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Major Russian News Outlets Suspend EBU Membership After Russia Ditched From Eurovision Song Contest

© REUTERS / PIROSCHKA VAN DE WOUWPresenters Edsilia Rombley, Chantal Janzen, Jan Smit and Nikkie de Jager attend the final of the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam, Netherlands, May 22, 2021.
Presenters Edsilia Rombley, Chantal Janzen, Jan Smit and Nikkie de Jager attend the final of the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam, Netherlands, May 22, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.02.2022
Earlier, the Executive Board of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) announced that no Russian act would participate in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, in a decision that ostensibly reflected its concerns in light of the "unprecedented crisis" in Ukraine.
Major Russian news outlets have announced in a joint statement that they are suspending their European Broadcasting Union membership.
The outlets, including Russian broadcaster VGTRK, Channel One, and Radio House Ostankino, underscored that the decision was taken in response to the country's exclusion from the Eurovision Song Contest 2022, which they regard as an inappropriate "political sacrifice" at a music forum that has always emphasised its non-political status.
Earlier, the EBU, which produces the event, said Russia's inclusion could bring the competition into disrepute "in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine."
The 66th edition of Eurovision is set to take place in Turin, after Italian rock band Maneskin won the 2021 contest.
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The statement by the Russian news outlets says that Eurovision's move echoes the 2016 event, when the song "1944" by Ukrainian singer Jamala stole a last-minute victory, despite it being a "blatant political manifesto."
The lyrics were widely interpreted as referring to Joseph Stalin's deportation of Crimean Tatars during the tense relations between Russia and Ukraine.
"When strangers are coming, they come to your house, they kill you all and say, we're not guilty, not guilty," the Ukrainian performer sang at the time.
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It was also perceived as a reference to Crimea, which became a part of Russia in a referendum held in March 2014 in which nearly 96 percent of Crimeans voted to rejoin the country. Kiev, however, argues that Crimea is Ukrainian territory occupied by Russia, with this stance echoed by the US and many Western countries.
At the same time, a few years later, the organisers of the competition disqualified the Belarus act with the song “I will teach you" because it was deemed ineligible to compete by the EBU due to violating of the contest's rules against political entries.
These are just two examples from a long list of similar moves, says the statement by Russian media outlets, that show how the organizers of the competition approached the interpretation of the term “politics” in a biased and selective manner, kowtowing to the will of the European Union, despite the fact that half of the members of the EBU are not even members of the afore-mentioned organisation.
Unfortunately, underscores the statement, "the EBU has turned into a club whose members are placed in unequal conditions, and, as such, we consider it no longer possible to remain a part of it." The statement of the broadcasters was signed by Konstantin Ernst, CEO of Channel One Russia, VGTRK head Oleg Dobrodeev and Ostankino's Irina Gerasimova.
The developments come as on Thursday morning, Russian, Donetsk, and Lugansk People's Republic forces launched what Russian President Vladimir Putin characterised as a "special military operation" in Ukraine aimed at "demilitarising and denazifying" the country.
The move followed back and forth shelling and mortar attacks in the Donbass region despite Russia's move to recognise the sovereignty of the DPR and LPR last Monday. The US and its allies denounced the Russian-led operation as an unprovoked "act of aggression" and "invasion," slapping Moscow with new sanctions, while vowing to send more military aid to Ukraine.
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