The European Broadcasting Union has said the country’s involvement in this year’s contest “would bring the competition into disrepute”.
The body said the decision was made “following a recommendation earlier today by the Eurovision Song Contest’s governing body, the Reference Group, based on the rules of the event and the values of the EBU”.
Finland and Estonia said they both would withdraw from the competition if Russia remained part of it, while broadcasters for Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and The Netherlands all spoke out in solidarity with Ukraine.
Ukrainian state broadcaster UA:PBC also called on the EBU to suspend Russia’s membership and ban it from the 2022 contest.
In a statement, the EBU said of the U-turn: “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. Before making this decision the EBU took time to consult widely among its membership.
“The EBU is an apolitical member organisation of broadcasters committed to upholding the values of public service.
“We remain dedicated to protecting the values of a cultural competition which promotes international exchange and understanding, brings audiences together, celebrates diversity through music and unites Europe on one stage.”
Russia had not yet announced its act for 2022. It last won in 2008 with Dima Bilan singing Believe, and in turn hosted the 2009 contest in Moscow.
This year’s competition will take place in Turin, following Italian rock group Måneskin’s victory in 2021.