Thursday, December 18, 2014


Transmission

Claims Of Vote Theft At Eurovision Roil Russia, Azerbaijan

Russia's Dina Garipova finished fifth in this year's Eurovision Song Contest with her song "What If," but could she have gotten a higher score?
Russia's Dina Garipova finished fifth in this year's Eurovision Song Contest with her song "What If," but could she have gotten a higher score?
Russia's foreign minister called it "outrageous."

In Baku, hopes were expressed that the incident would not damage Russian-Azerbaijani relations.

The issue? Allegations of vote theft at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest.

Azerbaijani officials are investigating why Azerbaijan gave Russia’s song entry zero points at this year's final, held in Malmo, Sweden, on May 18.

The probe was launched after it emerged that Azerbaijani viewers voting by text message and phone put the Russian entry, Dina Garipova, in second place. That should have secured her 10 points from Baku.

But when the Azerbaijani vote was announced on television, it awarded Russia no points.

At a news conference in Moscow on May 21, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, said their countries will investigate the possible violations.

Mammadyarov indicated that Azerbaijan’s public television broadcaster needs to clarify the situation due to the responsibility it bears as the main partner of the European Broadcasting Union, which holds the contest.

"According to the data from all three mobile-phone operators -- and there are three of them in Azerbaijan -- Russia's [representative] was consistently voted in second," he said. "Where have those votes gone? How have they disappeared?"

Lavrov said that a response would be forthcoming to the "outrageous" incident.

"Certainly, there is nothing to be happy about knowing that we -- or rather our participant [in Eurovision] -- has been robbed of 10 points."

Camil Guliyev, the head of Azerbaijan’s state broadcaster, said in a statement that he hopes the incident "possibly initiated by certain interest groups, will not cast a shadow over the brotherly relations of the Russian and Azerbaijani peoples."

Eurovision viewers from all participating countries vote by phone or text message. Television broadcasters then announce the votes live at the end of the contest, after collecting them from national phone operators.

Russia awarded Azerbaijan’s representative, Farid Mammadov, the maximum 12 points. Mammadov’s ballad, "Hold Me," finished second in the competition after Denmark’s "Only Teardrops."

Ten points from Azerbaijan still wouldn't have been enough to secure a top spot for Garipova, whose "What If" gave Russia a fifth-place finish.

Still, the "missing points" scandal has shone a spotlight on the contest's highly controversial voting system, whereby countries often seem to award points to song entries based on geopolitics.

Azerbaijan hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012 amid criticism of its poor human rights record as well as corruption scandals surrounding the construction of Baku's Eurovision arena and the demolition of houses in preparation for the contest.

Despite attempts to maintain good relations, there have been tensions in the past between Russia and Azerbaijan over issues such as weapons transfers and oil and gas pipelines.

-- Deana Kjuka

Question image

Quiz: Are You Too Cool For Eurovision Kitsch?

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: parvenu from: US
May 22, 2013 01:40
That's how Azerbaijani votes are counted, should not surprise anyone.
In Response

by: syncope from: Azerbaijan
May 22, 2013 06:00
Well, let's look at the situation from Azerbaijan. Let's don't involve politics and relationship between states at all. Obviously the song was ans is popular among azeries (just check social networks), people had intention to vote for it. So, it's akward to know that anyone has stolen your sms for a singer you liked. It could sound ridiculous, but, frankly, it's insulting and humiliates even tiny ones but your rights! Let's think of not some political curtsy etc., but intention just to get know whatta hell is happening during these contests.
In Response

by: parvenu from: US
May 23, 2013 01:32
What the hell is happening? Here is a guess- Alief's orders.
In Response

by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
May 25, 2013 13:09
Few years ago azeri kgb tracked down azeris who had voted for Armenia and warned them with criminal proceedings,but as sin cope says lets not involve politics and states and Adolf Ali Babalievich-azeris are best for talking turkey and singing baloney as well-and Ilham Ali Babalievich`s speeches prove that brilliantly!!!

by: Vinnie Paz from: Atropatene
May 22, 2013 12:01
Azerbaijan stole votes from Malta Hungary Greece and gave the 12 points to themselves maybe there is other people doing the same?

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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