Ukraine, after winning the coveted (!) Eurovision Song Contest in 2004, seem to have decided to have a little fun with the event this year. They’ve picked Verka Serdyuchka, a drag queen who pokes fun at Russian women “of a certain age”, as their representative for 2007.
Predictably, everyone’s upset, from Ukrainians, who think that she will make Ukraine look silly and recently burnt an effigy of her to make their point, to Russians, who worry that the song’s lyrics:
constitute a direct assault by a wayward neighbour on Moscow itself. At the root of the indignation is a refrain that appears to exhort the audience to sing “Russia goodbye”.
According to Serdyuchka herself, though, its all a big misunderstanding:
His lyrics, he maintains, do not read I want you to sing/Russia goodbye, but I want you to see/Lasha tumbai – which apparently means “churned butter” in Mongolian.
Hmmm – Mongolian lyrics. Another Eurovision first?
Anyway, RFE/RL has a roundup of this year’s Eastern European entries, and you can find a video clip of Serdyuchka in action on the BBC website.