The two well-known Russian pranksters Leksus and Vovan managed to talk supposedly with EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre. Their full conversation was published as an audio file by the Russian news site life.ru a short while ago.
In disguise as the Ukrainian Prime Minister Vladimir Groysman, the two Russian pranksters Leksus and Vovan allegedly talked to Miss Deltenre, trying to make public important information concerning the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv. The news site life.ru just published the full conversation which you can find here.
Content of the telephone call:
Ingrid Deltenre: Hello, this is Ingrid Deltenre
Pranksters as Vladimir Groysman: Hello Miss Deltenre, I am very happy to talk with you. From Russian sources we heared that Ukraine might temporary be suspended from entering the Eurovision Song Contest which disturbs us.
ID: Yes, the suspension of Eurovision members or organizers is in fact a breach of the rules. So far it has never happened that a country did not allow a delegation or a participant to participate in the contest. What we have heard is that Ukrainian security services do not want to allow the Russian singer to participate because of the breach of Ukrainian law.
Pranksters: Our Ukrainian laws the most important authority for us in this regard. And the young lady, even if she is disabled, has violated the Ukrainian law. She visited the occupied territory of Crimea in 2015 without asking the Ukrainian authorities for a permission. The choice of this young lady is an open provocation by Russia. Her entrance in the country won’t be allowed.
ID: At this time, when the Russian singer was in Ukraine she was not a representative of the contest. Second, you could actually evoke the ban after the Song Contest.
Pranksters: This would mean that competing in the ESC would give special rights to a person. Rights which are even beyond the legislation of our country. This is not possible.
Ingrid Deltenre: The reputation fo your country would benefit if you would let her in to compete. That’s why we had strongly hope that you would use the event to promote and open and modern Ukraine. If you ban her the reputation of Ukraine in whole Europe is going to suffer. Every newspaper will only write about the ban and the negative aspects and not about the contest.
Pranksters: I doubt, that the EBU could organize the event in another country at this point, two months before the opening. It is technically impossible.
Ingrid Deltenre: We have everything reserved in Berlin. If we move the contest elsewhere, the ban of the singer can’t be put in place. That means that we have to give sanctions in connection with the Ukrainian participation in the competition. That means that for sure in the next two or three years Ukraine will not compete. All until the whole situation with Russia is solved. And if this takes longer Ukraine will not participate. Last but not least, the EBU owns the rights for the broadcast of the FIFA World Cup in Ukraine. Our Ukrainian member has not respected any deadline for the payment of the money which has been determined in the contract. It might also be that we default the contract.
Pranksters: So the EBU supports Russian aggressions against Ukraine.
ID: No, we don’t. We are very critical against Russia. But this is an international competition with established rules. These rules must be accepted. It is the same as if Ukraine would host the Olympic Games, Ukraine could not ban the athletes from Russia. This can only be done by the organizers and in Eurovision by the EBU. Bans can not be done on a country level. This happens in order to avoid the politicization of the ESC. If this rule would not exist, Azerbaijan had never allowed Armenia to participate (Armenia withdraw in 2012 but had the opportunity to take part). The ban is contrary to the spirit of the Song Contest which is supposed to be not political. And unfortunately I have to say it is heavily politicized as never before. This is why there will be sanctions if the Russian singer will not participate.
Pranksters: However, last years winner Jamala competed with a song which related to the annexation of Crimea. We even warned Jon Ola Sand but he saw it in a relaxed way.
ID: First of all, I was just too late made aware of the song. If I would have been informed earlier I would not have allowed the entry to participate, to be very transpair. But second, we have a clear rule that the stage must not be used for any political statement. I think, there we can agree with the Russian delegation.
Pranksters: When is the deadline for us to make a decision before you give us sanctions?
ID: Actually, not a lot because as you said the time is flying. We have to take a decision very soon if we have to step away from Ukraine as the host country in order to be on the save side. But let me repeat: all the big broadcasters are involved. I get e-mails from the BBC (United Kingdom) and ARD (Germany), telling me that they are considering to withdraw. Next, as it is everywhere in the news: by banning the Russian singer, the impact on you will be much more negative. It will be seen as a small, little revenge against Russia by the use of such an event. This is not going to be perceived well.
Pranksters: we have an offer: If we let Yuliya Samoilova compete, would it be possible to have our president Poroshenko on stage in the opening of the event. He would say that we Europeans must be united against Russia. Then we would let Miss Samoilova compete and the contest did not need to be moved to Berlin or elsewhere.
ID: This is not going to be possible. I can discuss it with the reference group but I am 90 percent sure they won’t allow this to happen. Exactly because of the politicization. I could understand if you say that the Russian delegation must limit its team to the minimum, that we restrict the freedom of movement to a certain extent for their security. But the president on stage would not be possible. I remember this was a topic in 2005 when Ukraine hosted the last time and it was declined. This was the only time when we had such a request and the answer will be no again.
Pranksters: But he could do his speech as a song. Together with Jamala he could sing a political song. Rap as a statement against Russia and Putin.
ID: I have to check this. I can’t say anything now.
Pranksters: In his free time he sings rap. It is his hobby. He would not be on stage as a president but as a normal rapper.
ID: I would really like to discuss that with the Reference Group. I assume it’s not excluded, I will try to talk with them now.
Pranksters: Do you have a strong personal opinion on Russia?
ID: Yes and it is shared by everybody. But we also have a strong position that the Russian singer should be allowed to compete as it is about uniting people in the show.
Pranksters: Well then let us make a final decision in the morning. And you can talk with your team regarding the show of president Poroshenko as normal rapper.
ID: He would sing with Jamala, right? But if he would use the whole song to blame Russia it would be a problem.
Pranksters: He probably will and he will be dressed as a black singer.
ID: Okay, I will come back to you. Good night.