A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Saturday, May 12, 2018

ESC 2018: The mystery that is Russia

For the first time ever since the introduction of the semi finals - unless you count the weird, low-profile, non-broadcast semi final of 1996, which you don't - Russia missed out on a spot in the final. That should spell game over. And yet I can't stop thinking about it. There are so many things I don't understand here.

Like the singer. I see why she was selected last year as Russia clearly had no intention of taking part anyway. Her job then was simple: she needed a performing gig in Crimea on her CV, she had to trigger sympathy in people and she needed to be someone that could be easily thrown under the bus as Russian tv pulled out.

But why did they insist on picking her a second time? She is in no way an outstanding singer and she has very little stage presence. She is not a very big name. What was the deal?

Then she was set up with a really weak song that she was unable to sing properly. Why would anyone do that to a performer? It seems so cruel and tactless.

Was Russia trying to fail on purpose? Why would they do that? What would be the gain? What is the narrative this would fit in? I no longer believe anything like this happens without there being a point to it.

Russia also still has an entry in the running, let's not forget that. All the usual Russian know-how has gone into the Moldovan entry, which could go on to collect a large number of points tonight.

Is this a test as to whether Russia could have more success under another flag?

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