One day after saying that Russia would be allowed to compete in the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest despite the country launching an all-out invasion of Ukraine, the European Broadcasting Union has reversed its decision.
“No Russian act will participate in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest,” the EBU announced on Friday (Feb. 25). “The decision reflects the 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.”
The organization noted that it had spoken to its membership before coming to the decision.
“The EBU is an apolitical member organization of broadcasters committed to upholding the values of public service,” the statement continued. “We remain dedicated to protecting the values of a cultural competition which proves international exchange and understanding, brings audiences together, celebrates diversity through music and unites Europe on one stage.”
Just a day earlier, the EBU said in a statement to NPR that Russia would be allowed to compete. “The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political cultural event. The EBU is however concerned about current events in Ukraine and will continue to closely monitor the situation,” organizers said at the time.
Ahead of that decision, Ukraine’s national public broadcaster had argued that Russia should not be allowed to compete. “The Eurovision Song Contest was created after the Second World War to unite Europe,” Mykola Chernotytsky, chair of the broadcaster, noted in an open letter to EBU, arguing for the ban on Russia. “In view of this, Russia’s participation as an aggressor and violator of international law in this year’s Eurovision undermines the very idea of the competition.”
After months of military buildup along the Ukrainian border, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in the early morning hours of Feb. 24 that he was deploying a “special military operation into Ukraine. That has since turned into a full-on, unprovoked attack on the country, with Russian troops nearing the capital of Kyiv on Friday.
See the EBU’s latest statement below:
The EBU has issued the statement below regarding Russia’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest 2022
— EBU (@EBU_HQ) February 25, 2022