Organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest did an about-face on Friday, announcing that Russia would no longer be allowed to participate in this year’s event.
“The decision reflects concern that, in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian entry in this year’s competition will bring the competition into disrepute,” the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said. in a press release. statement.
The decision to punish russia culturally for invading Ukraine comes a day after the same group said Moscow would be allowed to send an act to appear at the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest, which will be held in Turin, Italy, in May.
The Ukrainian public broadcasting company had demanded that Russia be suspended from the popular contest, which is watched by nearly 200 million people every year.
But the EBU, which has organized the competition since 1956, had insisted that Eurovision was “an apolitical cultural event”.
In response, a number of other European countries have indicated that they will not participate in this year’s event unless Russia is banned.
Russia had yet to officially announce an act for this year’s competition. Since the attack on Ukraine, thousands of Russians have braved the risk of being arrested to protest against their government’s murderous invasion.