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Ukraine picks Crimean Tatar's song about Stalin persecution for Eurovision

Published 21/02/2016

The song describes Josef Stalin's persecution of Crimean Tatars
The song describes Josef Stalin's persecution of Crimean Tatars

Ukrainians have chosen a Crimean Tatar singer and her song about the mass deportation of Tatars under Josef Stalin as the country's entry for this year's Eurovision song contest.

Susana Jamaladinova, who performs under the stage name Jamala, was chosen on Sunday night.

Her song 1944 refers to the year in which Stalin uprooted the Tatars from their homeland and shipped them in badly overcrowded trains to Central Asia.

Thousands died during the journey or starved to death on the barren steppes where they arrived.

They were not allowed to return to Crimea until the 1980s. Jamaladinova herself was born in Kyrgyzstan.

The song lyrics do not touch on Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, but entering the singer in the hugely popular song contest could raise the issue by implication.

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