The organisation of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev has encountered turbulent times, with the resignation of twenty-one members of staff.
Despite the setbacks, the European Broadcasting Union has warned Ukraine that the event must still go ahead as planned from the 9th till the 13th May. So far, two executive producers, the event manager and the head of security have quit from the company’s senior Eurovision team.
The 2017 show’s executive producers, Victoria Romanova and Oleksandr Kharebin and most of their team stepped down on the 10th February, after saying in a letter published by the Strana news site that they felt sidelined by a new event coordinator and worried by a lack of transparency in decision-making.
However, the deputy head of Ukrainian state television, Pavlo Hrytsak, has insisted that “everything is going on according to plan”. Ukraine’s prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman, has also highlighted that preparations were being conducted “properly” and “absolutely nothing threatens Eurovision”.
Image above: Ukraine’s prime minister Volodymyr Groysman
Reports have also claimed that Ukraine was encountering serious financial difficulties in funding the event, and the Orthodox church has also complained about the 11th century St Sophia’s Cathedral Complex being the choice of venue for the opening ceremony.
Ukraine’s Jamala had unexpectedly won the 61st Eurovision contest last year.
An ethnic Tatar from Crimea, she had performed her ballad 1944, which is about the wartime deportations of Tatars under Joseph Stalin. This result had irked Moscow but many Ukrainians felt victorious after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, and the subsequent fighting in the Donbass region.