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News > World

Ukraine's Eurovision Win Puts Politics Over People, Says Russia

  • Ukraine's Jamala reacts on winning the Eurovision Song Contest finals at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm.

    Ukraine's Jamala reacts on winning the Eurovision Song Contest finals at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 May 2016

The Russian entry was largely favored to win, snagging the popular vote, but the jury selected Ukraine's politically-inspired song as the winner.

Russian politicians have lashed out at Ukraine's "political" victory in the Eurovision song contest, as one pro-Kremlin paper insisted Moscow's entrant was robbed.

One Year Since the Crimea Referendum

Ukrainian performer Jamala won the glitzy contest with her ballad about the 1944 deportation of the Crimean Tatars by Soviet authorities during World War II, reportedly inspired by her great-grandmother, in a performance widely seen as a swipe at Moscow over the accession Crimea to Russia 2014.

WATCH: Jamala's winning performance

Russian singer Sergei Lazarev, the clear favorite with bookmakers before the contest, was beaten into third place after losing out on the national jury tallies despite claiming the most points from viewers in the public vote. The juries of both countries each awarded the other's singer zero points. Televoters of both nations were more generous — 10 points to Ukraine from Russia, and 12 to Russia from Ukraine.

WATCH: Sergei Lazarev's 'You are the Only One' at the Grand Final

"It was not the Ukrainian singer Jamala and her song 1944 that won the Eurovision 2016, it was politics that beat art," Russian senator Frants Klintsevich told Russian news wires, calling for Russia to possibly skip next year's tournament in Ukraine.

Russia and Ukraine have been at odds ever since the democratically-elected president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, was overthrown in 2014 and attacks against Russians began.

A referendum in Crimea was held to determine whether its residents would stay a part of the Ukraine or join Russia instead. Crimea voted overwhelmingly to join Russia and other elements in eastern Ukraine began a revolt against the new right-wing, pro-Western government.

The crisis in Ukraine has pushed ties between Russia and the West to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War.

Crimea Again at the Center of Ukraine Dispute with Russia

After the Eurovision win, Ukrainian former prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk celebrated, saying that, "Ukraine has and will be winning, Crimea will be Ukrainian!"

The head of the foreign affairs committee in Russia's upper chamber Konstantin Kochachev insisted that "according to the tally of points it was geopolitics that gained the upperhand."

Kochachev said that the Eurovision victory could embolden Ukraine's pro-Western leadership and jeopardized an already stuttering peace process to end the conflict in the east even further.

"The thing the country needs now as much as air is peace. But war won," Kochachev said.

Mass-circulation tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda ran an online article entitled, "How the European jury stole victory from Lazarev."

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