The Russian public has chosen an ethnic Tajik feminist and LGBTQ+ campaigner to represent the country in this year’s Eurovision, a move that has sent Russia’s anti-LGBTQ+ population into a rage.
29 year-old Manizha Sangin was voted for by viewers of state television during an online vote. The LGBTQ+ advocate will represent Russia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 with the song Russian Woman.
The feminist anthem which combines pop, Russian tradition and rap was written on International Women’s Day in 2020. Explaining the meaning behind Russian Woman, Manizha told Eurovision.tv:
“This is a song about the transformation of a woman’s self-awareness over the past few centuries in Russia. A Russian woman has gone an amazing way from a peasant hut to the right to elect and be elected (one of the first in the world), from factory workshops to space flights.
“She has never been afraid to resist stereotypes and take responsibilities. This is the source of inspiration for the song. By coincidence I wrote it on March 8, 2020 while on tour, but for the first time I perform it a year later.”
Manizha has openly shared her support and respect for Russia’s LGBTQ+ community saying last year, “I just love people and I adore the LGBT community, and I think it’s cool to support them.”
Predictably this has caused uproar amongst Russian nationalists who made complaints.
A pro-Kremlin journalist, Yury Kotenok, said that the public’s choice was “the greatest insult” and a “spit in the face” for Russians calling Manizha “a migrant who has made her career on LGBT issues”.
The head of the ultranationalist Liberal Democrat Party of Russia said that the lyrics, which deal with sexism experienced by Russian women, could harm Russian women’s international image as well as Russia itself.
Russia’s 2021 entry could not be any more different to their 2020 entry which featured the song ‘Uno’ by Saint-Petersburg based pop-punk band, Little Big.
They initially received praise for their music video, which was viewed over 191 million times, as it seemed to satirise the leader of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov. Yet, uncovered vlog footage showed four of the bandmates insulting LGBTQ+ people and calling Pride Parade’s ‘illogical’.
The Eurovision Song Contest 2021 will be the 65th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. The contest will take place in Rotterdam, Netherlands on May 18-22.
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