: Telegraph: Jamala's Ukraine Eurovision song stirs up Russia

15:57 May. 11, 2016

Telegraph: Jamala's Ukraine Eurovision song stirs up Russia

Ukrainian singer Susana Jamaladinova, known as Jamala, winner of the national selection for the Eurovision 2016 speaks during a news conference in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 26 2016. (AP Images)

Song dedicated to the deportation of ethnic Tatars in 1944 disturbs Russia

It is a soulful ballad about love and loss, sung by a pretty soprano who made her first recordings at the age of just nine.  But when Ukraine's Susana Jamaladinova sings 1944 at tomorrow's Eurovision second semi-final, she is all but guaranteed "Nul points" from at least some members of the judging panel. 

Read also European Broadcasting Union: Jamala's song has no political speech

The 32-year-old jazz singer was nominated as her country's entry for the annual pop contest, with a song that laments Stalin's deportation of more than 240,000 ethnic Tatars from Ukraine's Crimea region during World War II. 

While her entry earned huge applause when it beat five other rivals in a live television show, it is unlikely to go down so well in Russia, to whom is a none-too-subtle rebuke for the invasion of Crimea two years ago. 

The singer, known as Jamala, was said to have been inspired by the memories of her great grandmother, who was deported from the peninsula with her five children in 1944 along with 240,000 other Tatars.  

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

Jamaladinova, an ethnic Tatar born in Kyrgyzstan, wept tears during her victory at the national final, where she performed in traditional Tatar dress before a crowd waving Tatar and Ukrainian flags. While her song avoids direct reference to Vladimir Putin's 2014 annexation of Crimea, Ms Jamaladinova, whose stage name is Jamala, has left no-one in any doubt about where her sympathies lie.

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