Eurovision 2021: Belarus disqualified

The Galasy ZMesta group, chosen to represent Belarus at Eurovision 2021. – Screenshot

  • On Friday March 26, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which oversees Eurovision, announced that Belarus could not participate in the 2021 edition of the competition because it was not able to submit a song that complies with it. to the regulations.
  • In early March, Belarus formalized the candidacy of the Galasy ZMesta group for Eurovision 2021.
  • Many Internet users reacted to the song in the wake Ya Nauchu Tebya (I’ll Teach You) by underlining its political subtext. The EBU then asked Belarus to modify the disputed lyrics or propose another song and deliver everything within the deadline.

Edit: This article, originally published on March 11, was updated and changed on March 26 following the announcement of Belarus’s disqualification.

Belarus will not participate in Eurovision 2021. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which heads the competition, announced on Friday,
via a press release, that this country had not been able to present a song that complied with the regulations.

On March 11, the EBU informed the Belarusian delegation that the song with which it intended to perform was “not eligible” for the competition “in its current form” because it violated the rules prohibiting all messages of a political nature. She gave him a chance to come up with a new version with modified lyrics or even a brand new title, in order to avoid disqualification.

As soon as his clip was uploaded on March 9, the song in question, entitled Ya Nauchu Tebya (I’ll Teach You) (“I will learn you”), performed by the group Galasy ZMesta, had aroused strong reactions on social networks, including the launch of
several petitionsDemanding the exclusion of this candidacy.

“You just have to obey me”

Many Internet users have pointed to the political message broadcast in the subtext of this song. “Look ahead, forget the past […], erases the growths of history […] Without the past, everything will be simple, you just have to obey me, ”the group sings for example in the first chorus (translated here approximately from an English translation).

These words take on a very special meaning in the Belarusian context. Since August, this former Soviet republic has been the scene of a substantial mass protest following the re-election of Alexander Lukashenko with 80% of the vote. The European Union refused to recognize the results of this presidential election which it considers “rigged”. The issue of non-respect for human rights on the spot is also worrying. In November, the UN accused the Belarusian authorities in particular of arbitrary detention and torture against demonstrators and opponents.

Also, since October, the EU has imposed sanctions on the president of the authoritarian regime, his son, as well as ministers, senior officials, business leaders and companies supporting the violent repression of demonstrations. people against electoral fraud. At the end of last month, it extended until February 2022 these sanctions targeting exactly 88 people and consisting of an asset freeze and a travel ban in the twenty-seven member countries of the European Union.

A questioning of the “non-political nature” of Eurovision

These geopolitical tensions could not be more serious therefore find a resonance in the a priori anecdotal framework that is the Eurovision Song Contest. In the press release issued on March 11, the EBU said it had “closely scrutinized the song of Belarus” and concluded that it “called into question the non-political nature” of the event. She added that the “latest reactions” risked damaging the reputation of the competition. The organization thus requested that the Belarusian broadcaster BTRC, in charge of the candidacy for Eurovision, “submit a modified version or a new song” in accordance with the regulations.

In its press release of March 26, the EBU said that the new song proposed by the Belarusian delegation “also violates the rules ensuring that the competition cannot be exploited”. The deadline having expired to deliver an adequate song, Belarus will not be able to be represented next May in Rotterdam.

The Galasy ZMesta group was not selected by chance. “The chosen candidate shocked everyone. Once again, we have the proof that to be “loyal” is more important than to have talent and to make quality music “, reacted on his Instagram account the duo VAL. This duo, which had been appointed to represent Belarus at Eurovision 2020 was not renewed this year because the BRTC ruled that it had not
“No conscience” after they publicly supported the anti-Lukashenko protests. Their example is one among others of the consequences suffered by several Belarusian artists who took a stand against the power in place.


This is not the first time that a song has been problematic on Eurovision Song Contest because of its political nature, real or supposed. In 2009, Georgia withdrew from the competition, held in Russia, after the song We Don’t Wanna Put In (hear “We don’t wanna Putin”, “We don’t want Poutine”) was retorted by the EBU.

In 2015, the year of the commemoration of the hundred years of the Armenian genocide, the Genealogy group, made up of artists from the Armenian diaspora, had to change the title of their song – Don’t deny (“Do not deny”) – which could be seen as an address to deniers – was thus renamed Face The Shadow (“Confront the shadow”).

The Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Rotterdam (Netherlands) in May, with a final scheduled for Saturday 22. Initially, forty-one countries were to compete, but after Armenia’s withdrawal and Belarus disqualified, it was not ‘there will ultimately be “only” thirty-nine in the running.

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