Eurovision reverses course, says Russia will not be allowed to compete

On Friday, organizers said that Russia would not be allowed to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest, according to a statement. The decision comes a day after the European Broadcasting Union initially decided it would allow the artist to represent the country, which invaded Ukraine this week, in the competition.

“The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has announced that no Russian work will participate in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest,” the statement read. “The decision reflects concern that, in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of Russia in this year’s competition would discredit the competition.”

Ukraine had petitioned the European Broadcasting Union to bar Russia from participating in the competition in light of the invasion, According to a statement translated by National Public Radio. The request was made in a letter asking primarily the EBU to remove Russian media from the association.

Russia has not yet chosen an artist to compete in the competition.

Rap group Kalosh Orchestra has been chosen to represent Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest, which is scheduled to take place in Turin, Italy in May.

“It took time to consult widely among its members,” the union said before making a decision on Friday.

The recent statement by the European Broadcasting Union also reaffirmed its position as a “non-political” body.

“The European Broadcasting Union is a non-political organization of broadcasters committed to upholding the values ​​of public service,” the statement said. “We remain committed to protecting the values ​​of the cultural competition that promote international exchange and understanding, bring audiences together, celebrate diversity through music and unite Europe on one stage.”

Thursday, After initially allowing Russia to compete, Eurovision organizers faced a backlash. Hana Stearn, CEO of Swedish Eurovision, SVT, was among those calling for Eurovision to reconsider its decision to allow Russia to participate.

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