Back in October, the private Ukrainian broadcaster STB proudly announced it had signed a three-year memorandum with state broadcaster UA:PBC. The deal seemed to benefit both broadcasters. Cash-strapped UA:PBC would have access to the funds and expertise of the private network. And STB would be able to tap into the state broadcaster’s ownership of Eurovision in Ukraine — a once highly-respected event with strong viewing figures.

Following the overt politicisation of this year’s contest, STB is now having second thoughts.

As you’re well aware at this point, MARUV won Ukraine’s Eurovision 2019 selection Vidbir and, in theory, should have been the country’s candidate for Eurovision. But, owing to some last-minute changes and some ridiculously onerous rules from the broadcaster, she’s out. She simply wanted to sing. The broadcaster wanted her to deploy its political slogans and essential become a part of their propaganda machine.

Now STB has responded with a lengthy statement, which makes it clear they do not support the misuse of Vidbir and the contest’s winner. Below you can read their full statement. We are reprinting it in its entirety. It’s very long, so get ready to read.

“The situation around the finals of the national selection and the non-signing of the agreement between MARUV and the Public Broadcaster has created a lot of questions and manipulative statements at different levels towards STB. We want to put dots on the ‘i’ and eliminate the erroneous ideas of the public and media about how the national Eurovision selection operates.”

“Firstly, it is worth noting that the STB has been conducting the national selection for four years in accordance with the Rules, which are approved by UA:PBC. STB conducts the selection and its broadcast with its own money. For three years we have supported the winner of the national selection. This support, among other things, included preparation of staging and other assistance during the trip and participation in the contest.”

“During this time, the national selection, without exaggeration, has become the main event of the year, which has attracted attention not only in Ukraine, but also abroad. We have created a mega project that discovers new names, and involves professional Ukrainian performers who can define themselves to the whole of Europe. Today, artists going to the stage of the national selection receive much more than a few years ago.”

“Every year, the national selection has been getting more and more viewers, as evidenced by the television and digital viewing figures. The national selection’s final is traditionally among the top-watched programmes of the day. To popularise the selection, we were the first to introduce a parallel broadcast in social networks in HD quality and with exclusive content from the backstage during the advertising. This year, for the first time in Ukraine, the broadcast on the YouTube channel of STB was multi-camera.”

“Secondly, it was thanks to the new selection format and transparent voting procedure in 2016 that Jamala decided to return to the show. And with the patriotic song ‘1944’ she brought Eurovision back to Ukraine. The national selection attracted the attention of the international press and European fan communities, whose representatives for four years in a row attended the selection finals in Kiev.”

“For four years, the national selection has repeatedly received positive feedback from experts and has been awarded with three professional awards ‘Teleriumph’ and awards ‘Ukrainian Design The Very Best Of’.”

“The national selection is the pride of STB. This is the difficult and professional work of a large team, which has been carried out very responsibly. For four years the public broadcaster had no negative claims on STB on the quality of the selection.”

“Not signing an agreement with MARUV, for which the majority of viewers voted in the finals, is a signal that the selection rules need to be changed. It is necessary to develop and fix the basic principles of partnership in order to avoid such cases in the future national selections.”

“Namely: We strive to organise and conduct an honest and transparent contest in order to select the best song that will represent Ukraine at Eurovision.”

“All the conditions that the performer of the song must conform in case of winning the national selection should be made clear to him before submitting the application for participation in the competition. Any additional conditions or changes in conditions during the selection process should be prohibited.”

“And now we want to give answers to the main questions that we continue to receive.”

“Who sets the rules for the national selection for Eurovision?”

“The rules for the organisation of the national Eurovision selection are set out in the Agreement between the STB channel and UA:PBC, and are approved by UA:PBC. According to the rules, STB conducts a high-quality and transparent national selection of a representative of Ukraine in partnership with UA:PBC and at its own expense, while the public broadcaster, as a member of the EBU, controls the conduct of the national selection, ensures full transparency and compliance with the competition rules. For all four years we strictly adhered to these rules.”

“What are the selection criteria for the participants in the national selection?”

