Russia Banned From Eurovision 2022 For Ukraine Invasion

Organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest reversed course on Friday, announcing that Russia would no longer be permitted to perform in this year’s event.

“The decision reflects concern that, in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian entry in this year’s Contest would bring the competition into disrepute,” the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said in a statement.

The decision to punish Russia culturally for invading Ukraine comes a day after the same group had said Moscow would be allowed to send an act to appear at the next Eurovision, scheduled to be held in Turin, Italy, in May.

Ukraine’s public broadcasting company had asked for Russia to be suspended from the popular contest, which is watched by almost 200 million people each year.

But the EBU, which has organized the contest since 1956, had maintained that Eurovision was “a non-political cultural event.”

In response, a number of other European countries had indicated they would not participate in this year’s event unless Russia was banned.

Russia was yet to formally announce an act for this year’s competition. Since the attack on Ukraine, thousands of Russians have braved the risk of being arrested to protest against their government’s deadly invasion.

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Roman Abramovich Invested $1.3 Billion With US Firms

One of the companies in the network, Netherfield, was involved in a complex offshore transaction that raised $50 million for a company controlled by Igor Shuvalov, one of Putin’s key advisers. The deal was reported in Barrons in 2011. The story did not name Abramovich as the owner of Netherfield, but the State Street investigators ultimately found that it belonged to him. In the months after the story ran, Netherfield was closed down, and its investments were moved to a newly formed company in the British Virgin Islands, the State Street investigators found.

Cash used for the network’s investments came from accounts at a small commercial bank in Austria called Kathrein. But when some investor accounts were set up, Kathrein did not name Abramovich as the ultimate owner of the money on any documentation. Kathrein did not comment on this story, citing Austrian bank secrecy laws.

A firm called Concord Management appeared to have been set up to oversee the investments. Yet State Street had trouble finding basic details about Concord — including whether it even existed.

Investigators were “unable to identify or verify the existence of CONCORD and the entity has a non-functional website,” they wrote in one suspicious activity report. “Several of the individuals named as contacts have a limited internet presence.”

“Additionally, the address provided for CONCORD … is a commercial office park.”

In a statement sent to BuzzFeed News, a spokesperson for Concord Management said the company “provides independent third party research, diligence and monitoring of

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Mikhail Gorbachev, Who Ended The Cold War, Has Died

Mikhail Gorbachev, whose drive to transform the Soviet Union ended the Cold War but inadvertently helped bring about his own country’s collapse, has died, according to Russian news agencies. He was 91. The Tass, RIA Novosti, and Interfax agencies cited the Central Clinical Hospital, according to the Associated Press.

Gorbachev’s reign as the last Soviet premiere from 1985 until 1991 was marked indelibly by two bywords: perestroika — literally “restructuring,” but implying reform — and glasnost, or “openness,” symbols of his intent to shake off the torpor caused by seven decades of authoritarian rule and steady central planning. Hoping to return the Communist Party to its roots in Vladimir Lenin’s October Revolution of 1917, Gorbachev opened up the Soviet political system to broader political participation, public scrutiny, and a re-examination of Josef Stalin’s legacy of mass imprisonment and murder, prompting years of national soul-searching.

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