Ukraine’s Far Right Celebrates Eurovision Victory

Far-right movements in Ukraine are bashing Russia after singer Jamala won the Eurovision competition

Ukraine's Jamala performs during the Eurovision Song Contest. — REUTERS
May 15, 2016 at 1:05 PM ET

Ukrainian singer Jamala won the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday night with a song Russia’s state media described as anti-Russian due to its political context.

The win, which Jamala secured after facing off against Russian singer Sergei Lazarev, sparked euphoria among the Ukrainian public and among Ukraine’s right-wing groups, which used it as an opportunity to attack Russia. In posts across the popular social networking site VKontakte, far-right parties cheered for the victory, bashed Russia for its failure to win the Eurovision competition, and slammed pro-Russian separatists and their self-proclaimed government in eastern Ukraine, Vocativ discovered.

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They also urged their followers around the world to vote for Ukraine during the competition’s finale, which was held on Saturday in Stockholm, Sweden. And they laughed at Russia for not being able to stop the Ukrainian singer from belting out the controversial tune, which is about Joseph Stalin’s 1944 deportation of the Tatars, an ethnic group, from their native Crimea.

Not only was the song stirring for Ukrainians since Jamala herself belongs to the Tatar minority and her family was expelled from Crimea during World War II. The song is also relevant in today’s Ukraine, since it lost its Crimean Peninsula to Russian forces in March 2014. Many Ukrainians viewed Jamala’s Saturday win as a critical victory given that history.

Jamala won after going head-to-head with Russia and Australia, which placed second while Russia came in third.

Translation: “What can we say, that’s a victory!” (posted by a far-right group called Right Sector)

Translation: “What a victory for Ukraine! What a victory for Crimea! May 2017 the Eurovision will be in Ukraine!” (posted by an account affiliated with the far-right Svoboda political party)