In Tel Aviv Georgia’s Oto Nemsadze brought a hellish vision of a land under siege to the Eurovision Song Contest stage. Dripping with patriotism and calling for Georgians to stay strong, it was easy to read it as a statement on the ongoing difficulties between Georgia and Russia, who fought a brutal war in 2008.
Today, amid escalating tensions and recent clashes in Tbilisi, Georgia’s Eurovision 2015 singer Nina Sublatti published a provocative Instagram post about her song “Warrior” and its relationship to the situation.
Her message comes one day after a Russian lawmaker visiting Tbilisi was allowed to chair a session of parliament. That led to violent skirmishes between demonstrators and Georgian police, who used rubber bullets and tear gas to break up the clashes. Protestors said the visit was symptomatic of Russian interference in Georgian politics more broadly.
Russia’s Vladimir Putin has responded by banning Russian airlines from flying to Georgia. The move has been interpreted as way of exerting pressure on tourism to Georgia, which welcomed around 1.4 million Russian tourists last year. Tourism makes up nearly 8% of Georgia’s GDP.
Russian officials have described the protests as “an anti-Russian provocation”.
Nina didn’t mince words and let there be no doubt what her Eurovision 2015 number was about — and how, in her eyes, it’s still relevant.
“Almost four years ago, I decided to use the biggest platform ever to express what I feel towards occupation of my beautiful country Georgia. Back then the theme of the Eurovision was Building Bridges. And while writing Warrior I thought to myself – how can we, Georgians build bridges to connect with the rest of the world while our neighbour Russia burns them all. Not only they burn our bridges but they burn us alive.”
“Everyone been telling me that this contest tends to be apolitical and that Warrior is not a song about rainbows and butterflies but I said I don’t give a f*ck. And I won’t, while there’s chaos and terror in my country I can not pretend. While our sisters and brothers are kidnapped and humiliated, while ashes are covering our skies I can’t see the rainbow to write about it.”
“I remember one day I had a press conference, Russians were sitting next to me and I proudly called them occupiers and said I dedicated this beautiful song to them (even though they don’t deserve it) and that it’s such a shame for them to sing a song about love while killing people in Georgia. I said yes, this whole performance is political and it might make you feel little disturbed — it’s loud, it’s too dramatic, it’s out of context but still I’m gonna make the whole world see what’s really going on in Georgia, they gonna hear our voices and see us crying with our iron tears, they gonna see us in thunderstorm and they also gonna see us spreading our wings and fly freely while the whole concert hall applause for us.”
“After four years I am still Georgian and more than 20% of my country is still occupied by Russia! I said No No No to the enemy four years ago, and today I’m saying it again — we are warriors and we’ve been in danger for too long to be happy for your politics!”
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Almost four years ago, I decided to use the biggest platform ever to express what I feel towards occupation of my beautiful country Georgia. Back than the theme of the Eurovision was Building Bridges. And while writing Warrior I thought to myself – how can we, Georgians build bridges to connect with the rest of the world while our neighbour Russia burns them all. Not only they burn our bridges but they burn us alive. Everyone been telling me that this contest tends to be apolitical and that Warrior is not a song about rainbows and butterflies but I said I don’t give a fuck. And I won’t, while there’s a chaos and terror in my country I can not pretend. While our sisters and brothers are kidnapped and humiliated, while ashes are covering our skies I can’t see the rainbow to write about it. I remember one day I had a press conference, Russians were sitting next to me and I proudly called them occupiers and said I dedicated this beautiful song to them (even though they don’t deserve it) and that it’s such a shame for them to sing a song about love while killing people in Georgia. I said yes, this whole performance is political and it might make you feel little disturbed – it’s loud, it’s too dramatic, it’s out of context but still I’m gonna make the whole world see what’s really going on in Georgia, they gonna hear our voices and see us crying with our iron tears, they gonna see us in thunderstorm and they also gonna see us spreading our wings and fly freely while the whole concert hall applause for us. After four years I am still Georgian and more than 20% of my country is still occupied by Russia! I said No No No to the enemy four years ago, and today I’m saying it again – we are warriors and we’ve been in danger for too long to be happy for your politics! #beoximated #whateveritmeans
Didn’t she say in 2015 this was actually supposed to be a feminist song? ^^ Now it’s suddenly about Russia?
Okay – whatever…
Why does not she sing that Abkhazia and Osetia hate Georgia for its very brutal acts in the past? Georgia lost that 20% due stupid behaviour.
Actually, Russia’s always in top bcz of the neighbors it doesn’t invade… So even without Ukraine and Georgia there are bunch of countries that are always showing unabashed support …
‘… while ashes are covering our skies I can’t see the rainbow to write about it.’ – beautiful words indeed.
I dislike politics at the contest BUT I’m totally in for the messages like this (no politics in the lyrics).
