t hurt their chances for ukrainian voters, like it was with Kristian promotion as russian-diaspora wank.

itsgetting exciting
itsgetting exciting
4 years ago

what a bunch of bull*** )))
lol russophobes critisised SSProject for kissing Julia’s hand? really?

it was SUPER sweet of them! to support her like that. & Kris too.
It was great to watch the show & hear warm words towards her!
& they were never political anytime neither in the promo tour nor at the Euro itself so those ‘critisisers’ should calm their tits

Polegend Godgarina
4 years ago

The speculation that Kristian didn’t win bc he’s a Russian citizen is a mess. Stop deluding him. Other than that, it was petty of them to go straight to Moscow on an anti-Ukraine show.

Ruslana fan
Ruslana fan
4 years ago

It seems like another Russian trick to overshadow Eurovision. Putin spoke about Eurovision a few days ago, so I hope there’s nobody that can think it’s just exaggerated conspiration theory to involve politics from Kremlin. If people will stop underestimate Putin, perhaps he will not have so much power, but right now Putin is playing with Eurovision.

Helene
Helene
4 years ago

One could just as well say that it is thanks to being partly russian that Kristian ended up so high.

Helene
Helene
4 years ago

It is hardly unknown that there is a lot of politics going on here. They played into that by going to Russia and participate in such a context. Sorry but it is obvious that they made a political statement in favour of Russian propaganda.

Helene
Helene
4 years ago
Reply to  Helene

The same goes for Kristian even though on satellite. Why does anyone think that they are obliged to win Eurovision? It seams like some think they have some special right to be on top. I think it is rude to the other contestants to be upset being in second or seventh place and so forth.

Catherine
Catherine
4 years ago

Yesterday Yulia present her new song “??” (“Poison”)

Charli Cheer Up
Charli Cheer Up
4 years ago

They’re fluent Russian speakers and probably plan to expand on Russia rather than the West.

Charli Cheer Up
Charli Cheer Up
4 years ago

Also I don’t get the big deal with them when many ESC winners fly to London first to have an interview on BBC.

Julian
Julian
4 years ago

For a Moldovan the music market in Russia (and the money from it) is like for an European going to US. An offer you cannot refuse. As simple as that.

Maclaren
Maclaren
4 years ago
Reply to  Julian

I was thinking about the same. How on earth do musicians even survive in Moldova? It is a small state of 3.5m people (as per Wiki). Who in their right mind would refuse an invite from a market of 140m especially if the market speaks the same language?

I think there is too much drama with the Romanian language as well. Wiki states that Russian is spoken by 14% of Moldovans. Well this is bigger than the proportion of Welsh speakers in the UK. But guess what? If Lucie chose to speak Welsh, nobody would make fuss about it here

Ruslana fan
Ruslana fan
4 years ago
Reply to  Maclaren

Well, Jamala refused when she decided to sing 1944. Also Moldova and Russia were at war in Transnistria. The conflict still exist. Don’t wish to be geographically close to Putin’s country.
Why do you think that Romania didn’t give Moldova 12 points this year? Do you think that Romanians felt the sudden desire to be righteous?

Mark
Mark
4 years ago

Kristian lost because his song was boring… Russia needs to get over the whole Eurovision Drama that they themselves caused.

bbb
bbb
4 years ago

Them going to Russia first, I guess was just a matter of schedule. They couldn’t ask the tv show to postpone everything because they need to go to Moldova first. They were invited in a specific day, at a specific hour. And the wife of the vocalist is pregnant, I think he wanted to go home in Moldova more then anybody.

Vladimir P.
Vladimir P.
4 years ago

They are Moldovan nationals, but also ethnic Russians. What is so wrong about being at the show even when they’re very apolitical? People who want to stomp and spit on other people’s success will always find a reason. It happened to Salvador Sobral, it happened to Kristian Kostov and it’s happening to SunStroke Project. It’s disgusting.

Lula Beludo
Lula Beludo
4 years ago

The most shocking fact in all this drama is Julia singing in Lisbon next year…unfortunately, If it’s true, will be Moscow in 2019.

Joao
Joao
4 years ago
Reply to  Lula Beludo

Lula beludo honey, russia winning in lisbon? one of the the countries which fully supports lgbt people, not gonna happen. It didnt happen with Poland, wont happen with Russia who is hated by everyone.

gogogo
gogogo
4 years ago
Reply to  Joao

Indeed, here in Portugal we aren’t that fond of Russia.

bbb
bbb
4 years ago
Reply to  gogogo

It’s not the host country that chooses the winner.
The host country votes just like any other country, doesn’t have more points to give.

Joao
Joao
4 years ago
Reply to  bbb

bbb no sh*t sherlock? but it wont happen. Not with that horrible entry and specially not in Portugal.

bbb
bbb
4 years ago
Reply to  Joao

Why not in Portugal? What Portugal can do to prevent it?

Darth Thulhu
Darth Thulhu
4 years ago
Reply to  Joao

Russia can’t send “Flame is Burning”, it will be out of the time window for 2018’s contest.

