Ukraine stuns Russia to win politically-charged Eurovision

Stockholm (AFP) – Ukrainian singer Jamala snatched victory from arch-rival Russia to win the Eurovision song contest, adding a touch of political drama to the annual kitsch extravaganza.

After a tense vote count, during which it seemed Australia was going to run away with the crown until the audience votes came in, Jamala was declared the winner in Stockholm after a heart-felt performance of “1944”, a song about the deportations of Crimean Tatars during World War II.

Jamala’s entry — which stirred controversy over perceived veiled criticism of Russia’s recent annexation of Crimea — scored 534 points, closely followed by Australia’s Dami Im with 511 points, the juries’ favourite.

Ukraine wins Eurovision Song Contest-2
Jamala – AP Photo/Martin Meissner

The hotly tipped former Russian child star Sergey Lazarev came in third with 491 points.

In Moscow, public TV channel Rossiya 1’s commentators congratulated Jamala on her win, without mentioning the Crimean Tatars.

They said Jamala’s song was “about her family members”, without offering further details.

Jamala herself described the win as “amazing”.