Back in 2007, Ukrainian superstar Verka Serduchka sang “Dancing Lasha Tumbai” and took Europe by storm despite no one knowing what ‘lasha tumbai’ really meant. While Verka alleged it was Mongolian for ‘churned butter’, some suggested it was actually a phonetic phrase to sound like ‘Russia goodbye’… is this about to come to pass?
Anyone following the news over the last few years will know Russia and Ukraine have a very tense relationship politically. This came to a head in 2014 after Crimea, Jamala’s ancestral homeland, was annexed into Russia. Their souring relationship has now spread into Eurovision as in a recent interview with the BBC, Russian MP Vitaly Milonov has stated he believes Russia should boycott this year’s contest in Ukraine. He explained:
“The reality is that we will be unwelcome guests in a country seized by fanatics, who dream of destroying all the good between the Russian and Ukrainian peoples,”
It seems Milonov is not alone in thinking this. Iosif Kobzon, often billed as Russia’s answer to Frank Sinata told Tass news agency he is “categorically opposed to performing in front of an audience that will spread Russophobia…we must ignore this festival,” while pop singer Philipp Kirkorov told Life TV he “wouldn’t send anyone,” to Kyiv if it were his choice.
Even the Kremlin has commented on the situation. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin told the BBC “It’s not clear whether we need to boycott,” and although the Kremlin sees an “obvious cause for concern”, Peskov also noted that “as we know, no decision has been taken.”
We stress that despite these comments, the broadcaster responsible for Russia’s participation at Eurovision, Channel One Russia, has NOT responded yet. Furthermore, as Russia is still listed as a participant according to eurovision.tv we would assume for now at least that Russia will still sing in Kyiv this May.
We’ll be following this story closely and update you as it happens.
Author: James Scanlan
Image Source: 56th Paralell.com