Whatever Russia decides to send, it will be something neither you, nor anyone else, has seen. Moreover, Portugal won’t have any influence on how successful it is, or is not, outside of the points that Portugal gets to assign … unless you are predicting that Portugal, as host, would consciously choose to actively undermine the Russian entry for political reasons?

Mark
Mark
4 years ago
Reply to  Lula Beludo

One, they won’t send Julia because she isn’t a strong enough artist.

Two, Russia has no more tricks up their sleeve when it comes to ‘Wowing and audience’

esc1234
esc1234
4 years ago

well they better be thankfull for sunstroke project because if it wasnt for them they would still be in the semis…

Stan
Stan
4 years ago

They did a great job for Moldova! Let’s celebrate diversity! So, they went to Moscow first, giving an interview for their biggest market? I think that’s a smart move! They have to earn a living and get the most out of this succes, right?

Peace peace, love love everyone!

Azaad
Azaad
4 years ago

I do have to say that singing a dance song about a cock blocking mother in law is not the best justification for achieving political honours from your president. Best Moldovan finish ever be damned, those awards should be reserved for less frivolous achievements. SSP deserve accolades but not political ones.

Jamal’s being nominated as an UN Goodwill Ambassador last year was rich, but at least she actually won, and with a heavy message against genocide, and so her nomination at least made sense.

Azaad
Azaad
4 years ago

I think the criticism is somewhat justified because they should’ve done their first interview in Moldova, not Russia, but the excess of said criticism is uncalled for. Although it’s not as bad as what Manel’s been getting!

Have to give kudos to Channel One to sticking by their word on Yulia at Lisbon 2018. Just hoping she comes with a better song to justify her automatic top 10 placing next year!

Darth Thulhu
Darth Thulhu
4 years ago
Reply to  Azaad

Maybe she can get Polina and Sergey as backing vocalists / dancers. 😉

Helene
Helene
4 years ago
Reply to  Darth Thulhu

They should also bring at least two famous ice skaters, pay the Swedish song writer Avici millions of dollars for the song, have the technically most advanced show, maybe with russian bears in holograms and they will win.

Donna Vey
Donna Vey
4 years ago

Life is too short for creating unnecessary drama.

Let them celebrate as many places as they can celebrate. What would be the point to fly to Moldova to backwards to Russia to then fly home to Moldova again?

These guys did great, brought so much fun (again), and did Moldova proud. I hope Moldova sends Sunstroke Project again in a few years! 🙂

Jo
Jo
4 years ago

Can someone please drop a nucler bomb on social media?
What is wrong with those people? These guys helped to bring Moldova’s name to the international spotlight. Is Russia some kind of forbidden land now?

Darth Thulhu
Darth Thulhu
4 years ago
Reply to  Jo

Among the very large numbers of Russophobes, yes, they really wish that Russia was a forbidden land, subject to political litmus tests designed to exclude it. Because “tolerance” and “diversity” and “love” and “human rights” and “a contest free from politics”.

(China, though, with tens of millions of all-but-slave-laborers, is completely OK to gush about a guest invite in the next minute, of course. As is Saudi Arabia or various other Gulf states, which also get hundred-BILLION-dollar NATO military packages every few years while running a human rights nightmare that makes Russian conservatives look like Swedish leftists.)

Julie
Julie
4 years ago

This was very sweet of them! These types of gestures–reaching out a friendly hand to other nations–is what Eurovision is about, is it not?

The criticisms seem rather Russophobic, especially since their native language is Russian (I didn’t know that – thanks for pointing that out Bogdan!).

Richard
Richard
4 years ago
Reply to  Julie

I agree I thought the kiss was lovely and a great gesture of friendship towards a fellow artist. What’s wrong with that?

Ali
Ali
4 years ago

I think it’s kind of OK that they went on the show, because their comments were clearly just making Julia feel better (saying how lucky she is that she’ll have attention for two years, that’s something you say to make her feel better, not a real compliment or a statement in support of Russia) and they didn’t say anything to suggest that Russia being excluded was right or wrong or anything. Sergey kissing her hand is also fine- it was gentlemanly. Even though the show itself was poltical, their part was just being friendly — and they have the right… Read more »

M_K
M_K
4 years ago

So the real news here seem to be that Yulia is still confirmed for ESC 2018?

I think it’s kinda silly to suddenly blame SSP for speaking Russian, they spoke Russian during the press conferences etc. as well.

Darth Thulhu
Darth Thulhu
4 years ago
Reply to  M_K

But you see, that was speaking Russian as a multicultural Moldovan in Ukraine, which is entirely acceptable.

It’s only speaking Russian while in Russia that’s not acceptable, obviously, because that is automatically Russian! Which is bad!! Just so long as all Russian people everywhere have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Russia, everything in Europe will be fine! 😉

catcm
catcm
4 years ago

Kind gesture towards Julia. I hope her dream of participating in Eurovision does come true! I would love to see that happening. 🙂

Gloria
Gloria
4 years ago

Who cares what they do, it seems petty to criticize their actions now. If they come from Russia then its their business. Don’t push the conflict on them when they don’t seem to care really, they just want to have fun

Karl
Karl
4 years ago

Huge mistake. Shame.