“I am a musician, not a bat in the political arena.” – Ukraine in Eurovision

On 23 February, the Ukrainian Eurovision National Selection Vidbir took place. In the end, the singer MARUV won the competition with 11 points: 5 from the jury and the maximum of 6 from televoting. And look, all was perfect. Awesome song, amazing performance but…  the Ukrainian government put a stop to this. The Eurovision song contest: it’s a contest for music, not for politics.

MARUV performing her winning entry ‘Siren Song’ / Source: Youtube

The Ukrainian state broadcaster (UA:PBC) offered a contract to MARUV stating that she cannot have any more concerts in Russia, and a lot of other points which are in total opposite of democracy. Later, MARUV criticised the contract that UA:PBC imposed on her following her victory at Vidbir 2019. But after further discussions between MARUV and the broadcaster, it was confirmed that the singer will not be Ukraine’s representative for Eurovision 2019.

Statement of Ukranian state broadcaster

In an official statement on UA:PBC’s Eurovision website, the broadcaster states that they were unable to reach an agreement with MARUV on a number of points. This primarily focuses on the singer’s role as a “cultural ambassador” for the country:

“The performer, who will represent Ukraine on the international arena, also has a commitment: after signing the contract with [UA:PBC] for the time of the contest the performer becomes a cultural ambassador of Ukraine and reports not only their own music, but also becomes the spokesperson for the opinion of Ukrainian society in the world. After the negotiations, [UA:PBC] and the singer MARUV did not find a joint decision on the mission of the representative of Ukraine at the international song contest.”

MARUV / Source:
Source: Gallery on maruvofficial.com

They go on to discuss the politicisation of the national final in recent days. It is suggested that, if MARUV was kept as their act, then the debate surrounding her appearance could risk the formation of a fracture within Ukrainian society, which goes against UA:PBC’s responsibility to encourage the public to come together as one:

“Also according to the rules of Eurovision (paragraph 2.6), the broadcasting participant must ensure non-political character of the competition. The current situation surrounding the nation-wide election this year has signs of politicization.»

MARUV’s answer

MARUV has responded to the day’s events in a statement posted on her social media accounts.

She revealed that her discussions with UA:PBC lasted around seven hours, but an agreement could not be reached. She specifically noted that she could not willingly participate in the competition whilst being used for any form of propaganda:


MARUV / Source:
Source: Gallery on maruvofficial.com

“A few hours before the draw I was asked to participate in the national preselection for “Eurovision-2019”. I agreed and won, and with great pride I was ready to represent my home country – Ukraine at the international song arena.

As I previously said, rejection of concerts in Russia was not a principled thing for us. The main differences have been caused by other paragraphs of the contract, which, if I sign, become a indentured for me. I am a citizen of Ukraine, I pay taxes and sincerely love Ukraine. But I am not ready to perform with slogans, turning your stay at the competition into the promo of our politicians. I am a musician, not a bat in the political arena.”

She finished by thanking those who have supported her, but asked that her fans do not resort to confronting others about the situation: “I sincerely thank and appreciate everyone who believed in me and voted. And I ask you to accept this fact and not to go to confrontation. This is the given of today. I want to give my creativity without censorship.

Next step

UA:PBC decided to choose another singer to represent the country at Eurovision 2019, in Tel Aviv. They proposed to the runner-up, “Freedom Jazz”, but the band rejected this proposal. The band which ended up in third place, “Kazka”, also rejected it. When all of Europe promotes democracy and peace, Ukraine is like a black sheep, that shows the real face of their goverment. If EBU doesn’t take the situation in its hands, should we trust in this contest? Time will show!

MARUV / Source: Gallery on maruvofficial.com

Ukraine speaks

A lot of stars from Ukrainian and Russian show-business support MARUV and have expressed their opinion about this incident. And it has become a scandal not only in Europe, but also in the USA. New York Times also wrote an article about what happened and showed their support for MARUV.

I asked some Ukrainian friends about this incident and they said this:

Ukrainean politicians are not responsible for their business in Russia, and this responsibility is placed on singers. And this is not fair.

“The point is that the selection of the contestants was done by the STB channel, and the next step, the choice of who would go to Israel, was done by the state channel, UA:PBC. That is why UA:PBC was not in control of choosing the entries for the national selection. Then, someone was chosen that in the final, according to them, cannot represent Ukraine. Although, this system is obviously not entirely logical. This year, there were many participants that are somehow connected with the aggressor country. And it seems to me that the words “culture out of politics” in this situation speaks of some kind of cowardice, or that for your own sake you are ready to yield to your principles.

The fact that MARUV was supported by people with their votes, and then UA:PBC council cancelled the decision of the citizens, eliminates the whole point of voting and selection in general.
As for me, it would be better if no one would go. Most likely this will be the case if all singers support this trend and refuse to participate.


“I am not a fan of MARUV, but I think this song could be included in the top 5 at Eurovision. I believe that she would represent Ukraine well – she would be prepared for all sorts of provocative questions. In my opinion, the competition was clearly too political this year. We should think about it at the selection stage even before the national selection, so that there would be no more such situations. We should listen to the opinion of the people who voted.”

In the end, Ukraine withdrew from Eurovision this year. I guess this is the best choice in this situation. About MARUV, I am pretty sure she will continue her path in music and of course she will promote her music around the world!

See MARUV’s performance here:

Post Author: Dima Cojocaru

Dima Cojocaru

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