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Eurovision - political or not?
Eurovision - political or not?
Already before the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, people were saying that Jamala's song 1944 was political. When the song actually won the contest, more voices have been raised. I'm giving my €0.99 analysis.

In this analysis, I'd like to look at whether the song can be considered political. I will also be looking at the claims of some Russians politicians and media outlets.

What's the lyrics about?

The lyrics of the song describe what it is like to be driven out of your home as your land is being invaded and/or deported. They are words that can be used to describe the situation of civilians in any conflict area.

As such, the only things that give any further context is the chorus in Crimean Tatar language and - to remove any doubts - the title "1944". In addition, the artist herself has stated the context of the song as the deportation of Crimean Tatars in 1944.

The lyrics reflect the refugee's thoughts and emotions. This includes resentment against the intruder and their inhumanity. There is also a suggestion for a different solution: peace and harmony.

Is it political?

Since war is a political decision, one could argue that any song about war and peace is political. However, one could then also argue that any song about love in a form deemed illegal by any of the competing countries in Eurovision is also political.

Indeed, since pretty much every aspect of your life touches some kind of regulation in some country, any song can be defined as political.

Claims by Russian politician

A Russian politician threatened to boycott next year's Eurovision, claiming that this song was direct criticism towards Russia's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

Some media outlets have strengthened this view, based on the artist's admission that while the song is not about the 2014 annexation, it is a kick in that general direction.

And there you have it. The song is not about the 2014 annexation, it is indeed about the 1944 deportations. The artist's view that this is a kick in the direction of the Russian Federation is based on her own view that the Russian Federation and the Sovjet Union are the same.

This view is fairly typical in the west: The union's policy of Russifying non-Russian sovjets left western and occupied territories with a strong impression that there was no difference between the Russian Federation and the Sovjet Union. This, however, is a completely different subject.

So what would be a good response for the Russian Federation?

When former sovjets have requested reparations from the damage imposed upon them by the USSR, the Russian political response has been fairly simple:

Those were the actions of the Sovjet Union, not the Russian Federation. One could even argue that the Russian Federation was also a victim of the Sovjet Union, but there is no longer a Sovjet Union to hold responsible.

Hence, I would expect the following response to the claims that this song is a criticism of the Russian Federation:

"It is a good song that highlights the suffering of civilians under Sovjet rule. We, too, are happy that those times are over, and wish to build a better future for all. Rest assured, we treat all people on our territory well."

Was Europe against Russia in the voting?

Not at all. A look at the voting results shows that even the Russian televoting gave 10 points to Jamala's 1944. It shows that the Russian population agrees in the view that we need new times with less suffering. And in the end - that's what Eurovision is all about in the first place.

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