Eurovision Controversy: Why did Ukraine withdraw from the Competition?

Historically, the Eurovision Song Contest has had a reputation for attracting curiosity and controversy.

Many artists in the past were either criticized for their excessively conservative or liberal look or views but it was rare in the case of a country and their politics. In the case of the latter, the Russian Federation in last decade has attracted a lot of heat and criticisms for its political behaviors: the political agenda enforced by Vladimir Putin and the country’s conduct in Ukraine with the illicit annexation of Crimea, causing political and diplomatic tension between the countries.


Nonetheless, the two nations always partook in the competition although attracting controversy.

This year, however, Ukraine has announced that it will withdraw from the competition and not send a delegate to rightfully represent the country.

This came as a shock to the community as Ukraine last one in 2016 with “1944” by Jamala, who is of Tatar Crimean descent and chose to sing in both English and Crimean. Moreover, the nation has a record of never failing to qualify for the final. What happened that lead to this decision?

The origins are of a contractual dispute between the representative, Maruv, and UA:PBC, Ukraine’s broadcaster, where the artist refused to sign the contractual agreement with the broadcasting entity.


The details of the contract revealed that there were heavy and important performance restrictions should the artist decide to perform in Russia. Although Maruv was willing to not perform in Russia and cancel tour dates, she opposed the signing because she did not want to be associated with any particular political affiliation and be used as a propaganda puppet.

Other disagreements arose, allegedly, involving the expenses, extents, and permission to partake in promotional events and be featured in interviews.

However, the troubles in Ukraine have been running deep this year in particular. The selection of the representative was especially hard and tainted in political hardship as possible representatives for this year’s edition, twins AnnaMaria, commented that Ukraine had lost Crimea in response to whether Crimea lost or gained its sovereignty. The parents of the twins held prestigious careers in Crimea and, thus, many speculated political favoritism and whether or not AnnaMaria should be allowed to represent Ukraine in Eurovision.


Their statement was troubling for UA:PBC as they discovered that many other participants running to become representatives of the 2019 Eurovision competition were found to have Russian connections.



Therefore, Ukraine’s withdrawal was not only because of internal contractual disputes but was also political in nature. We hope that the country returns in 2020!


/ Popnable Media

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