Sunday

16th Jun 2019

Eurovision to 'unite' Europe despite politics

  • Stephane & 3G - they "Don't Wanna Put In" (Photo: eurovision.tv)

Politics is once again adding to the fun of the Eurovision song contest, after Georgia put forward an anti-Putin tune for the upcoming show in Moscow.

The Georgian entry by the "Stephan & 3G" group, chosen on Thursday (19 February) to represent the country at the finals in May, uses a play on words against Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

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The disco song's chorus repeatedly says "We Don't Wanna Put In / The negative move, / It's killin' the groove," using a phrase that sounds like "We don't want Putin."

"Since we decided to take part, we need to send a message to Europe and first of all to Moscow," the song's producer, Kakha Tsiskaridze, told Reuters. Russian agency Interfax called the entry "anti-Russian."

The joke comes after Russia invaded and partitioned Georgia in a short but brutal war in August 2008, with Russian forces still occupying disputed sections of the small EU neighbour today.

Mr Putin's Russia is not noted for its sense of humour when it comes to national pride.

Ukraine Eurovision act Verka Serduchka in 2007 lost Russian music industry contracts after the song's chorus, "Russia Good Bye," was taken as an allusion to Ukraine's split from Russia in the 2004 Orange Revolution.

Eurovision declined to comment on the Georgian entry until it is officially lodged on 16 March. But a spokesman said "political songs have never been allowed on stage," recalling that another Ukraine act - GreenJolly - was forced in 2005 to tone down references to the Orange revolt.

"It's a song contest and it's about uniting Europe, not dividing it. Uniting Europe in music - that was always the idea. Let's have fun together, basically," Jarmo Siim told EUobserver.

The song contest, currently in its 54th year, is organised by the Geneva-based European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and has nothing to do with the EU.

Any EBU member can enter, with membership covering most European countries including the Vatican but not Kosovo or other disputed "states," such as Abkhazia, South Ossetia or the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

In 2006 Belarusian act Polina Smolova performed a song which praised the authoritarian country's ruler, Alexander Lukashenko, with the line "Say me no more that he's a finished liar, I feel so safe, 'cause I know he's good."

"It's not up to us to evaluate the political system [of an EBU member]. We can't do everything, can we?" Eurovision's Mr Siim said.

Russian singers booed at Eurovision

Russia's representatives at the Eurovision song contest in Copenhagen were booed when they qualified for the finale, a reflection of Europe's growing anger at Vladimir Putin.

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