Jon Ola Sand the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest has proposed delaying Ukraine’s ban of Yulia Samoilova until after Eurovision.
In an interview with DR the Danish national broadcaster, Jon Ola Sand has spoken about the preparations in Kyiv and current situation regarding Yulia Samoilova the Russian entrant being banned from Ukrainian territory. Mr Sand confirms that a number of European Broadcasting Union members have approached the contest organisers concerned about the current situation regarding the Ukrainian Security Services and Yulia Samoilova.
Mr Sand admitted that the proposal for a satellite link to Moscow that would have enabled Yulia to still compete, was contrary to the basic principle of the Eurovision Song Contest, that all performers perform on the same stage. Mr Sand added:
But here we are in a situation where for the first time in Eurovision Song Contest history has a participant who may not get the opportunity to travel to Ukraine. And so we must find a solution which means that we can offer an opportunity for the Russian participant and not let politics get in the way of it,
The proposed satellite link to Moscow has been turned down by Channel One and the Ukrainian Government. As a result the Executive Supervisor is proposing that the Ukrainian Security Services delay the three-year ban of Yulia Samoilova from Ukraine, until after the Eurovision Song Contest 2017. Stating:
The decision is taken by the security authorities, who have to follow the laws as they are, but we will appeal to the Prime Minister and the Government of Ukraine to overturn the decision, so that any travel ban will only come into force after the Eurovision Song Contest. Our main goal remains that the Russian participant comes on stage in Kiev in May. We are working hard.
Mr Sand also defended last years winning entry “1944” which has been viewed to be a political message by many observers of the contest. He has rejected the idea that “1944” should not have been allowed to compete last year in Stockholm adding “the song can be put in a political context, but it can be everything”. He went on to say that:
It is a reference to an actual incident in the Crimea during World War II, and it’s a song that we do not then or today see as a political contribution.
With regards to the preparations for this years contest which is now less than 50 days away, Mr Sand admits that there have been a number of moments that have left him “very insecure”. However he feels that without any other external challenges, come May that Ukraine will provide three good television shows.
Yulia Samoilova is currently banned from entering Ukraine for a period of three years, following a decision by the SBU, the Ukrainian Security Service. Yulia was found to have breached a law stating that it is illegal to enter Crimea through a non-Ukrainian border post.
27-year-old Yulia Samoilova is from Ukhta in the Komi Republic. She took part in the Winter Olympic Opening Ceremony in 2014 and was the runner-up in the 2013 Russian version of the X Factor. Whilst taking part in the X Factor she was coached by Alla Pugacheva who represented the country at the contest in 1997.