“The main criterion is the song. A quality, original song without plagiarism. As well as the artist’s desire to represent Ukraine at the international song contest and compete for this right on the air of the national selection. The rules, among other things, spelled out such requirements for the song: it must be original, with timing of not more than 3 minutes, can be performed in any language. Also there can be no more than 6 members of the group on stage.”

“How is the selection of artists for the live broadcasts is conducted?”

“STB during the first stage of the selection, which is not broadcast, receives applications from the artists for the participation and checks the songs, but does not have the right to decide for itself who exactly gets on the air. A few days after the completion of the first stage, we make an appointment, during which we provide UA:PBC with the best selection of the submitted songs. This list, as a rule, exceeds the required amount. Colleagues review and approve those artists who pass into the second stage (which are the live broadcasts of the national selection). Also UA:PBC approves the list of jury members.”

“How has MARUV appeared in the selection?”

“This year we received 860 songs. Of these, a priority list was formed, from which 16 semi-finalists were selected. When on the eve of the draw, it turned out that TAYANNA has withdrawn from the participation in the selection, we had to urgently agree on a replacement. MARUV’s candidacy on the eve of the draw was also agreed by the representative of UA:PBC.”

“Is there a requirement in the rules that a participant should not have tours in the Russian Federation?”

“No, there are no clauses in the rules that relate to the civil position of the participant of the selection, his touring in the Russian Federation, professional or family ties. For four years the need for such a clause was not raised. Current discussions clearly demonstrate that we have a serious public request what artist may or may not represent Ukraine at the international Eurovision contest. Yes, this issue requires a settlement in order to prevent such discussions during the future national selections. At the same time, three questions immediately arise: 1) what should be the procedure for verifying artists and their families for a civil position, a tour schedule, private concerts, cooperation with Russian musicians, and the like 2) does it correspond to democratic approaches acceptable in a civilised society 3) Who will do this? After all, the task of the channel is production and broadcasting, and verification is the duty of other services.”

“Why in the finals did you give the artists a test of patriotism? This is a song contest, and this was wrong.”

“For four years which we are conducting the National Eurovision selection, the STB team receives quite opposite comments about the same situation. They do not ask the question – “why didn’t you ask?”, They ask – “why are you asking this?”. Those who watched the National Selection of 2016 (when STB began to produce it) know that on this stage the participants are asked all the questions that may concern the Ukrainian audience. Even the sharpest and uncomfortable. It is for the honesty, that these four years viewers respect the national selection. Choosing a representative, we do not have the right to turn a blind eye to loud discussions in social networks and statements by the artists themselves. This is not about checking for patriotism, but about the reaction to a public inquiry. This year, before the finals, he was like that. Yes, these are painful questions, but they had to be voiced in order to give every artist the opportunity to speak to the audience. However, as we can see, having received all the information directly first hand and answers to all sensitive questions, the audience still voted precisely for the participant whose performance they liked the most.”

“Was it a fair vote?”

“All four years for the integrity of the vote in the National selection is followed by an independent auditing company PWC, whose representative you saw on the stage in the final.”

“What happens to the national selection winner after the final? And what are those “enslaving” terms of the contract between UA:PBC and the winner?”

“After the country selects a winner in the final of the national selection, we present it to UA:PBC. Further communication, coordination of the winner and, in particular, the signing of all contracts, Public Broadcaster holds directly with the artist. What this contract looks like, what clauses and requirements it includes, or whether these agreements differ annually – is unknown to us.”

“Why is STB not financially supporting the winner of the National Selection this year?”

“Support for the winner of the national selection in the previous three years was solely an initiative of the STB, and not obligations to the UA:PBC. We did not sign any agreements with the winners of the National Selection, according to which they would have to work out this money for us, and did not enter into exclusive contracts with them. It was pure patronage assistance. However, the main task of any commercial channel is production. Therefore, signing a new memorandum with UA:Pershiy in the fall, we revised the conditions on our part and excluded patronage of artists. On October 18, 2018, before the launch of the new National Selection, STB announced that it was fully concentrating on what it could do best – television production. On the creation of a large-scale, high-quality television project, followed by the whole country.”

“Who will go to the Eurovision now?”

“It depends solely on the decision of the Public Broadcaster.”

“Will STB carry out the National Selection next year?”

“Considering the current situation, we will think about whether it makes sense for us to further take part in the conduct of the national Eurovision selection.”

