March 12, 2008

Eurovision And Politics In The Caucasus

Armenia_Eurovision.jpgFrom the vantage point of a couch in Australia, the Eurovision Song Contest (religiously broadcast every year by SBS) is an opportunity to revel in the seemingly insatiable European appetite for cheesy kitsch-pop. In the Caucasus, however, there is a far more serious side to the event.

For the republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, it’s a chance to advertise their desire to join the European mainstream, but in a region embroiled in long-standing dormant conflicts, it can also be a lightning rod for local enmities. This year, for instance, when Armenia announced its entry, which was to be performed by local starlet Andre Sirusho (pictured), Azerbaijan was enraged by the fact that Sirusho hails from the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh and was singing a “stolen” Azerbaijani folk song that they had planned to enter themselves. Since then, it seems that the Armenians have opted for a different song, but it’s unlikely that this will be the end of the issue…

Whatever the outcome, you can look to Global Voices Online for any developments that might emerge. They also have links to all three Caucasian entrants for 2008.

Posted by Warren at March 12, 2008 01:01 AM | Media Events