05/16/2016, 10.52
RUSSIA - UKRAINE
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A song about the Crimean Tatars wins 2016 Eurovision. Russia outraged

Ukrainian singer Jamala won the song contest with a song about mass deportations wanted by Stalin, with an implicit condemnation of the annexation of the peninsula by Moscow and the pressure that the Tatars are currently experiencing. The Russian competitor, great favorite, finishes third. For Moscow it is a "political victory".

Moscow (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Jamala, a 32 year-old Ukrainian singer, won the 2016 Eurovision song contest with a song about the mass deportations of the minority of the Crimean Tatars, ordered by Stalin during the Second World War. The text also represents an implicit condemnation of Moscow’s annexation of the peninsula in 2014.

From the outset the Tatars, a Muslim ethnic group, were strongly opposed to the independence of the Crimea from Kiev and then its entrance into the Russian Federation - sanctioned by a popular referendum in 2014, never recognized by the international community; They are now being subjected to strong pressure from the new Crimean authorities. Why is also why the song is deeply relevant.

Despite the protests of Moscow the body which oversees the festival, the European Broadcasting Union, decided exceptionally to admit a song of political content.

Entitled "1944", the song is one of the most controversial winners in the history of the song contest – which is hugely popular in the countries of the former Soviet Union - and has beaten the big favorite: Russian competitor Sergey Lazarev, igniting strong controversy between Moscow and Kiev.

Jamala won the final in Stockholm with 534 points, followed by the Australian competitor Dami Im with 511 points and Lazarev with 491. The jury of experts from the EU nations tilted the result in favor of the Ukranian, while the popular vote would have handed victory to the Russian .  This is also why Moscow immediately claims that the victory was a political one.

“The Ukrainian singer Jamala and her song '1944' did not win Eurovision 2016. Politics has beaten art" said Sen. Frants Klintsevich quoted by Russian agencies, asking Moscow to boycott the next edition of the competition, which will be hosted by Ukraine.

A response was swift in coming from Kiev’s Verkhovna Rada with MP, Anton Gerashchenko warning that the next edition will only be open to those artists who "believe the taking of the Crimea and the occupation of part of Donbas a crime" (regions of Eastern Ukraine) and do not offend the national dignity of Ukraine.

The president of the Russian Senate Foreign Commission, Konstantin Kochachev, said the Eurovision victory will encourage the pro-Western leadership of Kiev and the difficult peace process will be further put at risk. The spokesman for the Moscow Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakahrova, commented sarcastically on Facebook, suggesting that to win in the next edition of Eurovision nations will have to write a song on the "bloodthirsty" Basha al-Assad, the Syrian president backed by the Kremlin.

But there are also those who chose to tone down reactions, as the same Lazarov, congratulated Jamala and refused to be drawn into controversy.

Reactions in Ukraine were very different, where Jamala was congratulated by President Petro Poroshenko. "If you sing about the truth, you can really touch people's hearts," said the singer, whose song was inspired by the events of her great-grandmother, a Crimean Tatar. "I am sad about what is happening in the Crimea, I hope that everything will be ok", she added, referring to the latest series of raids, arrests and notices against the Tatars by Crimean authorities.

Jamala, whose real name is Susana Jamaladinova, was born in Kyrgyzstan, the country where her family was exiled during the Second World War. The artist did not return to the former Ukrainian peninsula - where her parents and relatives still live - after its annexation to Moscow. From the stage, during the award ceremony, she shouted: "Peace and love to all. Glory to Ukraine!".

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