: BBC: Eurovision's Ukraine singer Jamala pushes boundaries on Crimea

11:22 May. 12, 2016

BBC: Eurovision's Ukraine singer Jamala pushes boundaries on Crimea

Ukraine's Jamala performs the song '1944' during a dress rehearsal for the second semifinal at the Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm, Sweden, Wednesday, May 11, 2016. (AP Photo)

Jazz artist was already a household name in Ukraine, before winning the nomination to represent her country at Eurovision

The first ever Crimean Tatar to perform at the contest, she will appear in Thursday's second semi-final in Stockholm.

And her song, about Stalin, Crimea and claims of ethnic cleansing, is a far cry from the typical Eurovision song.

Read also Jamala's Ukraine Eurovision song stirs up Russia

Jamala's Eurovision entry, 1944, is about the mass deportation during World War Two of the entire ethnic Tatar population from Crimea by Soviet troops under the orders of Stalin.

It is also "very personal". Jamala's great-grandmother and her five children were among a quarter of a million Tatars who were packed on trains "like animals".

However historical and personal the song purports to be, anything linked to Crimea is an emotive topic in Ukraine today.

 

Read also 'Jamala' Test: Why Russian chauvinists hate all Crimean Tatars

The eastern peninsula is now firmly under Russian control, since the territory was annexed by President Vladimir Putin in March 2014.

The West condemns the annexation as illegal. Ukraine still considers Crimea to be part of its territory.

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