Ukraine's Eurovision Contest "Rigged"

Society | March 9, 2005, Wednesday // 00:00

The new government of Ukraine has been accused of committing the same crime that the corrupt regime it replaced was found guilty of vote-rigging in the Eurovision Song Contest, which is to be held in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, in May.

The Independent reported that the singer Ani Lorak was widely expected to represent Ukraine but was trumped at the last minute by Greenjolly, a group whose rap track "Razom nas bahato!" (Together We Are Many!) became the anthem of the Orange Revolution that swept Viktor Yushchenko to power last December.

The band's lyrics were inspired by a speech given by Yushchenko.

Greenjolly did not take part in earlier heats, instead it was entered, along with three other groups, at the last minute at the behest of the Deputy Prime Minister, Mykola Tomenko.

The vote - by phone or text - was marred by suspicions of foul play. Many text messages were returned undelivered, phone lines were jammed and one contestant polled a suspiciously low 13 votes. Ani Lorak's supporters say she was discriminated against because of her alleged support for Viktor Yanukovych, the presidential pretender whom Yushchenko defeated.

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