Will Russia take a year out from Eurovision? Surely not! However for weeks now we have been hearing several rumours on their participation at Eurovision 2014. So what might be the reasons for an unthinkable decision like this?
- The Winter Olympics
- Implications due to their LGBT Legislation
People were shocked to hear that Russian TV had pushed back their Eurovision National Final and had given no date when we could expect it to be rescheduled. The new selection process was called “Kto?” and had a lot of promotion in 2013. Allegedly a new song submission date was February 28th. However there have been no updates from Rossiya 1 who are organising the 2014 Eurovision entry.
The Winter Olympics
The Winter Olympics are being held in Sochi (February 7th to 23rd). This will certainly take up Russian Media coverage and resources so pushing a National Selection out until after then could be governed by sheer logistics. However the Russian authorities are expecting a considerable amount of demonstrations at the event and have even provided a designated area for demonstrations to take place in.
With the world’s eyes upon Russia for the Olympics, might it be that the media are concentrating on this single event and all other events take second place? Who knows but it is something to ponder. Remember that Russia will host the World Cup in 2018, so the last thing they would want is for an Olympic Event not to be presented to the highest standard possible.
Recent LGBT Legislation
There has been vast global attention towards the Russian LGBT Legislation that was passed in 2013. This in itself is no reason for Russia to stay away from Eurovision. However you may remember that a small petition was created in Belarus in protest to the inclusion of Austrian performer Conchita Wurst at Eurovision. Well this petition has now spread to Russia.
A parent’s organization in Tver, the “All-Russia Parents Assembly”, has appealed to the Ministry of Communications and Mass Telecommunications, asking the agency to ban the broadcast of the 2014 Eurovision contest on Russian television channels claiming Austria’s Conchita Wurst,
“promotes a lifestyle unacceptable for Russian society.”
The story has been taken up by Pravda in Russia and many others. The petition may have only 400 signatures now but it could certainly test the Russian Authorities on how strict they will enforce their new legislation. Should they participate at Eurovision and Broadcast Conchita’s performance, how might this be viewed internally by the Russian Public. It is worth taking this into consideration.
You may remember that we posted an interview that we had with Conchita Wurst late last year. Many thanks to the 60 thousand (and rising) people who have viewed the interview so far. Hundreds of you have liked and shared the video but a small amount of people have felt the need to send in threatening mails to us simply because we made the interview. Suffice to say that we have ignored these threats and stand by our ethos to welcome people of all nationalities, races and sexual orientation on our site.
So might 2014 be a year that Russia decides to step off the Eurovision stage? At this moment this is all based on speculation but certainly gives one food for thought. However could you imagine a Eurovision without Russia? Will the inclusion of one artist at Eurovision call for a review of Russian legislation? Will the Red Army Choir see their dreams of participating at Eurovision dashed? Time will tell.
Author/Website co-founder and Editor in Chief Garrett Mulhall
Source : BBC, Pravda, RBTH and Eurovision Ireland