A leftist politician in Russia has decided to launch ‘Goodvision’, his own family-friendly folk music antidote to the annual Eurovision Song Contest being held in Stockholm later this month.
The Eurovision Song Contest has long-generated controversy in Russia. It has previously been called a ‘Sodom Show’ by one politician, described as “repulsive to our soul and our culture” by the Leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, identified as “endless madness” by Communist Party deputy Valery Rashkin, and even cited as evidence of “the end of Europe” by Russian nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
Those responses came after Eurovision 2014 saw Austrian singer Conchita Wurst — the bearded, cross-dressing performer born Tom Neuwirth pictured above — win the annual pop contest watched globally by millions.
Now another Russian politician has raised the stakes in the contest, announcing his intention to set up an alternative to Eurovison which he hopes to launch under the snappy title of Goodvision. The socialist member of the Duma (Russian parliament), Oleg Nilov of the A Just Russia party, explained to BBC News:
“To conquer any country now, you don’t need weapons — culture is the key. The minds of our young people are coming under the influence of TV, which is trying to impose a fashion, a certain kind of music.”
Mr. Nilov is a music fan himself, just not of the variety seen on display at Eurovision. For him Russian folk music reigns supreme and that is what his competition is intended to showcase. Not lacking in ambition, he described his intentions:
“The songs will be folk-style with national instruments and national costumes.
“I’m sure this will get more viewers and be more useful.”
Should anyone wish to know the sort of “useful” folk music which Mr. Nilov has in mind he helpfully serenaded the Duma shortly after Conchita Wurst’s victory back in 2014.
On that occasion his traditional folk song, with jaunty lyrics like “black raven, why are you circling above my head?”, failed to propel him to international stardom.
Meanwhile, back at the main competition, it turns out that the favourite to win this year’s Eurovision is Russian. Sergey Lazarev takes a different view to his compatriots, telling the BBC:
“I really like the main message that this year’s Eurovision has — ‘come together’ — because the music doesn’t have any religion, nationalities, sexual orientation, so music is for everyone.”