Episode 7: Eurovision – It’s All Just Political

From 2014 to 2019 the Eurovision Song Contest became an inadvertent proxy for the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Tensions over the Russian annexation of Crimea and the civil war in Donbass played out both on and offstage.

In this episode I’m joined by Russian Eurovision fan Kamilla Safiyllina (find her on Twitter @KamillaLovesESC). It’s a tale that’s about war and nationalism, but also about a man in a giant hamster wheel, a Crimean ethnoballad and a woman pretending to ejaculate with a fire extinguisher.

Listen on Audioboom.

Also available on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Radio.com, Tunein, CastBox, RadioPublic and Deezer.

We couldn’t play the Eurovision songs that we discuss for copyright reasons. However, here’s a list of YouTube links for the songs.


2014: Maria Yaremchuk – Tick Tock

2016: Jamala – 1944

2018: Melovin – Under the Ladder

2019: Maruv – Siren Song [withdrawn after a dispute between the singer and the broadcaster]


2014: Tolmachevy Sisters – Shine

2015: Polina Gagarina – A Million Voices

2016: Sergey Lazarev – You Are The Only One

2017: Julia Samoylova – Flame is Burning [withdrawn after the Ukrainian government banned her from travelling to the concert in Kyiv.]

2018: Julia Samoylova – I Won’t Break

2019: Sergey Lazarev – Scream

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