Maybe my country’s lucky not to have Russia as its neighbor…
And ESC is supposed to be unpolitical…yet lyrics like this is allowed. Or Finland 2019. or France / italy 2018. I think politics + music is a mismatch generally. Either EBU should be more strict, in order to follow THEIR OWN rules. Or they should allow more poltical lyrics…..as they don’t really follow their own rules anyway
Music is inherently political. Nice try.
Music is Totally political?! Sorry – but that us nonsense. Most music is not political. If it was, I would not be a music fan!
I completely disagree Teddy. Music is not political at all by definition. But some use it politically, which we might not like…. On the other hand, you have a band like Rolling Stones. Who we know have made 1000s (?) of songs. Only ONE of them is political. Respect!
I can’t stand singers like Roger Waters and Bono, overpolitical, overserious, so pretensious and forget that music is entertainment. Awful people
Awful is to sing about rainbows and light entertainment. A lot of Rolling Stones songs have political and social undertones, by the way.
Umm…so you don’t like songs with serious messages. I understand the need to avoid conflict in the contest, but it should be limited to not allowing countries to send songs that explicitly other competing countries and their governments at present (like an anti Armenian song from Azerbaijan about Nargano-Karabkh or vice versa from Armenia) but otherwise any message, so long as it’s not discriminatory and adheres to the values of peace and tolerance that the contest espouses should be allowed. Eurovision is a music contest, but it is more than music when it allows people to take important stands.
Sometimes I can like songs with serious messages. For instance, last year many countries had good and serious lyrics, like Romania, Hungary, Portugal, Georgia etc. But don’t like when they use it politically. Some people think like you, that it’s not fair to send an entry which is a provocation for another country – like when Georgia got disqualified in 2009. But OK if it’s general. I think a political lyric should be very poetical and very open for interpretation / mysterious if it should would.
Good point- you shouldn’t provoke another country, but messages are otherwise fine
I’m a little confused. Presumably, she wrote this message now because of what’s happening in Georgia. After the Georgian parliament invited Russian MPs to speak there, people started protesting to which the Georgian authorities responded with excessive force. That led to more protests and violence, resignation of the speaker of the parliament of Georgia and etc…But, how is that Russia’s fault? It was the Georgian authorities who invited Russian MPs to speak in their parliament and the Georgian authorities who beat up their own citizens. So, if she is upset, she should be upset with her own government, if she… Read more »
I think she’s just against occupation. We all are as any sane person.
They were protesting against the rising influence of russia in georgia and georgian politics.
& I considered going there b/c my collague was & praised the sights & generally very kind ppl! my bad,
Now no travelling there from me & no buying Borjomi. Hopefully lots of our ppl reconsider going there for vacation. No flights is good decision. Congrats to all the nationalists & russopjobes. US propaganda put to good use I see. ppl seem to eat it up & say thank you. I hope they’re happy.
oh yeah, Russophobia, US propaganda…as if there is completely no imperialistic sentiment and no attempts to intervene in post-Soviet politics by Russia. Shiny happy people holding hands.
This is not regarding this article, but there is a petition by a Luxembourgish site for the return of Luxembourg to ESC 2020, and if they get 4500 signa they will send it to their broadcaster, if you search “Luxembourg Eurovision” on Google and go to News, and then you see The first article, click on it and you’ll see, help them back to the ESC!
People who bleat “no politics” are never from countries which have been invaded or carved up by a neighbour
oh phlease, she never mentioned that and she remembered the meaning of the song 4 years laters? yas honey, you got you 5 minutes of fame, bye now
I can totally feel her anger. My country is also under threat from Russia’s communist brother.
They’re economic competent so they always play economic card to make you bow down to them.
Ooh…that’s horrible…where are you from??
armenia i guess?
Thats so sad whats is happening there
“I proudly called them occupiers”? So, she thinks that the Russian Eurovision delegation and Polina occupied Georgia. It’s the same thing if you call every muslim a terrorist.
Polina is not an occupier, but she is occupied always, to sing for Putin.
At first I thought she was being opportunistic here, but I listened back to the song and it suddenly makes a lot more sense, and it makes the song even more awesome. “Fighter, isolated” seemed like a strange way to describe a powerful woman, but it makes more sense for a country that’s under the thumb of another. I always remember how she’d specifically say the song was about Georgian women and overcoming their challenges. Using a woman as a metaphor for her country, perhaps? Also, I think I may have figured out what she meant by “oximated” (though it… Read more »
Anyone else remember when “world peace” was an actual concept, and not just a fantastical dream?
Less musical warriors; more musical diplomats. Please and thank you. 🙂
P.S. Despite disagreeing with Nina on life, I do actually admire her music.
And does anyone else remember when a world peace advocate used to get likes?
I don’t care about the message, if it’s against another country it shouldn’t be on Eurovision periodt. No wonder the smoke machine malfunctioned, karma’s a bitch Nina. #dontgettoopolitical
WOW! Great message Nina! Really proud of this girl and of her ability to speak the truth and not to hide own emotions. She sang what she felt and let her true feelings out and expressed them in her song, as it should be done when you are a true artist. And also very happy to see the understanding and support to Georgia in the comments below. It means that people are really concerned by the whole situation.
i’m sure thomas gson and his swedish team wrote warrior with the russian occupation of georgia in mind
They haven’t written any of the lyrics. They only revamped it after the georgian national selection.
