Ukraine Beats Russia in Most ‘Political’ Eurovision Contest

550_334_506798Jamala from Ukraine was the surprise winner of Saturday’s Eurovision song contest, beating Russia in the most “political” competition in Eurovision history.

Russia’s Sergey Lazarev was the clear favorite, in betting agencies at least, but he ended up in third place, after Australian Dami Im, who was also a favorite.

Jamala’s “1944” was a heartfelt ballad inspired by the story of the singer’s great-grandmother who was among the thousands of Tartars who were expelled from Crimea by force by Josef Stalin.

Russia contested the participation of Ukraine with the particular song claiming that overtly political songs are not allowed in Eurovision, especially a song like “1944” with such contemporary resonance, given the 2014 annexation of Crimea to Russia. However, Jamala was cleared to compete with the song.

Greece was not in the grand final in Stockholm as Argo’s “Utopian Land” failed to be among the 26 final contestants. Cyprus was in the final and placed 21st with the rock song “Alter Ego” by Minus One.