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Eurovision and Politics: an Undeniable Link

Eurovision continues to consolidate itself as one of the main European mechanisms of cultural diplomacy. Ukraine's victory ratifies that music and entertainment are not factors unrelated to the realities and political controversies of the old continent.

Final show of Eurovision 2022

Photo: YT-Eurovision Song Contest

LatinAmerican Post | Bryan Andrés Murcia Molina

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Leer en español: Eurovisión y política: un vínculo innegable

The victory of the Ukrainian hip hop band Kalush Orchestra in the Eurovision Song Contest revives one of the most debated discussions about the famous contest, which is accused by various sectors of public opinion of mixing the political interests of the regional government with the main mission of the musical contest, alluding that sometimes the results and organization are influenced by the sociopolitical situation of the moment.

Those who defend this approach state that throughout history the Eurovision directive has made administrative and institutional decisions that have influenced the development of the contest. An example of the above is found in the most recent edition, in which it can be identified how the current conflict between Ukrainians and Russians left Russia without representation, given that the governing body of the contest stated that Eurovision should be a space dedicated to the integration, exchange, and understanding of all those who participate in it. And on the other hand, it empowered the Ukrainian representation before the whole of Europe.

For the professor of Law and International Relations, Antonio Obregón, what was witnessed this year at Eurovision responds to the political nature of the festival, since in principle the task of the musical contest was to collaborate with the construction of regional identity through expressions of art. That is why this year it was possible to witness how the regional situation derived from the war in Ukraine promoted one representative above the others.

In the words of the experts, the victory of the Kalush Orchestra only responds to the nature of unity and solidarity that Europe has had with Ukraine, and although it may be seen as unfair by different sectors, the experts recognize that this group knew how to embody the values of the European bloc and through his own identity and emotion, they achieved the mass support that earned him the victory.

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Eurovision political controversies

During its 65-year history, Eurovision has been embroiled in various political controversies. One of the most recent was carried out by the representative of Belarus in the year 2021. On that occasion, the group Galasy Zmesta was on everyone's lips when they wanted to sing songs alluding to the government of Alexandr Lukashenko and against the common values of the European Community.

On another occasion, in 2009, Georgia was experiencing a complicated situation due to the 2008 South Ossetia war. For this reason, the representative of Georgia for that year wanted to present himself with a song entitled: "We Don't Wanna Put In", a play on words that ended up putting Georgia out of action that year.

Last but not least, we find the Armenian controversy in the year 2015, when the Genealogy group wanted to perform their song called "Don't Deny". This is in relation to the Armenian genocide in the First World War, which is denied by Turkey. Given the claims of that country, the Armenian group agreed to modify their original song, which allowed them to participate in the festival with the song "Face The Shadow".

Given the above, there is no doubt that Eurovision will continue to be the platform used by European countries to send messages of sympathy, unity, political affinity, or political rejection in an artistic way to the world and to the region.