An “anti-Russian” song by Jamala, an artist from the former Soviet republic of Ukraine, won a popular contest in Europe hosted by Eurovision.
The singer was praised as a hero in her homeland of Ukraine, reports CNN.
“Jamala of Ukraine won a politically charged edition of the annual event in Stockholm, Sweden, on Saturday night with her performance of ‘1944,’ a somber but controversial song that evoked Moscow’s deportation of members of her Crimean ethnic group during World War II,” notes the report.
“The triumphant singer returned to Ukraine Sunday — the same day that the country commemorates victims of political repression, including the Soviet repression of Crimean Tatars,” it continues.
The singer’s full name is Susana Jamaladynova.
In February, she reportedly told Ukraine Today (UT) her song “was inspired by a story her great-grandmother told her about the deportation of her family and others in Crimea at the orders of Josef Stalin.”
“I would prefer that all these terrible things did not happen to my great-grandmother, and I would even prefer if this song did not exist,” the competitor told reporters after the competition, as tears welled up in her eyes.
During World War II, the Tatars were accused by Stalin of working with the Germans.
Ukraine celebrated its first Eurovision win since 2004, with tributes from public figures.
“Yes!” tweeted Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, offering thanks on behalf of his country for “an incredible performance and victory!”
Jamala is expected to receive the People’s Artist of Ukraine — the highest award for an “ordinary” artist, Minister of Culture Yevhen Nyshchuk announced on social media, UT reports.
“Whatever one’s attitude to this type of award, I think it is a small compliment from the state, symbolic and pleasant acknowledgment,” Nyshchuk reportedly said.
The news outlet 5 Kanal dubbed the day after the win a “historic” morning for Ukraine, adding, “Eurovision is ours again, thanks to Jamala.”
Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, identified as Ukraine’s biggest rock star and a former politician, combined his birthday celebrations with Jamala’s win, calling it “the best birthday present I could imagine.”
“The victory is ours! Thank you, Europe! This is fair! It’s impressive!” singer Ruslana, who won the contest competition in 2004, posted on Facebook.
She added, ”Jamala you did your best and even more! We all are thankful to you for the victory!”