Crimean singer Jamala, who has been chosen to represent Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest has insisted that her choice of lyrics, commemorating the deportation of the peninsula’s Tatar population under Stalin, has no connection with the current political situation.
The selection of Jamala provoked controversy as Crimea has been under Russian occupation since 2014.
However, the singer told Euronews that the only statement she wanted to make was about remembering her great grandmother and others who suffered as a result of Soviet policies.
“There is no political statement on my song, just to commemorate my great grandmother just to commemorate the thousands of crimean tartars,” she said. “We should never forget about this tragedy of our people.”
She acknowledged that she does have strong feelings about the current situation in her homeland but said she was had separated this from her performances.
“These last two years add a lot of sadness into my life,” she said. “I know that the new authorities closed a lot of libraries community centres, even many young people disappeared with no trace and there are a lot of questions about this.”
But she said she had spoken to the European Broadcasting Union, which runs the Eurovision contest, and didn’t expect to be asked to change her lyrics, as previous acts with political overtones have been asked to do. She added that she would do so, if requested, however.
This interview was conducted by Nezahat Sevim of Euronews’ Turkish service.