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.
The Eurovision Song Contest, as an important part of the entertainment industry, has offered European countries a platform for national promotion. The original format has developed over 60 years and has come under scrutiny and criticism as allegations of block voting, politics and nationalism have been raised. It has also been argued that similarity of cultures, linguistic connections, and close national identities, rather than national interests and politics, are what actually bring countries together in this competition. This study has two focuses in an attempt to determine what role the contest has had for participating countries and how they have used it. The first focus is on analysing historical incidents at the competition when countries have attempted to politicise the contest.