Ukraine and the Eurovision-(PoliticalVision) Song Contest 2017: Why Ukraine shouldn’t host this event!

Jamala, the winner of last year’s Eurovision Song Contest, represents Ukraine at the Grand Final of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm with the song 1944:

But, on the video below we can see Jamala performing Bizim Qirim (Crimea is ours) at Kiev concert hall the 18th of May, 2015. The same song wins Eurovision one year later. Taking in mind the EBU rules and the political message of this song as well, Ukraine shouldn’t be allowed to contest with this song.

Last year’s Ukrainian entry ‘1944’ caused a debate whether the song is political due to the reference to the Tatar deportation by Stalin. What Europeans probably didn’t get is that Tatar’s were deported by Stalin because they were Nazi collaborators during the 2nd World War.

Jamala’s song, 1944, mourns the hardship suffered by Crimean Tatar Muslims who were deported in the thousands by Stalin to Central Asia. The image left by Jamala is of barbarian cruelty by the Soviet dictator against innocent Tatars. However, in order  to give a more historically accurate picture, the Tatars of Crimea during that war were hardly innocent civilians. Tens of thousands of them had been organized on orders from Hitler into Crimean Tatar SS brigades.

The issue at hand is not whether Stalin reacted to the Tatar situation in 1944 with brutality. Even the Soviet Union acknowledged that was so after Stalin’s death. What the current media scrupulously ignores is what was the historical reality in 1944 that the song of the 32-year-old Crimean Tatar Jamala leaves out.

  • The rules of the Eurovision Song Contest, section 1.2.1.a, state that:

The compositions (lyrics and music) must not have been commercially released before the Release Date (see the Event Schedule). In case the composition has been made available to the public, for example, but not limited to, on online video platforms, social networks or (semi-) publicly accessible databanks, the Participating Broadcaster must inform the ESC Executive Supervisor, who shall have authority to evaluate whether the composition is eligible for participation in the Event. In particular, the ESC Executive Supervisor shall assess whether such disclosure prior to the Release Date is likely to give to the composition an advantage in the Event vis-à-vis the other compositions. The ESC Executive Supervisor shall authorise or deny participation of a composition which may have been available to the public as described above, subject to the prior approval of the Reference Group.

On 18 May 2015, Jamala has performed her song Bizim Qirim (‘Our crimea’, later to be titled as 1944) in one of her gigs, included in a medley It is unknown if the Ukrainian broadcaster NTU had known about this before, but taking a look at the previous cases and the song didn’t face any kind of sanctions as it has won also the Eurovision Song Contest.

Last summer, Jamala participated in the annual festival of Lutsk in Ukraine which is actually a festival of the Neo Nazi youth decimated to the Ukrainian nationalist Stepan Bandera, a personality that caused national debate as up to 2010 was considered a hero by the government despite the EU reactions, something that stopped in 2011 and onwards.

Jamala’s participation in the festival rises again big questions whether Ukraine deserved to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest with that song while already the country is struggling to host the 2017 Eurovision edition. Don’t forget that Ukraine is a country still at war and she has already banned the Russian entry which is against the EBU rules again. Seems that the EBU’s position is inadequate and misguided regarding the Ukrainian cause.

Ukraine said on Wednesday, the 22nd of March, that it had barred Russia’s entry for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest from entering the country, prompting a swift rebuke from Moscow, which called the decision a “cynical and inhuman act.”

Ukraine’s state security service (SBU) said Yulia Samoylova, a wheelchair-bound 27-year-old singer, had violated Ukrainian law by visiting Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, and would not be allowed to enter the country for three years.Samoylova has visited Crimea since the peninsula was seized by Russia, which is illegal according to Ukrainian law unless it is done with Kiev’s permission.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which operates Eurovision, said it was “deeply disappointed” by the decision, which “goes against both the spirit of the Contest, and the notion of inclusivity that lies at [its] heart.”It said in a statement however that it had to respect the local laws of the host country.

