Russia has been kicked out of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest after organisers said its participation would “bring the competition into disrepute”.
Eurovision had previously said the country would be allowed to take part but faced strong criticism from state broadcasters in countries including Iceland, Finland, Norway and the Netherlands.
Ukraian broadcaster UA:PBC had also earlier this week urged the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to suspend Russia’s membership and ban it from the contest.
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A statement released on Friday said EBU executive board had made the decision following a recommendation by the Eurovision governing body based on “the rules of the event and the values of the EBU”.
“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.
“Before making this decision the EBU took time to consult widely among its membership.”
The 66th edition of Eurovision is due to take place in Turin after Italian rock band Maneskin won the 2021 contest.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries tweeted: “Eurovision stands for freedom, unity and respect between countries – watched and enjoyed by tens of millions around the world.
“Glad to see @Eurovision taking action and kicking Russia out.”
Russia had not yet announced its act for 2022. It won in 2008 with Dima Bilan singing Believe, and in turn hosted the 2009 contest in Moscow.
The country made its debut in 1994 and remains among the most successful countries at the contest, coming second four times and third four times.
Last week, the act chosen to represent Ukraine withdrew after facing scrutiny over a reported 2015 visit to Russia-occupied Crimea.
Alina Pash had been chosen in a televised national selection show and was due to perform her song Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors, but pulled out after details of the trip emerged and was replaced by rap act Kalush Orchestra with the song Stefania.
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People who enter Crimea via Russia are considered by Ukraine to have illegally crossed the border, although there is no suggestion that Pash did this.
Condemnation of Russia’ actions has seen St Petersburg stripped of the Champions League final and its Formula One Grand Prix cancelled.
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