Russia is officially prohibited from participating in the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest, the organization announced on Friday.
For the uninitiated, Eurovision is an annual televised songwriting competition presented by the European Broadcasting Union in which European countries are allowed to enter one original song apiece for consideration. (Perhaps you’re familiar with Netflix’s Will Ferrell–Rachel McAdams film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga? That’s basically it.)
The organization’s decision to exclude Russia from the 2022 competition came as a result of its escalating assault on Ukraine. Read on for the full statement, released via the Contest’s social media accounts:
“The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has announced that no Russian act will participate in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The Executive Board of the EBU made the decision following a recommendation earlier today by the Eurovision Song Contest’s governing body, the Reference Group, based on the rules of the event and the values of the EBU. The Reference Group recommendation was also supported by the EBU’s Television Committee.”
It continues: “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. Before making this decision, the EBU took time to consult widely among its membership.”
In conclusion, “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.”
Ukraine has twice won the Eurovision Song Contest, first in 2004 with Ruslana’s “Wild Dances,” and again in 2016 with Jamala’s “1944.” Russia has only one win under its belt with Dima Bilan’ “Believe” in 2008.
The 2022 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, held in Turin, Italy, is slated for May 10, 12 and 14.