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Ukrainian President Honors Eurovision Winner

  • VOA News

FILE - Ukraine's Jamala reacts on winning the Eurovision Song Contest final at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, May 14, 2016.

FILE - Ukraine's Jamala reacts on winning the Eurovision Song Contest final at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, May 14, 2016.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has bestowed the honorary title of People's Artist of Ukraine on the singer Jamala, following her surprise victory over a Russian competitor at last week's Eurovision contest.

Poroshenko, gushing with national pride, also said Monday he had asked the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to nominate the 33-year-old performer as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

Jamala, whose full name is Susana Jamaladinova, catapulted to international stardom Saturday with her winning song "1944," which laments the Soviet wartime deportations of ethnic Tatars from the Crimean peninsula.

Many analysts saw the performance as a swipe at present-day Russia, which annexed Crimea in 2014 despite an international outcry, and then supported a pro-Russian uprising that has since claimed more than 9,000 lives in eastern Ukraine.

On Sunday, several high-ranking Russian officials dismissed Ukraine's win as a triumph of political agenda over artistic merit.

For her part, Jamala continues to insist there was no political subtext to her performance, while supporters note that song lyrics do not mention Moscow's March 2014 Crimea annexation.

On Monday, the singer linked her win to an effort to "tell the truth, in a truthful voice and through true music."

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