20 November 2023

Russia puts Ukrainian winner of Eurovision Song Contest on wanted list

20 November 2023

Russia has placed a Ukrainian singer who won the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest on its wanted list, state news agencies reported.

Singer Susana Jamaladinova – stage name Jamala – is being sought for violating a criminal law, according to an interior ministry database listing.

The independent news site Mediazona, which covers opposition and human rights issues, said Jamaladinova was charged under a law adopted last year that bans spreading so-called fake information about the Russian military and the ongoing fighting in Ukraine

Jamaladinova is of Crimean Tatar descent. She won the 2016 Eurovision contest with the song 1944, a title that refers to the year the Soviet Union deported Crimean Tatars en masse.

Her winning performance came almost exactly two years after Russia annexed Crimea as political turmoil gripped Ukraine. Most other countries regard the annexation as illegitimate.

Russia protested against 1944 being allowed in the competition, saying it violated rules against political speech in Eurovision.

But the song made no specific criticism of Russia or the Soviet Union, although it drew such implications, opening with the lyrics: “When strangers are coming, they come to your house, they kill you all and say ‘We’re not guilty.'”

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