Russia slams ‘outrageous’ Eurovision vote scandal
The Guardian in Moscow
Russia's foreign minister has issued a stern warning over claims that his country's contestant in the Eurovision song contest lost out on 10 points that should have been given to her by Azerbaijan.
Sergei Lavrov issued the warning on Tuesday after reports that Dina Garipova had been deprived of 10 points issued by the country's former Soviet-era ally.
"That 10 points were stolen from our contestant ... does not make us happy," Lavrov said during a press conference with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Elmar Mammadyarov. "The outrageous action at Eurovision regarding the Russian contestant will not go unanswered."
Garipova, who sang the ballad What If, finished fifth, with 174 points, in the contest's final in Sweden on Saturday. She was 17 points behind fourth-placed Margaret Berger of Norway, so the extra 10 points would not have made any difference in the overall ranking.
Mammadyarov said: "A significant part of the Azeri population voted for the Russian singer." He said a full investigation would be carried out to see where the "stolen votes" went.
Azerbaijan's ambassador to Moscow, renowned Soviet-era crooner Polad Bulbuloglu, told Russian television it was impossible that Garipova had not scored any points in his country. Russia gave Azerbaijan's entry the maximum 12 points.
Eurovision has become known for its highly politicised voting, particularly as it has grown in popularity in eastern Europe and Russia, where the event is taken very seriously. This year Denmark's Emmelie de Forest won with 281 points for her song Only Teardrops, well ahead of Azerbaijan's Farid Mammadov in second.