“Who will return the viewers money for the sent SMS?”

“The STB channel is ready to calculate the funds spent by the audience on the SMS vote and provide it to the charity.”

What do you think of this mess? Should STB sever ties with UA:PBC? Let us know down below.

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Mario
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Mario

Ukrain have just withdraw from esc as their CEO posted on FB. Bang !

Pavel
Guest
Pavel

Not the first time Ukraine does it (2005 with Ani Lorak last minute snub, 2009 with the Prykhodko controversy, 2010 with Vasyl Lazarovych initial internal selection changed for a National Final suddenly (Alyosha had to later change her winning NF entry for another one due to plagiarism allegations), 2011 with the alleged vote rigging and Zlata Ognevich + Jamala withdrawing from the run-off).
No one supported Vasyl Lazarovych back in 2010, so I smell a bit of hypocrisy and double standards.

Jurgis
Guest
Jurgis

Ukraine should just spit on the opinions of EBU and an old prostitute Europe. It’s not the time for entertainment anyway when your country is invaded. They just need to withdraw and concentrate on defence and sovereignty of their nation.

bea
Guest
bea

You talk about withdrawing as if it’s an easy thing. You can’t withdraw in February.

sammy
Guest
sammy

It is very easy thing – Ukraine should withdraw and pay huge fine for doing it after the deadline. Good news is that ukrainian broadcaster is so poor that we would not see them for a few years in the contest so no political drama anymore.

Irina
Guest
Irina

Nobody refuse from tours in Russia! Here Maruv has done performance on Muz TV awards in 2018 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqQddSH9t40&list=RDaqQddSH9t40&start_radio=1&t=19

Zebb
Guest
Zebb

I’ve had no idea the financial patronage has ended, it all makes a draw now. Welcome back to dark ages, taking main broadcaster’s everlasting emptiness in both money and brains.

why
Guest
why

Wait a minute, so Verka was in THAT jury, and he will sing in Tel Aviv, but not Maruv?

Hermès
Guest
Hermès

Hé never wanted to talk politics there.

teddie
Guest
teddie

He actually has been the voice of reason amidst all this hysteria

Jake
Guest
Jake

An ambassador for a country doesn’t need to be vocal about politics, look at how Netta changed people’s views on Israel.

Ant
Guest
Ant

The situation is a mess bit this: “The broadcaster wanted her to deploy its political slogans and essential become a part of their propaganda machine.” is complete nonsense.

Hermès
Guest
Hermès

No that was what Maruv feared. I guess from UA:PBC’s perspective is rather to make sure she doesn’t say anything political pro Russian. Ukrainian entrants besides Jamala never approached the political subject and they all had UA:PBC contracts.

What they did is bad enough there’s not need to add extra 🙂

Roy Moreno
Guest
Roy Moreno

Suggestion: it has beeb rumoured that Verka will perform in Tel Aviv, right?
With all the love to Verka, let’s cancel Verka and invite Maruv to perform in Tel Aviv!

Jurgis
Guest
Jurgis

The main thing is William will not lose funding from Putin’s agencies

Jai
Guest
Jai

So just because the author of this article (and founder of this site) thinks what Ukraine did was wrong he’s a Russian agent? My goodness, then that means the entire comments sections is full of KGB agents!

Jurgis
Guest
Jurgis

Judging by how the editor in chief praised Samoilova, who is less than an average singer, and attacked Ukraine, it is very likely. If European politicians openly collaborate with Putler, why Wiwibloggs cannot receive funding from Russia to promote Lazarev before the contest?

Jai
Guest
Jai

Is that all it takes to get paid by Russia? Ok, I thought the Buranovskiye Babushki in 2012 were adorable! Now where’s my check from Putin?

Hermès
Guest
Hermès

I had the same concern about how Wiwi treated the Samoylova case and how they covered this year’s Ukrainian NF. They only wrote the results of the semis and final and were already all about dramas of Prytula. We got no vote, no song ranking etc. Ukraine being one of the most powerful countries at Eurovision it does raise eyebrows.

