Russia Adds Ukrainian Eurovision Winner to Wanted List

Music

Russia Adds Ukrainian Eurovision Winner to Wanted List

Singer Susana Jamaladinova, who won the song contest in 2016, is being sought for allegedly violating a criminal law

Jamala aka Susana Jamaladinova

Jamala aka Susana Jamaladinova, photo by Jonathan Nackstrand/Getty Images

Russia has put Susana Jamaladinova, a Ukrainian singer who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016 under the stage name Jamala, on its wanted list, reports The Associated Press. An Interior Ministry database lists Jamaladinova as being sought for violating a criminal law. She was reportedly charged for spreading false information about the Russian military and the ongoing fighting in Ukraine after a law banning such was adopted last year.

Jamaladinova, who is of Crimean Tatar descent, won the Eurovision contest with the song “1944”—named after the year that the Soviet Union deported Crimean Tatars, an annexation largely regarded as illegitimate by other countries who still view Crimea as a Ukrainian territory—nearly two years after Russia annexed Crimea. Russia protested the song’s inclusion in the competition, claiming it violated Eurovision’s rules against political speech. However, “1944” has no specific criticism of Russia or the Soviet Union in its lyrics, though it does imply such with its opening lines.

In 2022, Russia was banned from participating in the Eurovision Song Contest. “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,” explained the European Broadcasting Union at the time.

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