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

14:09 May. 13, 2016

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

Russian singer Sergey Lazarev performs at a concert by Eurovision 2016 entrants at Izvestia Hall. (Getty Images)

Russia's contestant Sergei Lazarev considers Crimea to be part of Ukraine

When Ukrainians selected a Crimean Tatar singer to represent their country at the Eurovision Song Contest earlier this year, many Russians were indignant.

Read also Eurovision organizers apologise to "everyone offended" by the flag ban

The song performed by Jamala evokes the deportation of Crimean Tatars by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin and is widely viewed as a thinly-veiled criticism of Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea.

But Russia's own Eurovision entrant, a favorite to win this weekend's contest, can hardly be described as an admirer of the Kremlin's seizure of the peninsula or the jingoism behind it. In the two-year-old interview to Ukrainian television, Lazarev said he still considered Crimea to be part of Ukraine. 

'Maybe my own Russian fans will throw tomatoes at me, but this is the way it is for me,' he said. 'When I travel to Yalta, for me it's Ukraine.'

He added that he 'won't take part' in concerts where Russian performers chant from the stage that Crimea and Russia are one nation. 

'I don't share this general euphoria,' he said. 

Read also Ukrainian singer Jamala enters Grand Final of Eurovision 2016

Lazarev, whose grandmother is Ukrainian, also revealed that he had turned down invitations to tour Crimea. 

Full story

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