Russia has added Ukrainian singer Susana Jamaladinova, widely known as Jamala and the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest winner, to its wanted list. According to the Interior Ministry’s database, she is being sought for violating a criminal law.
Jamaladinova faces charges under a law enacted last year, which prohibits the dissemination of alleged fake information regarding the Russian military and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The law has been a subject of controversy, especially in cases involving individuals expressing dissenting views.
Jamala, of Crimean Tatar descent, gained international acclaim with her Eurovision-winning song “1944,” a poignant reference to the year when the Soviet Union forcibly deported Crimean Tatars. Despite Russia’s objections and claims of political bias in Eurovision rules, the song made no direct criticism of Russia or the Soviet Union.
The singer, who recently performed at the Kennedy Center Honors, has been an outspoken advocate for her homeland, Crimea. In a BBC interview earlier this year, she explained that her latest folk album, “Qirim,” aimed to give a strong voice to Crimea, countering years of what she referred to as propaganda attempting to silence her people.
This incident follows a concerning trend in Russia, where artist and musician Sasha Skochilenko received a seven-year prison sentence for an unconventional form of protest. Skochilenko, arrested in April 2022 in St. Petersburg, faced charges related to spreading false information about the military after swapping supermarket price tags with antiwar messages.
These cases raise questions about the limits on freedom of expression in Russia and the government’s response to dissenting voices. As international attention turns to these developments, concerns about artistic freedom and the right to express dissent are gaining prominence.