The Eurovision Song Contest is full of political events. A military coup was started, protest songs and international markings in rather large numbers. Politics has no place in the Eurovision Song Contest, some say. Why don’t I say, what is different about lyrics with a political content than lyrics about love? I will take you through some of the examples of politics in the Eurovision Song Contest.
When the Eurovision Song Contest started a military coup
1974 was a year that will forever stand out as special in the Eurovision Song Contest. The winner this year was ABBA with “Waterloo”. But number two, perhaps not many people remember. It was Italy with the song “Si”.
“Si” means, as most people know, yes, and the song was a party submission in the upcoming referendum on abortion. “Si” simply meant yes to the abortion law.
In the same year, perhaps the most special event in the history of the san competition took place. When Portugal’s feature was played this year, it was a secret signal that leftists in the Portuguese army had to stage a military coup and then introduce democracy. In retrospect, this military coup has been named “The Carnation Revolution“. The coup went well, it was carried out with few losses and led to the introduction of democracy in Portugal.
In 1980, Sami country won the Norwegian final and thus became Norway’s entry to the Eurovision Song Contest. The song is about the Sámi’s fight for greater autonomy and the fight against the Alta Kautokeino development. An inflamed political issue in Norway at the time.
The song later became an icon for the Sami’s rights.
The fall of the Berlin wall
In 1990, in connection with the fall of the Berlin Wall, there were a number of songs that partly had a political slant and partly paid tribute to the reunification of Germany. “Free to live” from Germany, “No More Walls” from Austria and Norway’s “Brandenbuger Tor”
The winners in 1990 were Italy with the song “Together 1992”. This song is a tribute to the Maastricht Treaty.
Nagorno-Karabakh in the Eurovision Song Contest
The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh territories also created a couple of situations. Only in 2009 when all Azerbaijanis who had voted for Armenia were summoned for questioning by the Azerbaijani police. They had to explain why. There was no direct rush in the interrogation rooms, only 34 voted for Armenina. This led to major protests from the EBU.
A few years later, more specifically in 2011, Armenia performed with the song “BOOM BOOM” and with the same letters written on the tendon. This was interpreted as a jab at Azerbaijan after Armenia won the war over Nagorno-Karabakh.
2009: We Don’t Wanna Put In
Georgia would perform the song “We Don’t Wanna Put In”. Russia objected and Georgia was not allowed to perform the song unless they changed the lyrics. Georgia would not, which therefore did not participate this year. The text is another metaphor for Georgia not wanting Putin. In the background lies the fact that Russia is in practice annexing a couple of areas in Georgia.
When Ukraine waited with “1944”
In 2016, Ukraine won with the song “1944”, sung by Jamala. Jamala’s song is about Stalin’s persecution, murder and forced relocation of the Crimean Tatars in 1944. The song must also be seen as a protest against Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula a couple of years earlier.
The following year, Ukraine hosted the international final. Russia, which this year chose a rep entrant without a domestic competition, chose Julija Samoylova. Russia showed that Ukraine would deny her entry because she had given a concert in occupied Crimea. Yulija Samoylova was also disabled and Russia probably hoped that Ukraine’s refusal of entry would lead to negative reactions. Finally Russia did not participate this year.
2021: Belarus cannot participate
After the presidential election in Belarus in autumn 2020, in which the dictator Lukashenko allegedly won with 80% of the vote, large protests broke out in all major cities in Belarus. For the 2021 music festival, Belarus sent a song ridiculing the opposition. Lukashenko, who controls television in the country, clearly wanted to use the music festival as a showdown with the opposition. After protests from the opposition, it was decided that Belarus could not perform this song, which was described as political. The country sent a new song from the same Lukashenko-loyal group with an equally clear kick to the opposition. Thus, Belarus was not allowed to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest 2021.
Please read my blog about the election in Belarus.
This blog was changed on 20 May 2021