Ukraine picks drag queen for Eurovision – upsets Russians

serduchka-eurovision.jpgUkraine, 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.

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8 Responses

  1. Blair Sheridan says:

    I rush breathlessly to tell you that Verka interests not only Ukrainians and Russians, but even U.S.-based academics!

    The 2007 Annual Soyuz Symposium, to be held April 27-29 at Princeton, features a paper by Joseph Crescente of Indiana University, entitled, “Performing Post-Sovietness: Verka Serdiuchka and the Hybridization of Post-Soviet Identity in Ukraine.” No kidding.

    Rumours that Dmitrii Likhachev was working on ax expose of the Flowerpot Men when he died have yet to be substantiated.

  2. Lyndon says:

    Ah, Eurovision…

    Although I haven’t heard this particular Serdiuchka hit, assuming the “Russia goodbye” referenced is a translation of “Rossiia proshchai,” it’s not an unprecedented refrain in pop music. I seem to recall a pop song from the ’90’s going something like “American boy [that part was in English], uedu s toboi…Rossiia proshchai!”

    I guess if one wanted to chart the changing tastes of Russian women (no doubt an important part of the electorate), later developments like the song “Someone like Putin” (“Takogo kak Putin”) would provide ample fodder, perhaps even enough for an Ivy League conference paper.

  3. someone says:

    I dont like Eurovision.

    I like transsexuals/transvestites etc.

    I dont like gay pride.

    I dont like the above in music festivals.

  4. Michael Averko says:

    Srpska! Srpska! Srpska!

    CCCC

  5. Michael Averko says:

    Regarding another weekend international gathering in northeastern Europe:

    http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/story/2007/05/12/world-semifinals.html

    Bleep those pesky Finns! Said with admiration.

  6. Alita says:

    Yes-sssssss!

  7. Jim_in_Kyiv says:

    Nope – ‘Russia good-bye’ was in English, and I think Serduchka slipped at least one in during the final.

    I’m not fond of transvestites, and Eurovision is sometimes a slow-motion train wreck, but ‘Russia good-bye’. Gotta love it.

    Hopefully the Serbs will recognize that their ‘only friend’ Russia gave them only 5 points. Srpska!

    One thought: Besides the Mongolian lyrics, I think that this is the first time that a cross-dressing man lost the contest to a cross-dressing woman.

  8. bonia says:

    hello , i want to explain to you the real meaning of this song .(i speak russian and i was born in Ukraine ) :
    some parts are in German : sieben -sieben …
    – why in german and not in enlish or french ?
    – because Putin speaks German …
    – why 7 ?????
    – because : eurovision was in Helsinki , G8’s congress will be soon in Helsinki , G8 – Rusiia = 7 (sieben) , “russia goodbye” …

    7 ,7 , bye ,bye ,Russia , G8 without Russia ;)))