The European Song Conquest



JAMALA wins the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) for Ukraine with her controversial song “1944”.

Why controversial?

Because the rules of the ESC expressly forbid entries of a political nature, and “1944” is clearly a politically motivated attack on the Russian Federation.

How so?

Because the song takes for its subject-matter the forcible deportation of the Crimean Tartars by the Soviet Dictator, Joseph Stalin, in – you guessed it – 1944.

What’s wrong with that?

Well, it’s less than three years since the Russian Federation annexed the Crimean Peninsula in response to the fascist takeover of the Ukrainian Government in February 2014. Since then civil war has raged in Eastern Ukraine, with the Ukrainian Government accusing the Russians of providing direct military assistance to its breakaway provinces. Relations between the two countries are at an all-time low. So, possibly not the best time for a song about Soviet Russia’s actions in the Crimea.

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Why did they let it through, then?

Good question! The Russians are saying it’s because the European Union is determined to cast the Russian Federation and its President, Vladimir Putin, as Europe’s most dangerous enemies. They point to the fact that not only did the organisers of the ESC bend the rules to ensure that “1944” became a contender, but that the official jury also deliberately ignored the popular vote, which put the Russian entry at No. 1, so that they could install Ukraine as the winner.

But, it’s just a glorified talent quest – does any of this really matter?

Yes, it does. Just as the sudden appearance of anti-German newspaper articles and popular novels in the early years of the 20th Century helped to prepare the British people for war with Germany in 1914; seemingly unimportant gestures – like voting Ukraine the winner of the ESC with an anti-Russian song – may indicate that the European Union is preparing its members for war with the Russian Federation in the not too distant future.

Yes, but you still can’t get around the fact that what the Soviet Government did to the Crimean Tartars was very wrong.

That’s true. But it’s also true that, following Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, nearly 10,000 Tartar men joined the Tartar Legion and fought alongside the Waffen SS right up until the Red Army retook the Crimea in 1944. These SS military formations and their auxiliaries were responsible for some of the worst atrocities of World War II. Why didn’t Jamala sing a song about the victims of the Nazis and their Crimean allies? I would also like to know why the historically sensitive ESC Jury showed so little interest in who the Ukrainians were fighting for in the year 1944. (Here’s a hint – it wasn’t for the Allies!) Why is the deportation of the Crimean Tartars deemed worthy of a song, but the fate of the Ukrainian Jews at the hands of their Ukrainian Nationalist neighbours regarded as something best left in the past?

Not so much the Eurovision Song Contest, as the European Song Conquest!


  1. Why is it called Eurovision Song Contest? that is, since when is Australia, 2nd place winner, part of Europe?

  2. I would have thought the time to raise objections to or protest the inclusion of certain entries was at the outset of the competition not the conclusion when it doesn’t go your way.

    Russia appears to have been out-manoeuvred.

  3. Is Chris for Stalin, Is Chris for the Ukrainians, Is Chris for the NAZIs? Or is Chris now for Vladimir Putin. Has Chris now become an expert on the European Song Contest…Chris seems to have an opinion on everything…

    I think Chris would be better suited to stick with his now convoluted and totally misguided public support for John Key and his neoliberalist squashing of poor New Zealanders…Chris has moved to the far right of centre and now is slipping and sliding down that slippery slope known as ego mania.

    Take a break Chris, take a holiday and rediscover your history.

    • No, not the Chris Trotter I have been reading. He has a broad knowledge of history, and correctly uses it whenever relevant, whether it suits you or not. It seems to me that you want history censored so that only the facts that suit you get mentioned. Face unpleasant realities or you will lose touch with reality in general.

  4. Good post, the terrifying thing about the idiots at the top of the Eurocracy thinking that they’re smart enough to tangle with Russia is that they share this delusion with idiots like Sen. Lindsay Graham and Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.

  5. “Well, it’s less than three years since the Russian Federation annexed the Crimean Peninsula in response to the fascist takeover of the Ukrainian Government in February 2014.”

    As always, context is critical. US and EU/NATO propaganda about the Ukraine has managed to elide the US-supported 2014 coup from the narrative. With regard to the annexation of Crimea, the propaganda presents it as an event in which Crimea and its citizens were passive, while Putin just took the area into Russia’s territory.

    What’s elided is the fact that immediately following the fascist coup in Kiev, the government of Crimea – then a semi-autonomous republic – polled its citizens on whether to secede from the Ukraine. The overwhelming response was to secede. All this was reported at the time. Following the results of the referendum, the government formally petitioned the Russian Federation for annexation. They did it speedily, before the neo-Nazis who’d taken power in Kiev had time to react.

    Note also that Crimea was traditionally part of Russia; it was given to the Ukraine in the early 1950s by Nikita Krushchev (himself a Ukrainian). The citizens had no say in the matter. The 2014 referendum was the third attempt by Crimeans to decamp from the Ukraine since the end of the Soviet Union; this time, they were determined to make it happen. The annexation took place virtually without a shot being fired; the citizens have agency, and they exercised it. Had there been serious opposition, we’d have seen the people resist. That didn’t happen.

    A further point: in 2014 – as part of its “annexation” narrative – the US claimed that the 25000 Russian troops stationed in Crimea were there illegally. I saw on TV the mendacious Samantha Power say exactly that to the UN general assembly. It wasn’t true of course: the troops were there legally, under the conditions of the Black Sea Fleet Treaty.

    “…the Crimean Tartars…” A point here: they’re Tatars. Tartar is the stuff the dentist scrapes off our teeth.

    Peter Wheeler: Chris is right about this; the Eurovision result is overtly political, and a part of the longtime US/NATO push to reignite the cold war. Just look at how the reportage is phrased, and what US pollies – Obama,Kerry and Clinton, for instance – say about Russia. Look at the moves to station missile systems close to the Federation’s borders. It’s unmistakable.

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