Russia will not be allowed to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest 2022, the executive board of the European Broadcasting Union announced today, February 25. “The decision reflects concern that, in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian bid in this year’s competition would bring competition to a reputation,” the EBU said in a statement.
Some public figures in Russia have opposed President Vladimir V. Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine. Renowned rapper Oxxxymiron canceled concerts in Moscow and St. Petersburg, explaining, “I can not entertain you when Russian missiles are hitting Ukraine – when Kiev residents are forced to hide in basements and subways while people are dying.” Other musicians who voiced opposition to the invasion are: Pussy Riot, Kasta, Shym, Vladi, Khamil, Zmey and Noize MC.
Russian acts have participated in Eurovision 23 times since their debut in 1994. The 2009 Eurovision Song Contest took place at the Olympic Stadium in Moscow. That year, Georgia withdrew from Eurovision because its presentation, “We do not want to get in,” was rejected by the EBU for its perceived crackdown on Putin, who at the time was Russia’s prime minister. (The song was officially rejected because it “complied with the rules of the competition”, which declared “texts, speeches, gestures of a political nature or similar” illegal. “)