Russia adds Eurovision-winning Ukrainian singer to wanted list

MOSCOW-Russia has put a Ukrainian singer who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016 on a wanted criminal list, according to state media. Jamala, whose full name is Susana Jamaladynova, is “on the wanted list for criminal charges,” Russian state media outlet TASS reported on Tuesday. TASS cited the search database of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, which reportedly said that the performer is referenced “under an article of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.” However, the database did not specify which article it was referring to, according to TASS. Law enforcement agencies told TASS that it “may be related to the case of disseminating fake news about the Russian army.” The outlet also reported that Jamala was added to a list of Ukrainian artists who are banned from entering Russia for 50 years in April 2022. In 2016, she won the hugely popular Eurovision Song Contest with a somber, controversial tune that evokes Moscow’s deportation of members of her Crimean Tatar ethnic group during World War II. Jamala said that she wrote the song because she was inspired by a story her great-grandmother told her about the deportation of her family and others in Crimea. The performance of the song, called “1944,” was considered a strong rebuke to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 2014 military push into Ukraine, when Russia annexed Crimea, according to European media reports. Russian state media called it anti-Russian and Moscow said it violated Eurovision rules. In 2022, Ukraine won Eurovision again thanks to folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra’s song “Stefania,” which was written about the frontman’s mother.
The country surfed a wave of goodwill from European nations to clinch its third contest win, beating out competition from main rivals the United Kingdom and Spain at the competition held in the Italian city of Turin. While the winning nation normally hosts the following year’s contest, Ukraine was unable to do so due to the Russian full-scale invasion. The UK, the second-placed nation, stepped in, and Liverpool triumphed over bids from other British cities to stage the contest in May. Sweden’s Loreen won the 2023 event, becoming just the second performer to win the competition more than once, clinching victory with pop ballad “Tattoo.”

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