Handicapped Russian singer could be ‘banned’ from Eurovision song contest


Ukraine’s security service says it has prepared documents to ban Russia’s contestant from this year’s Eurovision song contest, but that a final decision has not been made.

Russia chose Yulia Samoylova to represent the country in the May 11-13 contest in Kiev.

But Samoylova has toured in Russia-annexed Crimea, without entering it by going through the de-facto border with the Ukrainian mainland. Under Ukrainian law, that allows authorities to block her entry into Ukraine.

Ukrainian Security Service official Oleksander Tkachuk said authorities have prepared documents to block Samoylova’s entry for some time, adding: “We will make the decision in the near future.”

Allowing Samoylova to compete would likely anger Ukrainian nationalists, but banning her could aggravate tensions with Russia already extreme over Crimea and the Russia-backed insurgency in east Ukraine.

Each year an estimated 180 million viewers tune into watch Eurovision.

As a child, Samoylova began losing function of her legs due to spinal muscular atrophy and has used a wheelchair since childhood. The singer says that exacerbation of the hereditary disease could follow after an unsuccessful poliomyelitis vaccination, but specialists deny such a connection. Samoylova started her career performing for oil workers at a restaurant in her hometown Ukhta.

In 2010 she left Modern Humanitarian Academy, but she didn’t finish her studying. She studied at psychology faculty.

In 2013, Samoylova was the runner-up of season three of Faktor A, the Russian version of The X Factor. The following year, she also took part in the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Paralympics.

Samoylova was chosen on 12 March 2017 to represent Russia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 held in, the capital of Ukraine, Kiev, with the song “Flame Is Burning”.