Russia Puts Eurovision Contest Winner on Wanted Posters

In 2016, the victor of the widely acclaimed European singing competition Eurovision found themselves listed as “wanted” in Russia.

Susana Jamaladinova, a Ukrainian vocalist known by the stage name Jamala, was included in a database maintained by the Russian Interior Ministry, being sought for an alleged breach of criminal law.

As reported by the Russian news outlet Mediazona, the artist has been accused of disseminating misinformation regarding the actions of the Russian army. Russian media sources state that Jamala has been formally charged and was subject to an in-absentia arrest by a Russian court.

Presently, she faces a five-decade prohibition from visiting Russia. Despite her purported inclusion on the wanted list in October, the information about this development only surfaced in November. 

As per the information provided by the Russian newspaper Izvestia, Jamala is part of a collective of 30 Ukrainian artists barred from setting foot in Russia.

For an extended period, Russia has expressed displeasure towards the singer, specifically condemning her in 2016 for the song selection that contributed to her victory in the competition. The contested song, “1944,” penned by Jamala, revolves around the mass deportation of Crimean Tatars from the Soviet Union during that year.

The vocalist, hailing from Crimean Tatar heritage herself, expressed her intention to serve as a reminder that external forces sought to “destroy and rewrite” the culture of her people.

Approximately 200,000 Crimean Tatars experienced deportation or ethnic cleansing orchestrated by the Soviet Union in 1944. The singer revealed that her inspiration stemmed from narratives shared by her great-grandmother, recounting the deportation of her family from Crimea.

During that period, Russia protested against Jamala’s song “1944,” contending that it ran afoul of Eurovision rules prohibiting “political speech” and was overtly anti-Russian in nature.

Nevertheless, the song refrains from explicitly mentioning Russia or the Soviet Union; instead, it subtly references the mass deportation that occurred in May 1944. Her selection of the song occurred merely two years after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014—a move viewed as illegitimate by numerous nations.

While on a fundraising tour in Australia, the singer took to Instagram to share a photo of herself after learning the news, expressing her reaction with a “face palm” emoji.




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