: New Yorker: Russia declares war on Eurovision

13:14 May. 18, 2016

New Yorker: Russia declares war on Eurovision

Sergey Lazarev of Russia performs during the Second Dress Rehearsal of the Grand Final ahead of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm, Sweden on May 13, 2016. (Getty Images)

Russians are not satisfied with Eurovision results

 Saturday, three people died and thirty were injured during a gun battle over control of a cemetery in Moscow. Just a few hours later, the Russian pop star Sergey Lazarev failed to win the Eurovision Song Contest, in Stockholm, losing to a Ukrainian. This was the story of the day, and it has left Russians beside themselves over what they are calling a great Eurovision vote fix.

Read also Political Victory: Russian media reacts to Ukraine's Eurovision triumph

The Eurovision Song Contest, the Continent's pop-music Olympics, happens only once a year, while mass violence in Russia is a more frequent occurrence.

During Eurovision, three dozen winners of national contests compete for victory, and for the right to host the next contest in their own country—while the entire Continent watches on television. As Anthony Lane has written, "Think of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, add a blast of dry ice, and you get the idea."

After the conclusion of the competition, Lazarev, speaking on Russian state-channel news, complained that the jury "intentionally lowers the score." A correspondent whom Russia had sent to cover the contest asked whether the event had been a musical competition or a political one.

Filipp Kirkorov, who is probably Russia's biggest male pop star, was also backstage in Stockholm, and added, "Who knows who worked the jury over. . . . We must investigate."

Read also RFE/RL: Russian Eurovision contestant's surprising view on Crimea

To this Russian lesbian watching the newscast, all three—Lazarev, Kirkorov, and the state-television correspondent—presented themselves in a manner that matched the aesthetic of Eurovision, which was the gayest, most over-the-top show on television before there were gay, over-the-top shows on television. Back home, Russia has turned homophobia into official policy, and the European media had worried about what might happen if Lazarev won, meaning that next year's competition would take place in an anti-gay country.

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