Fan safety already an issue for 2009?

The 2008 contest is not yet a week old and concerns are already being aired about the saftey of fans who will attend the 2009 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest.  This fear is not alien to Eurovision fans as many were also concerned about their security while in Belgrade.

Doubts about personal safety in Serbia proved to be uneccessary as no violence against fans occurred.  This may however have been in some small part to the fact that the Serbian government allocated extra police presence for the duration of the contest to ensure no attacks took place.  Focus has now turned to the 54th contest that will be held in Russia and even before the host city has been decided upon the same fears are popping up again.

Pink News, the UK based gay news service, are reporting that many Gay Rights campaigners are worried that the "increasingly undemocratic administration in Moscow will use the event for nationalistic purposes".  Colm Howard-Lloyd, director of Pride London, told the site that he’s "not sure how comfortable it will be, next year, to get as excited about Eurovision when we know the host city beats up and detains people because of their sexuality."

Former President and current Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin has impressed upon his second in command to take all neccessary measures to host the 2009 contest "at the highest level".  It therefore seems likely that deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov will have quite a large part to play in the overseeing of the organisation of the 2009 competition.

The Pink News article also expressed concern at the route the contest was taking and that it may well be a UK-free contest in a shorter time than some may think.

Source:,, ITAR PASS
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