Dalth
Guest
Dalth

Like a wee soap Opera all this, could all be a massive publicity stunt lol a bit of drama or controversy tends to work at eurovision just look at Jamala and the Portuguese dude, just sign her up for the interval act she will be a lot cheaper than Madonna.

jack
Guest
jack

i dont think anyone wants to see Jamala again on stage. And if she will perform, they will have some uncomfortable questions for her

Wilhelm
Guest
Wilhelm

Jamala will easily answer all your questions

Jake
Guest
Jake

If you are following Eurovision in February, you should really know “the Portuguese dude” has a name.

Dalth
Guest
Dalth

I should really yeah lol but it’s not like hes gone on to become a global phenomenon is it, I knew it began with an S

Héctor
Guest
Héctor

I think Ukraine will end up withdrawing or just looking for a quick internal selection. Anyway, the EBU should ban and fine UA:PBC. And STB should cut ties with them.

Wilhelm
Guest
Wilhelm

better if it fine your national broadcaster for no reason

meow
Guest
meow

i don’t think anyone should be hating on anyone even if they accept the position. it is not their fault’s that the contract was terrible for maruv. if anything ONLY hate on the broadcaster. do not say that anyone should nq just because of ukraine. if they end up participating with a song in the nf, don’t be mad at the participant for ukraine. just be mad at the broadcaster.

Una
Guest
Una

A different scenario: UA allegedly think that Russia will win this year with Sergey Lazarev. It would be like it happened with Dima Bilan – contender for the second time and winning. It’s hard to make a come back and win; from what I know it’s only been Carola for Sweden (won when she participated the second time) and Dima (also won the second time he participated). I expect some problems next year: so now in 2019 they won’t participate against Russia and will withdraw from the contest next year, due to this year’s problems. So that they will not… Read more »

Roelof Meesters
Guest
Roelof Meesters

Serves UA:PBC sooooo right! I think the EBU should let STB participatie with Maruv in 2019, and maybe they can Apply For EBU memebership afterwards. MARUV, STB and Ukraine don’t deserve this unproffesionalism from UA:PBC.

Wilhelm
Guest
Wilhelm

hahaha… it’s so funny… UA:PBC paid participation fee from state budget, but EBU should let STB participate :))) Forget about MARUV!

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

see when u do clownery……

Amaan Storm
Guest
Amaan Storm

“What is the criteria for choosing a song?

The main criterion is the song. A quality, original song without plagiarism….”

‘MAIN’ criterion…. that speaks volumes and alludes to their being other smaller criterion at play.

Says a lot really.

Hermès
Guest
Hermès

Other criteria are voice, stage presence, performance etc. Come on don’t imply things they didn’t mean.

Jurgis
Guest
Jurgis

Actually Maruv’s song is not original, the brass section is a copy of Calogero’s “face a la mer” chorus.

Vova likes boys
Guest
Vova likes boys

It’s wide open for Tayanna! 😉

Colin
Guest
Colin

I think Tayanna bailed precisely because of this mess.

Katitam
Guest
Katitam

“Yes, these are painful questions, but they had to be voiced in order to give every artist the opportunity to speak to the audience.” They didn’t give an opportunity to the artists; they forced them to talk about extremely delicate issues that maybe they don’t want to say in public, or maybe they don’t have enough knowledge about the issue and they don’t want to say something wrong, which is valid. And our own rights begin where other people’s rights end. They have the right to not to talk about politics. So, everyone made fun about Alekseev last year but… Read more »

Ben
Guest
Ben

By all this Jamala just proved that she is nothing more than just a puppet of ukrainian political propaganda… It is so sad, because her art work lost any value for so many viewers…

Hermès
Guest
Hermès

I agree. Opening up about a personal story in her song was a smart move, but dragging others to what is very important to her isn’t. Yes Ukrainians have the right to look away from the war and focus on lighter things. That’s precisely why they took part in Eurovision again in 2016 and onwards.

Wilhelm
Guest
Wilhelm

Jamala’s work didn’t lost any value for Ukrainian viewers and Crimean Tatars

Jenny
Guest
Jenny

All because she is making so much drama about Crimea everywhere. Europe has already enough of it, really… There is no place for such behaviour on the international song contest.

James
Guest
James

I am very concerned about one thing. After semifinals, there was information about people’s votes in percentage. Why they did not publish any information about votes percentage after final? I suppose that the gap between Maruv and other contestants was big enough.

