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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

ESC 2014: And the audience went boo

Just like I wrote yesterday, the Russian delegation feared the Copenhagen audience would boo their performance and that is exactly what happened. When the hosts read out Russia as one of ten finalists the audience in the hall gave a very vocal sign of not being pleased.

My personal point of view is unchanged. You do not boo people at Eurovision. It is not civilised behaviour. But I'd like to develop my thoughts a bit further anyway.

One common argument in defence of the Tolmachevy Sisters is that they are very young girls and hardly responsible for anything the Russian leaders would do or not do. A wild guess is they have not harassed many minorities or acted particularly hostile towards any neighbours countries. Why would they deserve this treatment?

Unfortunately you cannot disassociate yourself from the country you represent. If you agree to represent Belarus in a competition, you are also giving your silent approval to the dictator in question. If you sing for Azerbaijan you are signalling that their poor human rights record doesn't really bother you. And these twins have to bear the burden of representing the most controversial country in Europe right now.

Ironically enough, the audience reaction is counter-productive in many ways as it suits the Russian narrative perfectly. The Tolmachevys are clearly selected to represent the pure Russian youth and sound Russian values and when they get booed by the depraved and immoral west it just underlines that the ESC-critical voices were right the whole time.

It is a strange situation that Russia take part in a contest they themselves heavily criticise - calling it a sodomy contest and so on - and then send in innocent young singers to take a beating for the team.

Of course the ESC is open for all active EBU members, but what do you do with a country that seems to participate against their own wishes only to use the contest as a domestic propaganda tool? No doubt that there will be more booing in the final and nobody gains anything from that. The Tomalchevy Sisters least of all.


  1. The booing is the final result of a concerted action of the western media to groom us all for an armed conflict with Russia. It becomes more ridicolous when I read FB-posts esp. from my finnish friends which say that they are going to vote for the Ukraine only because they are an "assaulted" country, ignoring the fact, that the Ukraine is reigned by a bunch of puppets and fascists at the moment.
    I totally agree that all these politics should not have any impact on our all beloved ESC, but in fact it has.

  2. Interesting take, though I disagree (although I feel slightly guilty for doing so). I'm actually a twin myself and not much older than the Russian girls and yet I was hoping they'd be booed after performing as well. I was (sadistically, I know) gleeful when they were booed later on.

    I doubt the girls were forced to participate; they HAD to know Russia is a controversial country. Even not counting the Crimea situation, which might have happened after they agreed to participate, the gay rights situation is becoming more and more horrifying. You don't represent a country with such an antiquated view on LGBTQ individuals at a competition so strong associated with gay culture and expect to be treated like warmly. Russia's a big country. If the twins wanted a music career, they didn't need Eurovision. And personally, I think they have it easy. They aren't subject to pervasive hatred like Conchita Wurst is. They were booed for thirty second; they'll live.

    Also, it was a rubbish song. Sickeningly middle of the road and twee. So there's that. I'm probably just venting because I honestly would have preferred ANY other song to qualify in Russia's place.

    You're absolutely right that the Russians will love this narrative of the terrible gay West attacking their talented young girls. Sigh. NQ would have been much better all around; then Russia could complain it was political and just shut up.

  3. Hi there! Being myself a citizen of the Russian Federation I would like to notice that there are 140+ millions of people in our country, and it would be a mistake to consider that they all share the same point of view.

    I've seen some interviews and I can ensure you that the Russian ESC team (I mean the broadcasters) has never said anything against the contest nor the contestants. There are, of course, some [not that authoritative] politics who did criticize the contest, but it only shows the diversity of opinions, I believe.

    Also, right after selection the girls were asked if they were aware of the political situation and how it could influence their performance, and they confirmed that they knew about it and that their main reason was to represent their country in a good way.

  4. Remember that the Russian song was selected way before the Ukrainian crisis erupted. And you cannot blame anyone wanting to represent your own country. It is a different matter if it was someone from abroad, say Gérard Dépardieu (who is chums with Putin), who would in this situation want to represent Russia. Then you could really ask him if you are ok with the politics of the country you are representing.

    And by the way, I think that the Russian song was very good indeed regardless of what happens in the Russian and Ukrainian border.