One day after insisting that the Eurovision Song Contest is a “non-political cultural event,” the European Broadcast Union has banned Russia from the 2022 competition following the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Via Variety, the EBU issued a statement saying that “no Russian act will participate in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.” It continued,
“The Executive Board of the EBU made the decision following a recommendation earlier today by the Eurovision Song Contest’s governing body, the Reference Group, based on the rules of the event and the values of the EBU.
The Reference Group recommendation was also supported by the EBU’s Television Committee.
The decision reflects concern that, in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian entry in this year’s Contest would bring the competition into disrepute.
Before making this decision the EBU took time to consult widely among its membership.
The EBU is an apolitical member organization of broadcasters committed to upholding the values of public service.
We remain dedicated to protecting the values of a cultural competition which promotes international exchange and understanding, brings audiences together, celebrates diversity through music and unites Europe on one stage.”
The decision came after lobbying from Ukrainian state broadcaster UA:PBC, which said that Russian broadcasters have been “a mouthpiece for the Kremlin and a key tool of political propaganda” while taking part in “systematic dissemination of disinformation” against Ukraine.
The EBU has made no announcement regarding whether Russia will be allowed to compete in future events or be barred from Eurovision permanently.
The announcement comes as criticism mounts and Russian forces advance through the capital of Kyiv. Russian rapper Oxxxymiron cancelled sold-out shows in protest, and American filmmaker Sean Penn is currently in the city filming a documentary about Russian aggression.