News / Europe

Austrian Drag Act Fuels Tensions Between Russia, Europe

Austrian Drag Act Fuels Tensions Between Russia, Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
May 14, 2014 1:19 AM
The outcome of Sunday's Eurovision Song Contest is causing a backlash in Russia and escalating tensions with Europe, which were already high over the crisis in Ukraine. The annual song contest is watched by an estimated 180 million people across 45 countries. This year's winner, from Austria, is provoking strong reactions. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Henry Ridgwell
The outcome of Sunday's Eurovision Song Contest is causing a backlash in Russia and escalating tensions with Europe that were already high over the crisis in Ukraine.  The annual song contest is watched by an estimated 180 million people across 45 countries and this year's winner, from Austria, has provoked strong reactions.  

'Rise Like A Phoenix’ by singer Conchita Wurst - a performance that won Austria the Eurovision Song Contest crown Sunday, after it received more votes than the 25 other finalists.
 
It’s the performer’s appearance that got the headlines. Conchita is a man dressed as a woman with long hair and a full beard.

Wurst called it a victory for European values.
 
"It was a victory not just for me, but also for those people who believe in a future that functions without discrimination and which is based on tolerance and respect," said Wurst.
 
Those words were widely seen as a swipe at Russia. Last year, the Russian government introduced laws against what it called ‘homosexual propaganda’.
 
In Moscow, there was widespread incredulity at Conchita Wurst’s Eurovision victory.
 
"The result was 'unbelievably awful.' It shows how much the cult of homosexuality is flourishing in Europe. This was just a horrifying event and God forbid that it comes here," said Russian student Alexander Sergeyev.
 
Russia came in seventh in the competition but its performers were booed by large sections of the crowd. The Russian judges awarded all their votes to former Soviet states.
 
In Stockholm, Eurovision partygoers like Ras Andrea praised the judges and the winning act.

“They did a great representation of their country, and obviously as a political stance making their song and the singer a very key figure in the political climate that we have today in Europe. So definitely yes, the right song did win," said Andrea.
 
That political climate has become more hostile.  Russia's takeover of Crimea from Ukraine in March has been strongly condemned by Europe and the West, which also blame Moscow for the current unrest in eastern Ukraine.  The Kremlin denies involvement.

When Russian conductor Valery Gergiev - a high profile supporter of President Putin’s actions in Ukraine - staged a concert in London Sunday, around 30 anti-Putin protestors staged a short demonstration as Gergiev took to the stage.  Among them was human rights activist Peter Tatchell.

“We thought it was very important to challenge Valery Gergiev over his support for President Putin; his endorsement of Russia’s anti-gay law; and his approval of Russia’s actions in Ukraine.  For him to be able to perform unchallenged would have been very wrong," said Tatchell.
 
Although it appears Russia is facing the beginnings of a cultural backlash in Europe, there was one surprising result: both Russia and Ukraine voted for each other in the Eurovision song contest.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

3-day Lockdown to Fight Ebola Continues In Sierra Leone

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: evgeny from: Ukraine
May 15, 2014 5:44 AM
Of course Conchita is awful. I don't like Eurovision. It is far from real music and culture.
It's interesting that a lot of russian pop-singers are homosexuals or use this image for their performances too.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid