Ukraine’s Eurovision entry withdraws after allegations of fraud

16 February 2022, 11:12 PM

Ukrainian rapper Alina Pash has withdrawn her entry to the Eurovision Song Contest 2022, the rapper reported on Instagram on Feb. 16, following allegations that she had provided fraudulent documents to Ukraine’s selection committee.

“I don’t want any further role in this dirty story,” the artist wrote. “With a heavy heart, I’m removing my candidacy as the Ukrainian representative for the Eurovision competition. It is unfortunate. I deeply regret it.”

Previously, the Chairperson of the Supervisory Board of the Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine, which broadcast this year’s selection competition, told the Ukrinform state news agency that Pash should be disqualified as Ukraine’s Eurovision contestant.

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Her comment came amid active debate on Pash’s alleged visits to Russia and occupied Crimea, and has been accused of circumventing Eurovision selection rules by providing false travel documents about her visit to the Russian-annexed peninsula.

According to the rules of Ukraine’s Eurovision selection, contestants may not have traveled to occupied Crimea via any method besides using the de facto Ukrainian border. Traveling to the occupied peninsula from Russian territory is considered an illegal violation of Ukraine’s border regime, as the Russian annexation of the peninsula has not been recognized by Ukraine.

“Since this is a forgery, this is a crime. This is a violation of the rules and the selection committee will make a decision,” Ostapa said.

“I think that the selective committee must disqualify Alina Pash for such actions. After that, according to regulations, they must conclude an agreement with the second-place finalist if they agree, and there are no other violations.”

Ostapa said that avoiding the issue of politics in Ukraine’s Eurovision selection was impossible.

“The European Language Union, which is responsible for hosting Eurovision on European public broadcasters, constantly calls for broadcasters not to politicize this contest, but it’s just impossible to do that in the current situation in Ukraine,” she said.

According to Ostapa, the broadcaster is neither authorized to, nor able, to check performers’ compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

“There was public information about Alina Pash, which allegedly appeared after her interview with the Social Life (Svitske Zhyttia) TV show’s host Kateryna Osadcha,” Ostapa said.

“But she (Pash) did not say that she performed. She said that she had visited Moscow and Crimea.”

“Later she explained to us that these were two different trips, not concerts. A plane flying from Istanbul to Moscow just landed there, while she went to Crimea for a wedding. And she said this on air,” the chairperson pointed out.

“When (UA:PBC) submitted a request to the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine to check whether Pash visited Crimea legally, we were refused. They told us that they would not provide this information, because it is personal data. And this information would be provided only to Pash.”

While the Pash team did provide a document certifying Pash’s legal crossing into Crimea, the State Border Service informed the broadcaster that they had never issued that certification.

“And as a result, they said by phone that they hadn’t issued this certificate, and tomorrow we will receive an official answer,” Ostapa said.

Alina Pash won the Ukraine’s national selection in Kyiv on Feb. 12 with her song “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors.”

The Eurovision Song Contest will this year be held in Turin, Italy, following Italy’s Eurovision win in 2021 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, with the song Zitti E Buoni by Måneskin.

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