Ukraine drops Eurovision singer Maruv over Russia row

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By Artem Aslanian, Sandrine Amiel, Reuters
Ukraine drops Eurovision singer Maruv over Russia row

Ukrainian singer Maruv will not represent her country at the Eurovision Song Contest in May after a row exposing tensions over Russia.

Anna Korsun, 27, who goes by the stage name Maruv, was selected by a public vote on Saturday to sing at the contest in Tel Aviv but she ultimately refused to sign her contract with the Ukrainian TV authority.

Maruv said the state broadcaster had tried to impose contractual obligations requiring her not to perform in Russia - a cash-cow for post-Soviet regional pop-stars.

"I am a citizen of Ukraine, pay taxes and sincerely love Ukraine. But I am not ready to come up with slogans and turn my participation in the contest into a promotional activity for our politicians," the singer wrote on Facebook.

"I am a musician, not a puppet for the political arena," she added.

Сегодня наша встреча с НТКУ длилась около семи часов, в результате которой, мы так и не пришли к соглашению двух сторон....

Publiée par MARUV sur Lundi 25 février 2019

Several senior officials said Ukraine's Eurovision candidate could not be someone who performed in Russia, which annexed Crimea in 2014 and backed a separatist insurgency in the eastern Donbass region.

"The selection revealed another major social problem ... the concert activity of many artists in the aggressor country. And this caused a negative resonance in parts of society," Zurab Alasania, the head of the National Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine, said on Facebook.

The Ukrainian TV authority now has to select a new candidate among three other finalists. Whoever the winner is, he or she will be required to refuse to play in Russia as a condition of signing the contract, Alasania said.