In November Ukraine banned 140 Russian cultural figures whose “actions or statements contradicted the interests of facilitating the security of our state”. It has also barred figures including French actor Gérard Depardieu for speaking favourably of the Crimea annexation.

Aider Muzhdabayev, deputy director of the Crimean Tatar television channel ATR, said Samoylova had violated Ukrainian law by entering Crimea and called her participation in Eurovision a “cynical and immoral move” by Moscow.

“They’re using this girl as a live bomb in the propagandistic hybrid war against Ukraine,” he said.

Samoylova, the Russian participant,  who has said she dreamt of performing at Eurovision as a child, told Interfax news agency she didn’t know if she would have problems getting into Ukraine. “I’m not thinking about this at all,” she said. “My task is to sing the song well, to prepare.”

As a wheelchair user since childhood after a botched polio vaccination, Samoylova got her start performing for oil workers at a restaurant in her hometown Ukhta in the far north and went on to win several singing competitions. In 2014, she sang at the Paralympic opening ceremony in Sochi.

Nonetheless, that performance was overshadowed by the Russian occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, which was followed by its support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The simmering conflict there has claimed 10,000 lives and kept tensions high between Ukraine and Russia.

  • Who are the Tatars from Crimea?

Crimea was attacked by Germans on the first day of the Great Patriotic war June 22nd, 1941.

In July 1942, Sevastopol fell to the Germans. From October 1941 to July 1942, 156,000 Red Army soldiers were killed defending the city.

Even before the defenders of Sevastopol were defeated, about 100,000 Turks in Crimea greeted Germans occupiers as “liberators.”

We are honored to have the opportunity to fight under the leadership of the führer Adolf Hitler – the greatest son of the German people… Our names later will be honored along with names of those who advocated the liberation of oppressed peoples.” This is from a speech of the Chairman of the Tatar Committee Jaljala Abdurashidova at a ceremony on 3 January 1942 in Simferopol.

The Wikipedia entry about the singer Jamala there is an interesting twist: It states that Jamala’s grandfather was fighting for the Red Army, and couldn’t “protect” his family from deportation.  The facts are that in 1941 as the war had started total 90,000 people were drafted to the Red Army from Crimea. 20,000 of them were Turks. During the first months of war and German attacks on Crimea, 20,000 Turks deserted the 51st Army as it was retreating from Crimea. As we see, almost every Crimean Turk drafted to the Red Army had deserted it. It’s been confirmed on village by village statistic. For example: from 132 men drafted from the village Koysh, 120 deserted the Army. Everyone who deserted the Red Army went to serve German occupants.

From the very first days of arrival, Germans used the support of Tatar-nationalists. Trying to gain support among Tatars, Germans didn’t loot Tatar home, like they did to Russian people.” Wrote the Commander of the 5th Partisan region Krasnikov.

According to an archive account by the Russian newspaper Pravda Report, the background to the deportation of tens of thousands of Crimean Tatars in 1944 by Stalin was motivated by the fact that the Nazi Wehrmacht and Nazi occupation forces had organized thousands of Crimean Tatars to armed resistance to liberation of Crimea by the Red Army: “In April-May of 1944, the Crimean Tatar battalions took part in battles against the Red Army in the Crimea. The units that were evacuated from the Crimea in June 1944, were compiled into the Tatar mountain-Jaeger three-battalion SS Regiment. A month later, the group became the first Tatar-mountain-Jaeger SS Brigade (2,500 troops) under the command of SS Standartenführer Fortenbah. On 31 December 1944, the unit was disbanded to become a part of the East Turkic branch of SS as the Crimea battle group: two infantry battalions and one hundred horses .”

In his Nüremburg Tribunal testimony, German Field Marshal Erich von Manstein testified about the usefulness to the Nazis of the ferocious Tatar batallions: “Most of the Crimean Tatar population was very friendly to us. We could even form armed self-defense companies from the Tatars, whose task was to protect their villages from guerrillas that were hiding in the mountains. The powerful guerrilla (pro-Soviet-w.e.) movement appeared in the Crimea from the very start, and it was causing us great trouble. The reason for the movement to appear was the fact that there were many Russians among the population of the Crimea.”

