Russia will no longer be allowed to participate in the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest, the European Broadcasting Union has said.
The move is a complete turnaround from their position just hours earlier, following a recommendation that Russia did not uphold the contest’s values to ‘unite nations and celebrate diversity through music’ therefore bringing the competition into disrepute.
Nine broadcasters, including Iceland, Estonia, Norway and the Netherlands, had called for Russia to be banned from the contest and Finland which said it would refuse to participate if Russia did.
While Russia dropped literal bombs on Ukraine, the EBU had argued that Eurovision was a “non-political cultural event” and that Russia would still be invited to participate.
Basically no one agreed with this, and the EBU copped a barrage of pressure and criticism from fans, artists and several broadcasters.
Roughly 24-hours later, the staunchly apolitical EBU pulled a huge about-face and banned Russia.
“The decision reflects concern that, in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian entry in this year’s Contest would bring the competition into disrepute,” they said in a statement.
“Before making this decision the EBU took time to consult widely among its membership.
“The EBU is an apolitical member organization of broadcasters committed to upholding the values of public service.
“We remain dedicated to protecting the values of a cultural competition which promotes international exchange and understanding, brings audiences together, celebrates diversity through music and unites Europe on one stage.”
A total of 40 countries, including Australia, will now compete in the song contest.