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Eurovision Song Contest was always a musical, as well as a political, event; and often became a platform for public expression of the positions of various countries. It is not surprising that its long history is full of mishaps and scandals. This year this list would be to expanded by a provocative story with the wheelchair-bound contestant from Russia Yulia Samoylova. Samoylova was officially banned from entering Ukraine, where in 2017 Eurovision takes place. We decided to recall the most vivid examples of how politics interfered with the course of the contest.
When the Eurovision took place in the capital of Spain, Madrid, Austria decided to withdraw from participation, because it did not want to send the performer to the country with the dictatorial regime of Franco. Thus, the number of participants was reduced to just 16.
A participant from Israel, Ilanit performed his song in body armor in connection with the mass killings of Israeli athletes by Palestinian militants at the Munich Olympics. British commentator Terry Vaughan asked the audience, not to stand when applauding, so that they would not be accidentally shot.
At a contest held in Paris, Jordanian television refused to broadcast a statement by the representative of Israel and instead showed photographs of flowers. And when the contestant from Israel won, the Jordanian media wrote that Belgium won.
This year Lebanon had to make its debut at the contest. The country was supposed to be represented by Aline Lhud with the song Quand tout s'enfuit, but the Lebanese broadcaster wanted to replace the participant's performance from Israel with TV commercials. The European Broadcasting Union banned the country from excluding the Israeli from the broadcast, as a result of which Lebanon's debut did not take place.
Preparing for the performance at the Eurovision home, Ukrainian group "Grinjoli" had to change the lyrics of the song "Razom nas bagato", which is the anthem of the Orange Revolution. The composition was considered too politicized. At the request of EBC, it was given a more social sound, which did not prevent the group from failing on the home stage.
Serbia and Montenegro, which was then a single state, refused to participate in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Athens, because the Serbian and Montenegrin TV companies could not agree on a single representative. A year later, both Serbian and Montenegrin singers performed at the competition as representatives of independent states.
The difficulties of translation led to a scandal around the song of Verka Serduchka Danzing Lasha Tumbai. In the lyrics there are words that sound like Russia goodbye! And repeated several times, which caused a sharp negative reaction among some of the Russian audience. Andriy Danylko officially denied the existence of such words in the song and published the official text, in which the phrase sounded like Lasha Tumbai. These strange words included later in the title of the song, according to the author, are Mongolian and mean "Whipped cream". This caused numerous disputes on the Internet and the press, and many experts of the Mongolian language denied this statement.
In the same year a political context was seen in the song of the Israeli group Teapacks "Push the button". Some suggested that the song is a reflection of the anxiety of some Israelis about the threat of a nuclear war with Iran. This interpretation suggests that the words "He is going to click on the button" refer to the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Nevertheless, the song was let, but the band did not get to the final.
Half a year after Russia's invasion of South Ossetia, Georgia chose the group "Stefane and 3G" as an artist at the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. The band members openly stated that their song “We do not wonna put in” is a protest against the policy of Russia. The European Broadcasting Union considered the composition not to be in line with Eurovision standards and demanded to change the text of the song or replace it. Georgia showed principledness and withdrew from the competition altogether, accusing Russia of putting pressure on the organizers.
Armenia refused to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest in Baku due to the long-standing conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. More than 20 Armenian performers signed a petition demanding refusal to participate in the contest, referring to the death of an Armenian soldier who was allegedly shot by an Azerbaijani sniper several days earlier. Later, the Armenian Defense Ministry announced that the Armenian soldier was killed by a colleague, but Armenia still withdrew from the contest, saying that it doubted the safety of its contestants on Azerbaijani soil.