Contemporary Southeastern Europe
From Ruslana to Gaitana: Performing “Ukrainianness” in the Eurovision Song Contest
This article considers how the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) has come to be used as a platform for the politicisation of national identity in Ukraine. Ukraine can be described as an amalgam of regions with different ethno-linguistic, economic, cultural and political profiles. The rhetoric concerning some Ukrainian Eurovision entries illuminates these complexities and as such sheds light on the construction of Ukrainian nationhood in a post-Soviet context. In particular this paper uses interviews with key decision makers involved with the Ukrainian selection process in the Eurovision Song Contest and examines the rhetoric surrounding four Ukrainian Eurovision entries which have generated considerable interest and controversy both in the country itself and within the wider context of the European media. Eurovision presents an opportunity for Ukraine to present a unified national identity to a global audience. The question is however, which Ukraine and for what purpose?