Russia angered over Ukraine's Eurovision song choice

By: with Reuters

Published: 23 February 2016


A controversial Crimean Tatar, who sings about Joseph Stalin's deportation of hundreds of thousands of people from her Black Sea homeland, will represent Ukraine at the Eurovision song contest.

Jamala, 32, won a domestic competition to represent her country.

However, her song choice has angered Russia due to its political connotations just two years after Russia annexed the territory.

Her song, titled 1944 touches on the mass deportation of Tatars from the Crimean peninsula, Jamala and had one of the judges on tears as she belted it during a domestic competition.

Russia also participates in Eurovision, and Jamala's presence at this year's final in Stockholm in May could add a political edge to a competition better known as an annual celebration of kitsch.

Jamala's victory came on what was already an emotionally charged weekend in Ukraine, which was commemorating more than 100 protesters who were killed over two days during the Maidan protests in 2014 that dislodged a pro-Russian president.

In a sign of simmering anger against Russia, protesters also smashed up two branches of Russian-owned banks in downtown Kiev.