Everything You Need to Know about Yulia Samoylova, the Russian Singer Banned from Eurovision 2017
Yulia Samoylova has been banned by Ukraine after performing in annexed Crimea. That was the reason why the biggest scandal of Eurovision 2017 started.
Everyone spoke out about this conflict: Ukraine, Russia and Eurovision organizers. Hyser put together all the puzzles of this story. We will try to explain what caused the conflict and whether it could be avoided.

Why Ukraine banned Yulia Samoylova
The 27-year-old singer with the song Flame Is Burning was selected to represent Russia at Eurovision 2017 after an internal process. Samoylova suffers with spinal muscular atrophy meaning that she doesn't have function in her legs and uses a wheelchair.

Samoylova was announced as the Russian contestant just a day before the Eurovision deadline. However, the next day after her victory some Ukrainian activists started talking about the fact that Yulia Samoylova performed in the occupied Crimea. In particular, such information was spread by Andriy Klymenko, the head of the project "Maidan of Foreign Affairs" in Facebook.
"Choosing Julia Samoylova as the representative of the state-occupier at the Eurovision 2017 in Kyiv, besides her health, has one more, much more important political feature. This is a provocation with far-reaching consequences. June 27, 2015 Samoylova performed in occupied Kerch", - Klimenko wrote on his Facebook page.
Yulia Samoylova didn't try to hide the fact of her performance in Crimea. Information about her participation in one of the festivals in the peninsula of Crimea could be freely found on her official website.

Ukraine considers Crimea illegally occupied territory and reserves the right to impose a travel ban on anyone who visits it without obtaining appropriate permission from Kiev first. Many other Russian stars after visiting the annexed peninsula was banned by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU). Now they aren't allowed to entry Ukrainian territory. But the situation with Samoylova was special.

However, the head of SBU Vasyl' Grytsak noted that the law is for everyone. "If a person crossed the border of the annexed territory – the Autonomous Republic of Crimea – this means she committed an administrative offense", Grytsak said.

On Mart 22, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) said that Yulia Samoylova had been subject to an entry ban for breaking Ukrainian law.

"The Security Service of Ukraine has banned the citizen of the Russian Federation Yulia Samoylova from entering the country for a period of three years," Olena Gitlianska, an SBU spokesman, wrote on Facebook.
Yulia Samoylova with her civil husband Aleksey Taran.
Russian reaction
Of course, the hype surrounding the possible ban on Samoylova caused a violent reaction from Russia.

The singer herself began through Russian media to position herself as an innocent victim of political showdowns. "It's all quite amusing, and I don't understand why there's such a buzz. There was an absolutely ordinary concert in Crimea in support of a sport event, there were a lot of artists", Samoylova said.

Meanwhile, Russian officials immediately began to create a dramatic atmosphere around the situation and make harsh statements. For example, Oleg Morozov, a Russian senator, said that Russia would take retaliatory measures if Ukraine didn't allow Samoylova to come to Kiev.

"I don't want this decision to take place, it's too absurd. But if it is really accepted, Russia will boycott the competition, we have no other choice, they simply drive us into a corner", Morozov warned.

When Ukraine's authorities banned Samoylova from entering the country for three years, she remained upbeat and hopeful, saying that she expects the situation to change quickly and significantly.

"It is very funny to look at all this, because I don't understand what they saw in me – such a small girl", Samoylova told Russia's First Channel.

Russia quickly reacted to the ban on Samoylova's entry into Ukraine and announced that the country wouldn't broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organizes the competition, said it was "deeply disappointed" but has to respect local laws. Organizers have offered the Russian entrant an opportunity to perform from Moscow via a satellite that will be beamed into the host city.

Russia rejected the offer without any hesitation. The two Russian TV channels that alternate showing the contest each year, have said that they will boycott the event if Samoylova isn't let into Ukraine.
Consequences for Ukraine
Officially, Ukraine hasn't felt any consequences of its decision to ban Samoylova. However, they can come, because the organizers of Eurovision always called not to mix up the competition with politics. It is possible that some countries will ignore the contest in Kiev if Yulia Samoylova doesn't participate.

The head of the European Broadcasting Union, Ingrid Deltenre, in a letter sent to Ukraine's prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman, said the ban on the Russian singer was "unacceptable".

As a consequence, Ukraine's public broadcaster UAPBC "might be excluded from future events," Deltenre warned.

If Kiev's ban against Samoylova is not lifted it "would certainly have a very big negative impact on Ukraine's international reputation as a modern, democratic European nation", Deltenre said.

"We are increasingly frustrated, in fact angry, that this year's competition is being used as a tool in the ongoing confrontation between the Russian Federation and Ukraine", she added.

Nevertheless, none of the participating countries hasn't announced a boycott of the competition. So there are no special reasons for Ukraine's unrest.
Political thread
Samoylova's background and unique experience perfectly fits with Ukraine's chosen theme for Eurovision 2017 "Celebrate Diversity".

But since the announcement she would fly the Russian flag, journalists, bloggers and political commentators have all suggested that she was chosen for reasons beyond her talent and personal story.
Yulia Samoylova, a former Russian X Factor competitor, will become only the second Eurovision participant to perform in a wheelchair. She was a special guest performer at the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games. But she never was a superstar in Russia as many other Russian contestant at Eurovision was. Russia has sent some of the country's biggest stars to Eurovision in recent years supported by expensive stage production and no expense spared in a bid to win Eurovision for a second time.
The surprise choice of Julia and last minute announcement of the Russian entry has left many Eurovision fans denouncing Russia's efforts on social media as a cynical ploy by Russia to avoid a recent trend of their performers being booed by the audience.
Some suggested that her selection was a move to mitigate potential booing – a threat Russia has faced for several years. Others said that choosing her was a deliberate "provocation" against Ukraine.

For Ukraine to ban a singer with a disability would be counter to the slogan of this year's Eurovision and would seem both cruel and insensitive. Russia chose a perfect strategy in this media war against Ukraine. Whatever steps Ukraine takes to solve the conflict, the host country of Eurovision 2017 will make the situation only worst for itself.
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