Stockholm (AFP) - Ukraine's entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, which is about Stalin's wartime deportation of Crimean Tatars and has sparked fierce protests from Moscow, will be evaluated for rule compliance in March, a contest spokesman said Tuesday.
"All entries for the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest, including the Ukrainian song, will be assessed under the rules by the EBU (European Broadcast Union)," which prohibits "political messages", wrote Paul Jordan, a spokesman for Eurovision, in an email to AFP.
"Once all the songs have arrived" by the March 14 deadline, "they will be evaluated and decisions will be made," he added.
Susana Jamaladinova, known by her stage name Jamala, is a 32-year-old Ukrainian jazz singer from a Crimean Tatar family. She has been selected to represent Ukraine and sing her song "1944" at the Eurovision contest to be held in Stockholm in May, just days before the 72nd anniversary of the deportation.
"When strangers are coming, they come to your house, they kill you all/ And say, we're not guilty, not guilty," is the first stanza of the song, which was written by Jamala in English and Tartar.
The song was inspired by the deportation of Jamala's great-grandmother, her five children and some 240,000 other Crimean Tatars in 1944, virtually the entire Tartar population on the Black Sea peninsula.
On Monday, several politicians in Moscow and Crimea complained about the song, saying it brought up old history in order to denigrate Russia for its decision to annex the Ukrainian peninsula in March 2014.
Since the annexation, Tatar activists have been detained and community leaders have been denied entry to the territory by Russian authorities.
"We can advise a national broadcaster but we don't want to get involved ourselves too much. We cannot tell the broadcaster what to do ... sometimes countries have changed the lyrics or the title of their song," said Jorden.
Disputes between Russia and its former Soviet republics have often been a problem at Eurovision.
Georgia attempted to join the 2009 edition in Moscow with the song "We Don't Wanna Put In", but the EBU rejected the entry on the basis that it was an obvious wordplay on Putin, and came after the war between Russia and Georgia in August 2008.
In 2005, then Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko welcomed hosting Eurovision saying it could help Ukraine move closer to its aim of joining the European Union.
But the Ukrainian candidate Greenjolly had to modify the lyrics of the group's song "Razom Nas Bahato" (Together We Are Many), which was an anthem of the pro-West Orange Revolution.
The criticism was all the more intense because Greenjolly was running against local pop star Ani Lorak, who had backed the pro-Moscow former prime minister Viktor Yanukovich in the polls that eventually brought Yushchenko to power.