The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Nationalist party under fire for saying singer of African descent shouldn't represent Ukraine

  • Print

KIEV, Ukraine - A small Ukrainian nationalist party came under fire Wednesday after a high-profile member suggested a singer of African descent was a bad choice to represent the country in the Eurovision song contest.

Pop star Gaitana, 32, who was born in Kyiv to a Congolese father and Ukrainian mother, was chosen last week to represent Ukraine at this year's Eurovision contest in May in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Gaitana, known for a strong voice and seductive outfits, will represent Ukraine with the English-language hit "Be My Guest."

Yuri Sirotyuk, of the political party Svoboda, told the New Region agency on Monday that Gaitana was a bad choice because she was not authentically Ukrainian.

"Yes, Gaitana sings well, but she does not represent our culture," Sirotyuk was quoted as saying. "Eurovision must be a show of national talents."

"It looks like we don't want to show our face and Ukraine will be associated with a different continent, somewhere in Africa."

Svoboda is not represented in parliament, but has been gaining popularity recently.

Gaitana strongly condemned Sirotyuk's statement, saying it tarnishes Ukraine.

"I am very much ashamed for such racist statements, because they destroy Ukraine's reputation in front of the whole world," Gaitana told reporters. "We are doing everything we can so that Ukraine becomes a part of the European family, a part of the world, so that nobody would be afraid to come here and have children here."

Hanna Herman, an adviser to President Viktor Yanukovych, also spoke out against the statement, saying that Ukrainians should not be divided according to the colour of their skin, their faith or their language.

Ukraine's National Television, which held the contest where Gaitana was selected by a combined vote of viewers and jurors, demanded that Sirotyuk apologize to Gaitana.

Sirotyuk told The Associated Press that he has nothing to apologize for.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Étienne Gaboury: Manitoba "shining light" of architecture

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A female Mallard duck leads a group of duckings on a morning swim through the reflections in the Assiniboine River at The Forks Monday.     (WAYNE GLOWACKI/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) Winnipeg Free Press  June 18 2012
  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 101130-Winnipeg Free Press Columns of light reach skyward to the stars above Sanford Mb Tuesday night. The effect is produced by streetlights refracting through ice crystals suspended in the air on humid winter nights. Stand Up.....

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you support Canada's involvement in the fight against Islamic State?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google