The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), responsible for overseeing the televising of the Eurovision Song Contest, will soon have to make an important decision regarding the recent upheaval in Crimea. This decision concerns counting Crimea’s votes for Eurovision Final on May 10th and whether they will it be counted as part of Russia or as part of Ukraine.
Eurovision tends to try its best to avoid getting involved in political affairs even banning songs with clear political messages from participating. This was the case in when Georgia’s song ‘We Don’t Want to Put In’ was disqualified from competing as it criticised Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
The situation in Crimea where Russian forces have annexed territories that were up until recently part of the Ukraine has been heavily condemned by majority of world leaders. Economic sanctions have been imposed on some Russian individuals by the EU and US in a hope of deterring any further action. The EBU’s decision could be seen as coming out in defence of Ukraine and potentially angering Russia, or if they side with Russia they could be seen as recognising their military aggression and recognising that their annexation is valid. The decision could set a precedent as to how other international parties deal with the situation. The other option would be not to count the votes from the region at all, but then that would be very undemocratic and against the ethos of the contest.
Speaking to newspaper Aftonbladet on the situation EBU Supervisor Jon Ola Sand remarked that:
”We don’t have an answer for that yet, it is a technical challenge. It’s something we’ll decide when we know what the infrastructure looks like in the area. It depends on whether the people in Crimea have a Russian or a Ukrainian phone operator.”
We’ll keep you abreast of what they decide, so check back here to find out.