Eurovision 2019: Ukraine drops singer Maruv amid controversy over concerts in Russia

The singer faced a backlash after several Ukranian politicians said she should not be allowed to take part on Ukraine‘s behalf because she tours in Russia

Clarisse Loughrey
Tuesday 26 February 2019 16:10
Eurovision song contest competitors walk out with their flags

Ukraine’s national broadcaster has dropped Maruv, the singer who was selected to represent the country at the Eurovision Song Contest.

The 27-year-old singer, whose real name is Anna Korsun, faced a backlash after several Ukranian politicians said she should not be allowed to take part on Ukraine‘s behalf because she tours in Russia.

The Ukrainian Culture Ministry has also weighed in, saying that only “patriots who are aware of their responsibility” should be allowed to sing for Ukraine at the annual pop contest while “thousands of heroes are dying for Ukraine’s territorial integrity”.

Maruv was selected by a public vote on Saturday to sing at the contest in Israel in May. However, she said that the state broadcaster had tried to impose contractual obligations on her, requiring that she not perform in Russia, which she believes would have made her a propagandist for the government.

“I am a citizen of Ukraine, pay taxes and sincerely love Ukraine. But I am not ready to come up with slogans and turn my participation in the contest into a promotional activity for our politicians,” she wrote on Facebook. “I am a musician, not a puppet for the political arena.”

Artists with ties to Russia have become more controversial in recent years after tensions increased from when Russia annexed the Ukrainian Crimean peninsula in 2014.

Zurab Alasania, the head of the National Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine (UA:PBC), said on Facebook: “The selection revealed another major social problem... the concert activity of many artists in the aggressor country. And this caused a negative resonance in parts of society.” He confirmed that the contract for the winning singer stipulated that they would refuse to play in Russia.

Maruv said she was ready to cancel a tour of Russia but did not want to be used for political purposes. UA:PBC said it was looking for a replacement singer to send to the contest.

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