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

    Turkey, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.