Ukrainian Eurovision winner put on Russia’s wanted list

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Singer Jamala triumphed in the popular song contest in 2016 with the politically charged track ‘1944’

Ukrainian pop star Jamala, who won the Eurovision song contest in 2016, has been placed on the wanted list in Russia, according to a database of the country’s Interior Ministry.

Jamala was actually put on the list mid-October, but TASS and several other Russian outlets only reported the development on Sunday.

The 40-year-old is wanted in Russia over a criminal offense, according to the database, but no further details are provided.

A law enforcement source told TASS that Jamala might have appeared on the wanted list for allegedly distributing fake information about the Russian military.

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A law prohibiting spreading falsehoods about the Russian Armed Forces was added to the country’s Criminal Code shortly after the military operation in Ukraine was launched in February 2022. Those found in violation face a maximum punishment of up to 15 years in prison.

The Telegram channel Shot has claimed that the singer is being sought for statements about the events in March 2022 in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, where Kiev accused Russian forces of massacring civilians. Moscow, however, has denied those accusations, saying that the purported evidence of the crimes was fabricated as part of efforts to derail the peace process between Russia and Ukraine.

Jamala, who is of Crimean Tatar origin, was critical of Crimea’s reunification with Russia in 2014. The song ‘1944,’ with which she secured her Eurovision victory, was dedicated to the Soviet Union’s deportation of the Tatars from Crimea to Central Asia during the rule of Joseph Stalin.

The singer, who condemned the Russian military operation, reportedly fled Ukraine after the outbreak of the conflict. According to media reports, she first went to Türkiye and later moved to Poland. Recently, she has been performing in Europe and the US and said that the proceeds from those concerts is being sent to Ukrainian humanitarian organizations.

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Jamala is on a list published by the newspaper Izvestia in April 2022 of Ukrainian artists who have been banned from entering Russia.

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