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Poll shows most Russians support cancellation of Eurovision broadcast

April 24, 11:32 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Russians’ response to the decision to cancel the broadcast of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest is predictable, experts say

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A painted egg showing the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 sign, during a Easter egg festival near St. Sophia's Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine

A painted egg showing the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 sign, during a Easter egg festival near St. Sophia's Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine

© EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

MOSCOW, April 24. /TASS/. A vast majority of Russians (75%) support Channel One’s decision to cancel the broadcast of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest over Ukraine’s travel ban against Russian entrant Yulia Samoilova, the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center said in a statement on Monday.

"Against the background of the travel ban issued by Ukraine against the Russian contestant, as many as 75% of those polled supported Channel One’s decision to cancel the broadcast of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest, while 18% opposed this move," the statement reads.

According to the survey’s results, the number of Russians who watched the Eurovision Song Contest at least once has grown over the past five years: in 2012, 76% of respondents said they had seen the contest on TV, while in 2017 the number has risen to 82%. The number of regular viewers (that is, those who say they watch the contest’s broadcast annually) has remained at 19% since 2012. At the same time, the number of regular female viewers is more (25%) than the number of male viewers (12%) while people in the 60+ category are more keen to watch the contest (28%) than viewers aged 18-24 (13%) and 25-34 (9%). Another 17% of those surveyed said that they had never watched a Eurovision broadcast.

"The Russians’ response to the decision to cancel the broadcast of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest is predictable," Mikhail Mamonov, Director of the pollster’s research projects, said. "Ukraine’s attitude towards Yulia Samolilova is considered to be unfair and politicized while the unfairness evoked an emotional response recorded during the poll. The broadcast’s cancellation is aimed to clarify Russia’s position. Those who want to watch the contest, can do so on the internet so no one’s rights and opportunities are going to be restricted," he added.

The poll involving a total of 1,200 respondents aged over 18, was conducted on April 17-18. A margin of error does not exceed 3.5% at the 95% confidence level.

Travel ban issue

On March 12, Channel One announced that wheelchair-bound singer Yulia Samoilova had been chosen to represent Russia at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest.

On March 22, the Ukrainian Security Council (SBU) issued a three-year travel ban against Samoilova, citing her performance at a festival dubbed "A World of Sports and Kindness" held in Crimea on June 27, 2015. Ukraine’s authorities say that by performing in Crimea, Samoilova violated the Ukrainian government’s regulation dated June 4, 2015, which stipulates that foreign citizens should receive a special permission in order to enter Crimea.

The European Broadcasting Union said that it was deeply disappointed by Kiev’s decision to ban Russian contestant from entering Ukraine.

EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre forwarded a letter to the Ukrainian prime minister saying that "should we not be able to find an agreeable solution to this matter, it will without doubt place the future participation of Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest under threat." The Supervisory Board of Ukraine’s National Public Broadcasting Company, in turn, said that the EBU should refrain from interfering in Kiev’s interior affairs and respect Ukraine’s sovereignty.

On April 13, Channel One announced its decision to cancel the broadcast of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in light of the entry ban issued by the Ukrainian authorities against Samoilova.

The 2017 Eurovision Song Contest semifinals will be held in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on May 9 and 11 while the Grand Final will take place on May 13.

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