Maruv had been asked to sign a contract agreeing not to play any concerts in Russia in the lead-up to Eurovision, among other conditions. While the performer was willing to concede this clause, she argued that other clauses would have forced her to be a mouthpiece for propaganda – promoting Ukrainian politicians.
After being named as Ukraine’s Eurovision contestant on Saturday 23rd February, she was reportedly given 24 hours to sign the contract and, after talks stalled on the following Monday, the broadcaster revoked Maruv’s nomination.
In a statement explaining why she felt she had to withdraw, Maruv wrote: “I am a musician, rather than a tool of the political stage.”
Ukraine has an ongoing conflict with Russia, centring around the annexation of Crimea in 2014 by Russian forces.
Maruv’s entry Siren Song was the winner in Ukraine’s televised selection contest. After she withdrew, the second- and third-placed contestants were invited to replace her, but neither of them was willing to step in.
“We would have been honoured to represent Ukraine,” dance act Kazka wrote on their Instagram page. “But we do not need a win at any price. Our mission is to unite people with music, not to sow discord.”
Instead of approaching any other potential acts, broadcaster UA:PBC opted to pull out of the contest for 2019.
“The song contest is an opportunity for every country to announce itself in the international arena, and for each performer to act as an ambassador,” it said in a statement, according to the BBC. “But the national selection 2019 revealed… a systemic problem in Ukraine’s music industry: The connection of artists to the territory of the aggressor state.
“For some parts society, this fact is acceptable. In others, it causes indignation and rejection.”