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Eurovision bars Russia from this year’s song contest.

todayFebruary 25, 2022

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No Russian act will be allowed to participate in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, organizers announced on Friday, citing fears that Russia’s inclusion would damage the reputation of the world’s largest music competition, a showcase meant to promote European unity and cultural exchange.

The European Broadcasting Union, the coalition of public media organizations that oversees the contest, said it had decided to block Russian performers after consulting with its membership, which includes broadcasters from 56 countries, including Ukraine and Russia.

“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,” the group said in a statement.

More than 200 million people watch the annual competition, which features performers from 39 different countries singing and dancing to a diverse range of songs. Maneskin, a tattooed, four-person Italian rock band, won last year’s competition and Barbara Pravi, a French solo artist, came in second after singing a plaintive song of longing backed by a piano and cello.

Russia, which finished ninth in last year’s competition, was originally given a spot in this year’s semifinal, which is scheduled for May in Turin, Italy. The contest organizers did not say how removing the Russian act would affect the structure of the competition.

The European Broadcasting Union’s decision to block Russians from the contest followed the cancellation of two major European sporting events in Russia on Friday.

European soccer’s governing body voted to move the Champions League final, the continent’s biggest soccer competition this year, from St. Petersburg to Paris. And the governing body of Formula 1, the international car racing organization, canceled the Russia Grand Prix, which was scheduled for September, citing “impossible” circumstances.

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