Von Manstein continued, “The Tartars stood on our side at once. In December 1941, Muslim Tatar committees supporting the German occupation administration were established in the Crimea. The Central Crimean Muslim Committee started working in Simferopol. Their organization and activities were carried out under the direct supervision of ”SS.”

Equally cruelly Crimean Tatar were murdering the non-Tatar civilian population.

As noted in a  special report of L. P. Beria in the names of I. V. Stalin, V. M. Molotov and G. M. Malenkov No. 366/b, dated 25 April 1944: “locals claim that they suffered more prosecution from the Tatars, than from Romanian invaders”. It got to the point that escaping their violence, the Russian-speaking population asked for help from the German authorities and received their protection! for example, Alexander Chudakov (a local witness, not a known Soviet author) testifies: “My 1943 my grandmother was nearly shot by Crimean Tatar executioners in front of my mother — at that time a seven year old girl just because she had the misfortune to be a Ukrainian, and her husband — my grandfather — had worked before the war as a Chairman of the village Council and in that time fought in the ranks of the Red Army. My grandmother was saved from bullets, by the way… the Germans, who were amused by the degree of brutality of their lackeys. It all happened a few kilometers from the Crimea, in the village of Novodmitrovka in Kherson region of Ukraine”.

Crimean Tatar soldiers of the Muslim SS brigades who fought the Russians from 1941 until the Red Army recaptured Crimea in 1944 and Stalin ordered deportation of 240,000 Muslim Tatars (Source: Bundesarchiv)

Many Crimean Turks left the peninsula along with German troops. For example, the Polit-Commender of the 2nd Belaruskiy Front reported that they had 49th Army armed encounter with so called “Tatar-Volga legion” organized by the Berlin based “Tatar Committee” headed by Shafi Almas. “Tatar-Volga legion” consisted of three battalions and over three thousand people. All of them Turks under the command of the German Colonel Sikondorf. This is according to the Archives  of the Institute of Russian History of Russia’s Academy of Science. F.2. Special File. January 27th, 1944 report of the Deputy Commander of the Main Political Command of the Red Army Shikin.

However, these sort of direct battles with the regular Red Army regiments were unusual for Turks. They much preferred to deal with the civilian population and POWs, the way they have dealt in Turkey with the non-Turkish population. SS Crimean-Tatar Battalion burned alive 15,000 Russians, Ukrainians, Greeks and Armenias, the entire population of village Mirnoe (Peaceful)

During the occupation of Crimea, Germans and Romanians organized 116 death camps staffed with Crimean Turks. They were organized by Schuma organization into 152 battalion. For the exception of 6 military officers, all 320 servicemen in this battalion were Crimean “Tatar” Turks.   For example death camp “Red” also known as Crimean Buchenvald. In this death camp people were executed, without a chance to get out.

In two years of German, Romanian and Turkish occupation of Crimes, over 90,000 civilians were murdered and over 85,000 were trafficked to Germany for forced labor Only about 2% of those people survived and returned.

In nearby so called “internment” camp, out of 140,000 people interned, 40,000 were murdered and 100,000 were trafficked to Germany for forced labor. Turks working in the death camp “Red” were “creative” in the ways they murdered people. They drowned mothers with children in cesspools. They mass burned people alive by tying them up with barbwire, pouring gasoline on them and setting them on fire. Just compare, for 7 years in Buchenvald 56,000 people were killed. 8,000 per year. In death camp “Red” in less than 2 years Germans, Romanians and Turks murdered 15,000 people. The prevailing notion that the majority people killed in these particular death camps were Jews, is wrong. The majority of people killed there were Russians.

4 thoughts on “Ukraine and the Eurovision-(PoliticalVision) Song Contest 2017: Why Ukraine shouldn’t host this event!”

    1. I understand how you feel. I don’t feel that these kinds of songs have place in a Song Contest where we celebrate diversity and peace!

      Liked by 1 person

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