The EBU has confirmed that Belarus will not take part at Eurovision 2021.
After their original entry was found to be in breach of rules, the EBU asked broadcaster BTRC and Galasy ZMesta to adjust it or submit a new song. But their new entry was also found to be in breach of the rules, resulting in the disqualification of Belarus at Eurovision 2021.
EBU statement: Belarus disqualified from Eurovision 2021
Galasy ZMesta’s new song “Pesnyu pro zaytsa (Song about a bunny)” was found to be in breach of official Eurovision rules. The EBU published the statement today on the Eurovision.tv website.
“On Wednesday 10 March we wrote to the broadcaster BTRC, which is responsible for Belarus’ entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, to request that they take all steps necessary to amend their entry to this year’s event to ensure it is compliant with the rules of the competition.
Following this BTRC submitted a new song, by the same artists, within an agreed timeframe.
The EBU and the Reference Group, the Contest’s governing board, carefully scrutinised the new entry to assess its eligibility to compete.
It was concluded that the new submission was also in breach of the rules of the competition that ensure the Contest is not instrumentalised or brought into disrepute.
As BTRC have failed to submit an eligible entry within the extended deadline, regrettably, Belarus will not be participating in the 65th Eurovision Song Contest in May.”
With this, the official number of participants at Eurovision 2021 has lowered to 39. In semi-final one, where Galasy ZMesta were scheduled to perform, only 16 countries will compete for qualification.
— Eurovision Song Contest (@Eurovision) March 26, 2021
Why were Galasy ZMesta disqualified from Eurovision?
The EBU did not disclose the exact nature of the rule breach. However, it is suggested that “Pesnyu pro zaytsa (Song about a bunny)” contains homophobic language and political connotations in its lyrics. “Bunny” is a homophobic slur sometimes used against gay men. With this, the song is in breach of of Eurovision rule 2.7(i):
“The lyrics and/or performance of the songs shall not bring the Shows, the ESC as such or the EBU into disrepute. No lyrics, speeches, gestures of a political, commercial or similar nature shall be permitted during the ESC. No swearing or other unacceptable language shall be allowed in the lyrics or in the performances of the songs.”
Earlier this month, the EBU deemed Galasy ZMesta’s original song also to be in breach of this rule. In the EBU’s original statement, they claimed “Ya nauchu tebya (I’ll teach you)” “puts the non-political nature of the Contest in question”.
The exact reason for this is related to the ongoing political situation in Belarus, which started in 2020 when pro-democracy protests erupted across the country following the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko. These elections have been widely condemned by the international community, including by the European Union. Fans also showed disapproval of Galasy ZMesta and their song after discovering the band’s history of transphobia and misogyny within their songs.
The EBU wrote to Belarusian broadcaster BTRC, asking for a new song. “We’ve requested that they take all necessary steps to submit a modified version, or a new song, that is compliant with the ESC rules”, they said. “Failure to do so could result in disqualification from this year’s Contest.” However, Galasy ZMesta’s new submission was also found to be inappropriate for Eurovision.
This marks the first Eurovision disqualification since Romania’s Ovidiu Anton was forced to withdraw “Moment of Silence” following financial issues with national broadcaster TVR owing debt to the EBU. Previously, Georgia’s Stefane & 3G were also disqualified from Eurovision in 2009 for the political nature of their song “We Don’t Wanna Put In” — a double entendre jab at Vladimir Putin, president of host country Russia.
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