We’ve made it a part of our Eurovision preparations now: Every year in spring we will challenge the EBU general, Sir Jon Ola Sand to a political discussion in Norwegian media. Last year it was all about whether Eurovision really was political. This year it wasn’t so hard to agree on that, as Jon Ola already accepted his role as a peace negotiator in Crimea. The stuff you have to do in order to get through a live show on tv, we’d say.
Either way. Guri met with Jon Ola and NRK’s fabulous Russia correspondent Morten Jentoft in a debate about Russia and Ukraine and the stuff that surrounds them. You can watch the whole clip here, but just in case you don’t understand Norwegian, here’s a sum-up of our views for you, all based on GEE’s carefully negotiated political platform, of course:
- The fact that Julia Samoylova isn’t allowed into Ukraine is based on security considerations. We might very well believe in the importance of Eurovision over here, but in a country where there is an ongoing conflict regularly involving such things as guns and murders, we nonetheless find the security of the people staying there should be the core concern of the government, not our right to a crappy song live from Russia. And we should all respect security, both fans and EBU.
- The fact that Julia Samoylova wouldn’t be allowed into Ukraine was even crystal clear to a couple of half-studied villains like ourselves. There is no way Russia wouldn’t have known.
- Thus it all feels like a play, where Russia sacrificed a singer with disabilities to create a story to be used in national press…
- …and we are indeed back to the same old story from Russia, where Russia feels like the victim of all the “Russia-hate” in Europe and bring their people together in despair. Which is funny, as Russia must be getting tons of votes from all over Europe in order to reach all those high rankings they always get (We mean, it is not as if they weren’t more popular than 40 nations last year).
- We should all get to terms with the fact that Europe is a very political potent place right now. Of course that will manifest itself when 42 (41?) nations gather under one roof, and one shouldn’t expect otherwise.
- Also, we think EBU’s suggestion of letting Russia participate from their home office is:
- Truly unfair to all the other artists, that spend two exhausting weeks rehearsing to be able to perform in front of a vast live audience on a massive stage
- Quite unfair to the other delegations that pay shitloads of money in order to travel to Ukraine and participate.
- An example of EBU not minding their own business, but picking sides, making exceptions for Russia that are bound to provoke Ukraine. Bad call.
- But when all is said: We love politics. We hope it never ever leaves Eurovision, as the contest would be a poorer and less real place without it. Did someone say politics are not entertaining? We beg to differ.
Since when did a PhD in international politics become a prerequisite for running a music show, though? We feel you, Jon Ola. And we love you for meeting all the challenges along the way. You make us so proud of Norway the peacekeeping nation. Who knows, maybe next year you even have to take down the mafia before you can host the show? Either way, we will buy you champagne and caviar next time we see you. Which we hope is soon.
Best of luck with further preparations and all!