Angel
Guest
Angel

“The STB channel is ready to calculate the funds spent by the audience on the SMS vote and provide it to the charity.”
xDDD yeah sure

Wilhelm
Guest
Wilhelm

Vidbir had very good quality but was organized with pro-russian TV channel STB . It was a matter of time when it died, and it happened so, as it was correctly predicted by attentive ESC fans :)))))

James
Guest
James

Ukranian troll detected.

Wilhelm
Guest
Wilhelm

As far as I know, this article is about Ukraine.

Marcelo
Guest
Marcelo

How is STB a pro-Russian channel? Even their coverage on Crimea ended after the 2014 annexation, it’s obvious that they are a pro-Ukrainian network.

They even fund the national selection for the Ukrainian representative to Eurovision.

Wilhelm
Guest
Wilhelm

They use russian everywhere they can. They used russian-speaking hosts before the current host, they use russian speaking judges, they even write descriptions under Vidbir videos on their YouTube channel on russian.

Teddie
Guest
Teddie

Well obviously, because they care about the business side of things and the potential russian speaking audience is bigger. So ideally, the trick is to mix languages. By the way, your future president Zelensky hosts a comic show in russian and speaks predominately in russian.

Vladimir P.
Guest
Vladimir P.

Half of Ukrainians, especially the ones in eastern Ukraine, speak Russian as their mother tongue. Many of them barely speak any Ukrainian.

uzhas
Guest
uzhas

Anyway, I hope they choose HATE to represent them ?

uzhas
Guest
uzhas

they didn’t ban her. they made some crazy rules in the contract, but they did not ban her.

DavidR
Guest
DavidR

Since Freedom Jazz declined the offer (and rightly so) KAZKA will be their next option. I loved their song, but the vocalist sounds awful in live and the song just loses its power. I am almost sure that they won’t qualify this year.

Joe
Guest
Joe

They don’t have a ton of neighborly support in their semi either. Belarus and that’s it.

Joe
Guest
Joe

All the other ones (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova, even Russia) are in semi two. The only other countries that might help them out thanks to diaspora are Israel and Portugal.

Joe
Guest
Joe

(Whether they want to admit it or not, Russia does typically throw a few votes their way, at least in the televote)

Erasmus
Guest
Erasmus

Georgia are in though.

Rumpelstiltskin
Guest
Rumpelstiltskin

Send Yulia Samoylova please!

Geo
Guest
Geo

Eagerly waiting for Ukraine’s non qualification! I still want them in Tel Aviv just to see them staying in the semifinal! Justice for MARUV!

Victorielle
Guest
Victorielle

A contestant should not be bullied by a judge. That jamala should be buzzed off from Vidbir. Totally unprofessional and rude. Like she was a prosecutor in a criminal case. Jesus Murphy! #GoMaruv

esc stan
Guest
esc stan

THIS JUST IN: Freedom Jazz also refused to represent Ukraine https://twitter.com/ESCKAZ/status/1100434544518418433

Lolek
Guest
Lolek

Wow you are right! https://www.instagram.com/p/BuWhRfkHGNI/

I really liked their song, but their refusal just makes me respect them 100x more. I’m going to go check out their music now!

Victorielle
Guest
Victorielle

lol And now it’s up to Kazka. They were in the Vidbir judges’ cards this year, but due to her terrible live performance didn’t get many votes from the public. So, UA:PBC had to do something to chastise Maruv for her ‘provocative” performance (quoting prosecutor jamala)

Lolek
Guest
Lolek

Kazka and Brunettes shoot blondes are pretty much their last options at this point. I hope both groups do the right thing and say no.

Victorielle
Guest
Victorielle

hahaha Kazka will not refuse. They want to go, stayed clean all the time – no concerts in Russia, no anything… lol

tom
Guest
tom

Well actually Kazka was in Russsia, according to some medias ….

tom
Guest
tom

and Maruv receivedto opportunity to represent – Azerbaijan, Belarus and Russia according to some sorces …

Lolek
Guest
Lolek

Well if Kazka accepts then… god help them. Support behind them already wasn’t great (judging by their dislike ratio on youtube). I’d hate to see how the public would treat them if they accepted. Saying no would be the smart thing imo.

