She’s a familiar face at Belarus’ national finals. But NAPOLI has announced on her social media that she will not be sending in an entry for BTRC’s Eurovision 2021 selection due to the current political situation.
Writing on her official VKontakte page, NAPOLI — whose real name is Olga Shimanskaya — shared with her followers that it was not an easy decision to make.
Olga is a real lover of the energy and environment of the contest and has long dreamt of performing at Eurovision. Though based in Cyprus, she participated in the Belarusian national final for seven years in a row, starting in 2013. Next to that, she once also tried her fate in Poland’s Eurovision selection Krajowe Eliminacje in 2016.
However, the current situation in Belarus has forced her to reconsider entering in her home country. In the current climate and current situation in Belarus, she and her producer and manager Alexander Slutsky took the decision to not enter. Together, they put out a long statement on her official VKontake page, written in the first person by her manager.
NAPOLI won’t try to represent Belarus at Eurovision 2021
In the statement — translated into English — NAPOLI wrote:
“Friends, we have thought and decided long. I am acknowledging that personally, this decision was not easily made. For seven years in a row, we got through to the final of the Belarusian national selection for Eurovision, and became a record holder for the number of finals in a row.”
“Above all, it is my personal drug. I awaited the national selection with excitement every single year because it is such a fascinating adventure. We really wanted to represent the homeland Belarus at Eurovision. Not all our attempts were successful. But exactly when we had something really good, the victory was taken from us by orders from above. Drawing up a victory in the selection and sending “necessary” artists to the contest, like that was in the case of Viktor Drobysh and his pupil IVAN. And in the case of Alekseev, who also by appointment “stole” the victory from many great artists in that national final.”
“In general, we decided to NOT enter this year in the Belarusian selection, though we had a song and quite a good one. First, because it is feeble-minded because of our political position against violence, unlawfulness and violence in general. Second, if we had been lucky to win the selection, we didn’t want to agree to represent our country underneath the red-green flag. (…) Third, I think, that when people are in prison for made-up reasons, only for the expressions for their positions. When a country literally goes back to prison camps, and the majority of the Belarusian people try to fight with a criminal regime, it is simply blasphemous to take part in a variety of government-organised events.”
“I am not going to judge artistic colleagues, who decide, after all, to take part in the selection. But those, who say “keep politics outside of music”, are lying to themselves, because with the desire to PR their name and song, they are openly supporting violence!”
“In one of my own previous posts, I wrote about the initiative to take Eurovision from the BTRC. And I am not taking back my words. I don’t have pretences to them. The team that makes Eurovision is extremely professional, and I sincerely wish them good luck!
“In general, this year, we are going to be spectators, next year, we’ll see. I hope that we will have the ability to take part in the selection in a new free country, a new Belarus!”
The statement refers to a recent campaign by the Belarusian Foundation for Cultural Solidarity to exclude broadcaster BTRC from the European Broadcasting Union due to its involvement in the current political situation.
In 2016, NAPOLI came closest to performing at Eurovision, coming second to IVAN with the song “My Universe” in that year’s Natsionalyi Otbor. Last year, she finished ninth.
With her statement, NAPOLI became the first act from last year’s Natsionalnyi Otbor to state their refusal to re-enter the selection in 2021. BTRC has previously confirmed that VAL — who won the 2020 national final — will not be invited back due to their speaking out against the government.
The current submission window for acts to enter a song is open until 31 January.