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The Voices of Ukrainian Eurovision Fans Written by on May 13, 2023

On the day of the Grand Final of the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest we tell stories of Eurovision fans who are members of OGAE Ukraine who are not able to be here with us in Liverpool this year, to tell a little about life as a Eurovision fan in Ukraine today. Collated by Ben Robertson

Vlad, 29

My name is Vlad, I am from Poltava. I am 29, and for 20 years now I have been watching the Eurovision Song Contest each year.

Last year’s Eurovision season was pretty emotional for me: despite the war, our OGAE Ukraine team gathered even stronger, and we managed to create these glimpses of hope and joy amidst the terror and anxiety of all Ukrainians. Eurovision brought us nearly everything we lacked at that moment: new friends, jokes, emotions, and of course, music. Songs that soothed, brought joy and happiness, moved to tears, and empowered.

The Last Eurovision final I partly watched from my smartphone, sitting in a shelter during an air raid siren and listening to my window glass cracking from a massive explosion nearby.

This time I hope to have a better atmosphere around. Firstly, we experienced a huge Vidbir selection that featured over 250 participants in the long list, including our OGAE Ukraine members. It was held in an underground station and felt better soundwise than several national selections on a traditional stage. I spent that evening watching a live stream on national TV and watching my friends sharing video messages directly from the venue. I felt like being there for a moment.

Now I am anxiously waiting for the final. I have been accredited as a fan media observer, so this will be the perfect opportunity to share my thoughts and emotions with our OGAE Ukraine subscribers. I have already prepared a bottle of nice red wine to enjoy during the final while sharing my emotions via our OGAE chat. Hope that nothing will shake this perfect picture and that one day, after Ukraine’s victory, I will have an opportunity to visit a final in person.

Yevhen, 28

Hi. My name is Yevhen (a lot of European people know me as Eugene), I’m 28 years old, and, maybe, I’m one of the oldest fans of the Eurovision Song Contest in Ukraine.

I found the OGAE Ukraine team quite unexpectedly because almost all the fan years I’ve written and shared my thoughts about the new Eurovision season only among my friends and buddies. By the way, this acquaintance gave me a chance to watch the first national selection Vidbir live in Kyiv. Where the Russian-Ukrainian full-scale war caught me…

December 2022 wasn’t good for any of us. I had problems with my job due to major problems with the energy sector as a result of the bombing of the energy infrastructure by Russian troops. The result of one of the bombings could have been very deplorable for me and my girlfriend — one of the drones that were launched by the Russian army blew up in front of our home. A lot of drone fragments were scattered in our garden and in the neighbor’s house. We were very close to death.

The next week we moved on to the subway station in Kyiv to see our friends from OGAE and to see the Vidbir.

And if we had a chance to live one more happy day, this day was it. No Christmas or New Year’s Eve when we hear a lot of explosions from drones, not even my 28th Birthday Day, that I didn’t want and didn’t have a chance to celebrate, but this day was a day that I will never forget.

I know this Final will be exciting and I really do hope everything to see if we will can have the great OGAE Eurovision party before watching the Saturday final and enjoying this event from Liverpool.

To live one great day again.

Dima, 26

Hello! My name is Dima, I am from Kyiv and I am 26 years old. I have been a Eurovision fan for 15 years. Since 2009, I haven’t missed a single contest and I always watch it with Timur Miroshnichenko commentary. By the way, for the last four years I wrote for him a description of all the participants from the countries. In 2017 I also was lucky enough to be an arena volunteer and see all the shows live, as well as sit as an ‘statist’ person in the green room.

Unfortunately, I never managed to attend the national selections of Ukraine, but I always watched them live. This year, due to shelling, we had problems in the energy sector, so I had to watch our national selection Vidbir from a laptop sitting in the lobby of the cinema in the mall. But at least I saw it without air raid alarms. Our people were able to create unreal show at a depth of more than 60 meters in the subway.

I really hope to gather our OGAE Ukraine club to watch the final together.. If there is also a pool that would be great, then I would watch the show right from there lying on a big inflatable unicorn .It’s always fun to share the excitement of Eurovision with fellow fans and create special memories.

I hope we will have a fantastic time watching Eurovision this year and enjoy the performances from all the participating countries. Let’s hope for an unforgettable show!

Thank you to Dima, Yevhan and Vlad for sharing their stories. We hope you and all of Ukraine get the chance to enjoy this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. 

About The Author: Ben Robertson

Ben Robertson has attended 23 National Finals in the world of Eurovision. With that experience behind him he writes for ESC Insight with his analysis and opinions about anything and everything Eurovision Song Contest that is worth telling.

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