Belarusian-born singer Angelica Agurbash stormed Eurovision 2005 with her single “Love Me Tonight”. In 2020, she showed a new side to herself during the Belarusian protests as a supporter of the pro-democracy movement. However, as a result of her support, she now faces an extradition request and a large court case.
Although she lives in Moscow, Russia, Angelica has supported the pro-democracy movement prominently on social media. On her Instagram, she posted multiple pictures with pro-democracy symbols, including the White-Red-White flag, that has since been forbidden in Belarus. Next to that, she took part in several protests in the Russian capital.
As so many artists in Belarus, she is now facing the consequences of her support.
Angelica Agurbash faces extradition request to Belarus
As the Russian service of BBC reports, the General Prosecutor’s Office of Belarus placed an extradition request for Angelica Agurbash in late June. Agurbash is accused of creating “social emnity and discord” and publicly insulting the country’s president.
According to the report, if found guilty, she could face a prison sentence of up to twelve years.
Speaking to Lenta.ru, Angelica has called on the Russian state to help her. Next to being a Belarusian citizen, like many Belarusian stars living in Moscow, she owns a Russian passport too. She said:
“[If I could say anything to Vladimir Putin right now], then I would really ask him for help and ask him to just help and protect the Belarusian people from that amount of terror, unfairness, unlawfulness and aggression, which occur now in Belarus. That repressive machine just destroys Belarusians, the best representatives, the gene pool of the nation.”
Later, she corrected part of her statement, saying that she had not made a public appeal to the Russian president, but had simply answered a question of a journalist asking her what she wanted to say to Vladimir Putin if she could talk to him.
Belarusian artists continue to face problems
Agurbash is the latest in a series of new attacks on entertainment professionals in Belarus. In early June, former Eurovision commentator and national final presenter Denis Dudinskiy faced a sudden search of his house by the state tax services. In that search, all his electronics were confiscated. As a result of the event, Denis and his wife, presenter Katerina Raetskaya, decided to relocate to Kyiv, Ukraine. Speaking to Nasha Niva, Denis said:
“It is pleasingly sad that we had to leave for indefinite amount of time. But we keep in contact with friends, family members, it does not give to be sad. [Ukraine] is sunny, beautiful, there are many Belarusians, therefore there is this feeling that we will not leave from here. I don’t want to say that we felt some kind of danger or that they were following us in Minsk. We lived there and dreamt, like all Belarusians in our time. And now there are other feelings, the parting with the homeland and friends, even for the time being. It’s hard but we have not let the process through ourselves.”
Back in April, pro-government regional channel CTV “decorated” NAVIBAND with the Order of Nothing, portraying Arciom and Ksienija next to a gallows. Earlier, Angelica Agurbash faced similar treatment. In May, after Måneskin won Eurovision 2021, the same channel made homophobic remarks about the group.
In June, the EBU excluded Belarus’ state broadcaster BTRC from its union. This will make it impossible for the broadcaster to enter either the Junior Eurovision or next year’s Eurovision in Italy.