At the start of the week, Manizha soared to victory at Russia’s national final for Eurovision 2021. However, since then things haven’t been so smooth for the Russian-Tajik singer. Her song “Russian Woman” and her national final performance have attracted large criticism among certain people in Russia. Now, several Russian Eurovision stars, including winner Dima Bilan, have countered this criticism and publicly voiced their support for her.
Russia’s Eurovision 2021 singer was born in Tajikistan and moved to Moscow as a child. During her postcard before her national final performance, Manizha told the audience about how her country was a place with many different nationalities and people.
In the days after her win, which coincided with International Women’s Day, Manizha has faced criticism from several large public figures who called her song “not Russian enough”. On the other hand, people have also criticised “Russian Woman” for being sung partially in Russian, which “would decrease the chances of Russia at the contest”.
Russian Eurovision stars support Manizha
In a video on Instagram, Dima Bilan — Russia’s only Eurovision winner — spoke out in defence for Manizha. In a seven-minute video, he addressed her and said that it is a good thing she is going to Eurovision as Russia’s representative:
“Manizha, there is fire in you. You really say and do a lot in the direction of, let’s say, inclusivity of people. You are familiar with problems that not many of us think about. We are all busy with surviving, especially after these moments.”
Next to that, he later hit back at those who said she shouldn’t be Russia’s representative due to her Tajik origins, noting his own roots:
“Manizha is a very capable musician. Whoever wrote things on the internet didn’t know Manizha. You know, nobody knew Masha Katz [Youddiph] either when she went to Eurovision for the first time. What changed? The stakes changed. We have become angrier or what? What’s wrong? For example, I came from Kabardino-Balkaria. I am a real Russian and I was born in Karachay-Cherkessia. Why was that question not made when I went for example?”
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Other Eurovision stars have also supported Manizha. Among them are Yulia Savicheva and Dina Garipova, who represented Russia in 2004 and 2013 respectively.
“Viewers chose Manizha. That means, they fell in love, that she showed herself from a good side. We, who were sitting in the venue, liked the energy which came from Manizha.”
Yulia added in that same article:
“She thus amazed me with her charisma, thoughts, that I immediately fell in love with the singer and songwriter. The performance and song caught me, and also that it was about a strong Russian woman.”
United Nations congratulate Manizha
In addition to Eurovision stars, Manizha has also received support from the United Nations, specifically their refugee agency UNHCR. Manizha is a goodwill ambassador for the agency, having been a refugee herself previously when she moved from Tajikistan to Russia.
In a tweet following her win at the national selection, the agency congratulated the star:
“We’re proud to see that former refugee, Tajik-born singer and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Manizha has been chosen to represent Russia in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest after a national vote.”
We're proud to see that former refugee, Tajik-born singer and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Manizha has been chosen to represent Russia in this year's @Eurovision Song Contest after a national vote. ?? #ESC2021 https://t.co/kR4E4b1CPN pic.twitter.com/JAH4CHHMDZ
— UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency (@Refugees) March 10, 2021
What do you think about the thoughts of these Russian Eurovision stars? Are you glad that Manizha is receiving this support? Let us know in the comments below!