Status: 03/27/2021 11:39 a.m.
Because political statements are not wanted at the ESC, the organizers disqualified Belarus this year. The songs submitted did not comply with the rules. Belarus, for its part, criticizes the decision as political.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) excluded Belarus from the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) in May. The reason: The newly submitted song also violates the ESC rules, which ensure “that the competition is not instrumentalized or discredited”. The state broadcasting company of Belarus failed to “submit an eligible contribution within the extended deadline,” it said.
In Minsk, the country’s exclusion was met with heavy criticism. “The decision to exclude us is politically motivated,” said the head of the National State Television and Broadcasting Corporation, Ivan Ejsmont, according to the Belta news agency. Those responsible for the ESC were put under pressure by “politicians and haters in social networks”.
Accusation: Mocking the protest movement
Belarus wanted to send the band Galasy ZMesta into the race. First the song “Ja nauchu tebja” (“I will teach you”) was submitted. The ESC organizers complained about this song that in its current form it “questions the non-political character of the competition”. There had been complaints because the song with lines like “I’ll teach you to dance to the tune” mocked the protest movement against long-term ruler Alexander Lukashenko in the eyes of many people. Belarus submitted a new song by the band after the criticism, which has now also been cashed in by the ESC officials – this time giving general reasons.
The band itself was horrified and spoke of an “absolute disgrace”. “ESC friends, it was a great pleasure for us to see this farce. We will continue our work,” said a message in which the ESC was also accused of double standards.
Last year there were mass protests against Lukashenko for months after the presidential election on August 9, which was widely considered to be falsified. The head of state, criticized as the “last dictator in Europe”, was declared the winner again after 26 years in power with 80.1 percent of the vote. The EU no longer recognizes him as president. Tens of thousands of people were arrested. Many of them criticized massive police violence.