Eurovision Song Contest 2016: Could Australia Still Win It Thanks To Ukraine’s Political Song Aimed At Russia?

The 2016 Eurovision Song Contest was won by Ukraine entrant Jamala with her haunting song “1944,” even though the hot favorite to win was actually Russia, and this has caused quite a stir since. After all, Jamala was singing a song inspired by her grandmother’s deportation from Crimea, an event brought on by Russia during the second world war.

Not only did this song offend Russia, but, according to the official rules, political statements by contestants during the Eurovision Song Contest are also not permitted at all. The rule, in particular, is the one below.

“The lyrics and/or performance of the songs shall not bring the Shows, the Eurovision Song Contest as such or the EBU [European Broadcasting Union] into disrepute. No lyrics, speeches, gestures of a political or similar nature shall be permitted during the Eurovision Song Contest. No swearing or other unacceptable language shall be allowed in the lyrics or in the performances of the songs. No messages promoting any organization, institution, political cause or other, company, brand, products or services shall be allowed in the Shows and within any official Eurovision Song Contest premises (i.e. at the venue, the Eurovision village, the Press Centre, etc.). A breach of this rule may result in disqualification.”

Ukraine was announced as the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 with their contestant Jamala, who sang the song "1944"
While Jamala (whose real name is Susana Jamaladinova) did not actively pursue a political agenda during the Eurovision Song Contest, she did admit the song she sang was inspired by her grandmother’s deportation from Crimea in 1944. The first verse of “1944” includes the following lyrics.

“When strangers are coming/ They come to your house/ They kill you all/ And say/ We’re not guilty/Not guilty.”

According to the history books, Crimean Tatars were deported by Soviet authorities during World War II. While Crimea was once a part of Ukraine, it was annexed by Moscow in February 2014, leading Ukraine and Russia into a bitter feud. You can read more on the feud in this Inquisitr article.

Not only could Jamala be disqualified from the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, but the authorities will also have to decide what to do if she is disqualified. And that will create several headaches within itself.

Normally, if a contender was disqualified, the win would be awarded to second place. This year’s runner-up for the Eurovision Song Contest is Australia. While this is not a problem per se, it is the fact that Australia is not permitted to host Eurovision that will cause a problem. Considering Australia is not actually an official country of Europe, but a commonwealth of England, it was always agreed that if Australia should win Eurovision, the runner-up country to Australia will host it instead. This rule was developed, according to, because Eurovision “brings together dozens of European nations, and many of the smaller ones — like teeny Malta, with its population of under half a million — just don’t have the resources to send a pop star, support team, media and legions of loyal fans to the other side of the world for a week.”

So if Ukraine was disqualified from Eurovision 2016 and Australia was deemed the winner, that would mean the runner-up would be Russia and Eurovision 2017 would be hosted there. But Russia had already considered boycotting the Eurovision Song Contest in 2017 because of Ukraine’s win. According to another article with, Frants Klintsevich, a member of Russia’s upper house of parliament, said it was “politics that beat art” in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest and then suggested Russia boycott Eurovision in 2017. So, if Ukraine was disqualified and Australia was placed first in Eurovision 2016, would Russia still boycott it next year? If so, does that mean Bulgaria would have to host Eurovision in 2017?

Sergey Lazarev representing Russia performs the song 'You Are The Only One' at the Eurovision Song Contest 2016
While contestants are not meant to use Eurovision for political reasons, the rules are also very malleable when it comes to what is best for Eurovision. After all, if this weren’t the case, Australia would not have even stood a chance to enter the competition for starters. But the EBU have gone on record to say that the title and lyrics of Jamala’s song did not contain political speech and, therefore, does not breach their rules.

What did you think of Jamala’s performance during the Eurovision Song Contest? Do you think she should be disqualified based on the political message included in her song, “1944”? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below!

[Image via Michael Campanella/Getty Images]