The entry from Belarus for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest has been dropped because it failed to respect the contest’s apolitical nature, according to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
Two weeks ago, the original entry by the group Galasy Zmesta (the name means ‘Voices of Content’) was ordered to be reworked because the lyrics in Russian were considered to be satirising protests in the former Soviet republic against the authoritarian president Alexander Lukashenko.
Lyrics like ‘I’ll teach you to toe the line’ and ‘I’ll teach you to swallow the bait,’ were criticised for their political nature.
The band is known for its anti-opposition lyrics in other songs, and its support of Lukashenko. While the song was featured on the the EBU’s YouTube channel, it attracted 5,800 likes – but more than 40,000 dislikes.
“It was expected, understandable,” songwriter and band front man Dmitry Butakov told news agency Reuters. “I think our song is compliant. It’s them who think it is not.”
“It was concluded that the song puts the non-political nature of the contest in question,” the EBU said in a statement at the time. “In addition, recent reactions to the proposed entry risk bringing the reputation of the [contest] into disrepute.”
Belarus was allowed to submit a new entry, but that too has now been disallowed on similar grounds.
“It was concluded that the new submission was also in breach of the rules of the competition that ensure the contest is not instrumentalised or brought into disrepute,” the EBU said in a statement this week.
The Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Rotterdam in May.