Ukraine wins Eurovision Song Contest in goodwill after Russia invasion

Kyiv, Ukraine

This year’s Ukrainian Folklore Orchestra Kalush won Eurovision Song Contestbrowsing a wave of goodwill from European countries to achieve the third victory for the country in this attractive event.

The band’s song “Stefania”, written about the man’s mother, overcame the competition from the main competitors in the UK and Spain at the competition held in the city of Italy. Turin.

The event marks the first major cultural event that Ukrainians have participated in since the Russian invasion in February, and many of the audience waved blue and yellow Ukraine’s national flag during the evening.

Members of the Kalush Orchestra pose with the winner's trophy after winning the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest on May 14 in Turin.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the Kalush Orchestra in an Instagram post just seconds after announcing its victory.

He said in the post: “Our courage fascinates the world, our music conquers Europe!”

Referring to the rule that the winner of the previous year’s competition can host the competition, he said: “Next year Ukraine will host Eurovision! For the third time in its history. And I think it is not the last. We will do our best to host Eurovision participants and guests in Mariupol, Ukraine one day.” Free, Peaceful, Rebuilt!”

Tamil Tasheva, the permanent representative of the President of Ukraine in Crimea, has suggested Yalta, a resort city on the southern coast of Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014, as a possible location.

Kallush orchestra during rehearsals.

Entering the country “Stefania”, who sang in Ukrainian, is a tribute to the mother of striker Oleg Psyuk, who still lives in the western city of Kalush, from which the band takes its name. “Some days, there are missiles flying over people’s homes and it’s like a lottery – no one knows where it’s going to hit,” Psychok told CNN this week before his performance.

“And as we speak, our country and our culture are under threat. But we want to show that we are alive, and Ukrainian culture is alive; it is unique, diverse and beautiful.”

The event in Turin saw the many elaborate shows and camps that became the hallmark of Eurovision. A Norwegian entry for electric duo Subwoolfer warns of hungry animals eating the singers’ ancestors, while Serbian Constructa ponders the secret to Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex’s hair.

But fans rallied behind Ukraine’s entry, and the band received one of the loudest cheers of the night as they took to the stage.

In a bar in the center of Kyiv, not far from the city’s famous golden-roofed St. Sophia Cathedral, a small party was held to watch Eurovision on Saturday night. Buena Vista bar owner Max Tolmachev said the people who came to the bar were eager to show their support for Ukraine – even if Eurovision wasn’t the right thing for them.

The Kalush Orchestra of Ukraine celebrates after winning the Eurovision Song Contest.

They want to show their patriotic spirit. This war has been really hard on people and this is an opportunity to put dark ideas aside for a while,” he told CNN.

Barh played a role in the Ukraine resistance as well. At the height of the Battle of Kyiv, a military checkpoint was set up right in front of it. “The soldiers would come to rest, and we would cook for them food – borscht, stew, meat, potatoes, there was not much choice at that time,” he said.

And while many were excited to witness Ukraine’s victory in the contest, no major parties took place in the capital on Saturday. A strict curfew starting at 10pm local time, at the same time as the Eurovision broadcast, means people won’t be able to go home once the parties are over.

Despite this, Tolmashov had a plan – his crew agreed to stay overnight so that the patrons could party into the wee hours.

This year’s Eurovision tournament was held in Italy after punk rock band Maneskin won last year. It was the first Eurovision final to be held without major Covid restrictions since the pandemic began; The 2020 edition has been cancelled, and last year featured crowd restrictions and some remote viewing.

The Kalush Orchestra was initially second in Ukraine’s national selection competition, but stepped up after it emerged that the winner had previously traveled to Russia-annexed Crimea. The group was revealed with the entry into the country on February 22, two days before Russian forces invaded Ukraine.