We were all getting excited when fan favorite Maruv (Anna Kirstin) won the Ukrainian national selection last Saturday night. Some of us even predicted a possible winner for Ukraine once again. But the party was too soon.
Just after the show, and after Anna was asked by jury member, Jamala, winner of Eurovision 2016, if Crimea is part of Ukraine, Ukrainian broadcaster, UA:PBC, stated that the winner is not automatically guaranteed a round trip ticket to Tel Aviv in May.
According to the broadcaster, "UA:PBC provides MARUV as the winner of the national selection with an agreement for consideration, specifying the terms of participation in the Eurovision Song Contest. The official announcement of the representative of Ukraine at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest will take place after signing the participation agreement. The performer representing Ukraine... upon signing an agreement with UA:PBC, also has commitments of becoming a cultural ambassador of Ukraine and delivering not only their music but also expressing the opinion of the Ukrainian society in the world.”.
The broadcaster then added: “After the negotiations, UA:PBC and the singer MARUV have not found common ground in the mission of the representative of Ukraine at the international song contest. In addition, according to the Rules of the Eurovision Song Contest (p.2.6), the Participating Broadcaster must ensure the non-political character of the contest. The situation around the national selection this year has signs of politicization. The social resonance, attempts of pressure by political forces, intervention of cultural figures and informational structures of the aggressor state with this discussion have actually caused politicization of the results of the national selection. The Public Service Broadcaster sees danger of escalation of the split of the Ukrainian society in this situation, which contradicts the objectives of the Public Service Broadcaster (according to the Law of Ukraine on Public Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine, facilitating the consolidation of the Ukrainian society is one of the main objectives of UA:PBC)."
So Maruv will be watching this year‘s contest from home. Now Ukrainian broadcaster has the toughest task of finding a replacement in a very very short time. According to our sources, most of the artists who participated at the national selection with Maruv are refusing to sign this kind of contract. If they fail to submit a song in time, Ukraine might end up withdrawing from the competition and paying a significant fine.
The EBU has released the following statement; “Each participating broadcaster is responsible for the selection of their participant for the Eurovision Song Contest in accordance to the rules set out by the European Broadcasting Union. The broadcaster is currently in talks to announce the representative for this year’s contest, and once they are confirmed, will be announced on the official Eurovision channels.”
What will happen, we should wait and see, but, to be honest, we didn’t miss this kind of drama from Ukraine. Let’s leave politics aside and celebrate Eurovision.