Maybe they should have. They might have known some actual English words and sentences.
Tell that to Netta..
Why would I?
Lol, the song was written solely by Nina.
Thomas was only in charge of the revamp.
Nina wrote warrior on her own! The swedish team did the revamp though
armenia and georgia are queen countries.
I feel like every Georgian entry is secretly political lol
That’s basically every Eurovision song. Whenever you’re feeling bored, find a political undertone in “La Venda” or “Love Is Forever”.
well your not that wrong i guess… sul tsin iare is definitely influenced by whats going ob in georgia, so is warrior as we read above and you can totally recognize that pattern in keep the faith, just listen to the lyrics…
tbh i prefer these songs to fake-loves songs (cough 2013 cough) or cringe (cough almost evey other year cough) and i think, just because eurovision is about peacefully enjoying art, we should not close our eyes to whats going on in europe/caucasus if its not “love love peace peace”
Georgia 2013 a FAKE love song? Why? Maybe a boring love song, but that’s another thing 🙂
“Praying for peace and healing, I hope we can start again.” lol I’ve always seen these kind of songs as pure cynicism. Totally oximated.
“[…]while there’s chaos and terror in my country I can not pretend.” This sentence alone shows just how important it should be for a country to be able to send any themes songs they want and not just “love love peace peace”. You could tell she was and still is feeling her song a lot more than if she had sung about a rainbow and that’s what we need in this contest.
Singers who sing with their guts and feelings.
Everyone who lives outside of Georgia and Ukraine should educate themselves on the topic of Russian Occupation of these and other countries.
People please do research before you comment.
Their brain is almost dead, have some mercy, please!
By the way, I live in a NATO country, and soon all NATO will be at war because of Russia’s hard teasing.
Thank you for anybody who gave me an realistic like. Russia is at NATO borders, teasing as hell. Keep living in your peaceful bubble. Sweet dreams!
And the US is occupying the other countries.
And Western countries watch and critisize Russia for what it does to Ukraine and Georgia but takes absolutely no action to improve the situation.
They need GAS, the almighty GAS. Russia has it.
If you start war with russia you basicly start world war three you know.
You mentioned only two countries and how many countries that same west ruined and devastated? We can’t even count them. How many people they ki*lled and forced to migrate? Next is iran because they need to use all those am*mo and b*ombs they made; they need their resources too. They don’t care about gen*oci*de that’s been happening in yemen.
With all due respect, you have a brain, use it.
But those countries don’t participate in ESC while Russia has the audacity to send acts like Polina while basically invading 2 other participants…
4 years later and the meaning of ‘oximated’ remains yet a mystery.
Shame on you! None of those countries and the other are useless, I guess you are one pathetic human being who grew up in hate!
O X I M A T E
Why when there’s drama in Eurovision it always has to do with the Caucasus and Russia?
I guess you should ask Russia..
And yet nobody sings about the west devastating the middle east.
maybe bcz middle east doesn’t participate (not counting israel in)
guess we know who was behind the smoke machine malfunction #oximated
Have you heard about H a t a r i ?
Where have you been the entire year, with all the calls to boycott Israel 2019? xD
I thought it was a feminist statement- guess it still can be but it is telling she used the iconography of Queen Tamar, considered one of the country’s greatest rulers and one of the few truly powerful queens of the medieval era (love ESC for the history lessons it can provide), with the triple queen figure.
As always, hoping for peace, harmony and dignity to all currently embroiled in conflict, but let me reiterate once again that with the contest going to The Netherlands at least it will be in the background rather than foreground of Eurovision 2020.
With the last phrase you only make people hate Netherlands. You f_–ng arrogant.
It wasn’t a value judgement but an objective observation of the fact that The Netherlands is not embroiled in a regional conflict unlike Ukraine, Israel, Georgia, Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. I didn’t mean to cause offence.
You can downvote as much as you want, but this arrogant Azaad hopes for harmony, just as long as Eurovision is in a first world country. You can take your harmony and you know what to do with it. You ef colonialists.
She should return and give Georgia its fist victory! Underrated legend! The only problem was that she took part in the most competitive year.
I’m with you. She should come back and give Georgia its best result ever.
Just kick out all 3 caucasian countries. Tired of their drama every year.
Is 20% of your country occupied by another country? And that same country tries to control politics in your country? If not maybe shut up.
He/she’s Greek (I’m 100% sure) so that explains everything
f off moron, how you know that? Greeks have a bond with the caucasian countries, greeks have been living in Georgia in ancient times, stupid uneducated trash.
So kick out Iceland and Israel too? If you can’t take drama, real life will give you many surprises you are not prepared for.
Gurl, they are not even close to being ready for the voting sequence
Boii you’re from greece. We’ve just had 12 years of macedonia drama.
eurovision really wouldnt be the same without them