Russia Puts Eurovision Contest Winner on Wanted Posters

( – The 2016 winner of the popular European singing contest Eurovision was placed on the “wanted” list in Russia. Susana Jamaladinova, a Ukrainian singer who performs under the name Jamala, was added to a Russian Interior Ministry database as wanted for “violating a criminal law.”

According to Russian news site Mediazona, the singer has been charged with “spreading misinformation” about the activities of the Russian army. According to Russian media, Jamala was arrested in absentia by a Russian court. She now has a 50-year ban on traveling to Russia. Though she was apparently added to the wanted list in October, news of her addition was not publicized until last November. Russia newspaper Izvestia said that Jamala is one of 30 Ukrainian artists who are banned from entering Russia.

Russia has long been upset with the singer, criticizing her in 2016 for her choice of song that helped her win the contest. The song was “1944,” which was written by Jamala and refers to the year that Crimean Tatars were deported from the Soviet Union en masse. The singer, who is of Crimean Tatar origin herself, said her purpose is to remind people that foreigners tried to “destroy and rewrite” her people’s culture. Around 200,000 Crimean Tatars were deported or ethnically cleansed by the Soviet Union in 1944. She said she was inspired by stories from her great-grandmother about her family’s deportation from Crimea.

Jamala’s song “1944” was protested by Russia at the time, suggesting that it violated rules against “political speech” during Eurovision and was blatantly anti-Russian. However, the song does not specifically name Russia or the Soviet Union, it merely alludes to the mass deportation in May of 1944. Her choice of song came just two years after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, which many countries regard as illegitimate.

The singer, who is currently on a fundraising tour in Australia, shared a photo of herself on Instagram after the news hit along with a “face palm” emoji.

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