Victorielle
Guest
Victorielle

they stayed clean of Russia for this. My guess, they will accept.

Victorielle
Guest
Victorielle

but they want it! thats’ why they stayed clean of anything russian. lol

mat
Guest
mat

They would also get hate from literally everyone if they accept it.

Rom
Guest

Serves UA:PBC right for messing around like that.

Jake
Guest
Jake

EBU step in already, they should have seen the contract and said no.

Samo
Guest
Samo

EBU has nothing to do with a national selection. They only become involved when the song is actually submited as the entry by the broadcaster.

SenorDanda
Guest
SenorDanda

Ukraine.

On SO many levels, its become a joke… And the punchline.
And so it applies to Ukraine’s Eurovision shenanigans the past couple of years.
Sine the coup d’état you are free to be a puppet of state propaganda or be chastised and blacklisted for having any other opinion, or for simply being silent on politics.

Imagine that, a Eurovision contestant wanting to sing a song …

…Other than the one the powers that be want her to sing.

Ziyu
Guest
Ziyu

SO STB was also a victim by UA:PBC. why does this public broadcaster act so weird??? Unbelievable

John
Guest
John

Easy answer – MONEY. Because as a public broadcaster UA:PBC’s budget is completely dependent on the whims of politicians who have been one upping each other as to rabid nationalism and Russophobia. Therefore, with their jobs on the line the managers of UA:PBC will not do anything that upsets their paymasters.

Wilhelm
Guest
Wilhelm

russian troll

beccaboo1212
Guest

Hopefully Ukraine will send Freedom Jazz. 🙂

Miki Bihon
Guest
Miki Bihon

They now rejected the offer to represent according to @ESCKAZ

Hermès
Guest
Hermès
Esc1234
Guest
Esc1234

Vidbir in terms of music quality was the best national final this year. But the broadcaster doesn’t deserve this great show. Let them select internally from now on people who don’t have any kind of dignity and are ok with becoming the puppet of political agenda.

Marcelo
Guest
Marcelo

Let’s be real, the whole reason Vidbir is so great every year is probably because of STB.

Ani
Guest

Kazka is great but it should only be go crawling back to maruv or ban

Joseph
Guest
Joseph

STB going about it much more diplomatically than UA:PBC

Esc1234
Guest
Esc1234

Because they are professionals unlike ua:pbc

Lolek
Guest
Lolek

Rest in peace UA:PBC!

beccaboo1212
Guest

What? No!

James
Guest
James

Drama. Drama. Drama. The only thing that probably was the most problematic aspect of the show was this Q&A thing the jury does with the contestants after their performances. It’s a very uncomfortable sight to see if I was the average Ukrainian viewer, and this year, Jamala, Verka, and the other guy (who seems nice though) crossed the line with their questioning on live TV. STB should seriously think about applying for EBU membership knowing this could give them access to not just some cool servicesthat comes with it but also access to broadcast the song contest, which is probably… Read more »

Rumpelstiltskin
Guest
Rumpelstiltskin

STB cannot apply for EBU membership because they’re not a public broadcaster.

Cocooo
Guest
Cocooo

SBS in Australia isn’t a public broadcaster, yet they are an associate member of the EBU. TV4, the biggest commercial channel in Sweden is a member of the EBU and took part in JESC for some years.

Joe
Guest

SBS is an entirely public broadcaster. TV4 is commercial but still a public service broadcaster.

James
Guest
James

ITV in the UK is a commercial broadcaster and is also a member of the EBU.

Joe
Guest

ITV is commercial but still a public service broadcaster.

James
Guest
James

Nope. ITV is a privately-owned media conglomerate.

Weli
Guest
Weli

STB don’t give any support to these hooligans.

Anita
Guest
Anita

I loved this entry so much. I hope the whole mess will help the country and the fight for freedom (of art)- that the zensorship that is going on and the political misuse became public might do some good?! And I hate that we have to miss the Siren Song and everything we were looking forward to about it.

Erasmus
Guest
Erasmus

And we support STB

GUEST
Guest
GUEST

Send Maruv or BAN Ukraine …

P!nk Forever
Guest
P!nk Forever

Ditto!

Alex
Guest
Alex

Send Kazka please