How is Ukraine to pay for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest? That question led to the General Director of the Ukrainian broadcaster NTU, Zurab Alasania, resignation today. He leaves his position just six months before they are to host the contest.
Earlier today, the full resignation letter of Zurab Alasania, The Director General of the National Television Company of Ukraine was posted on mediaport.ua.
In his letter he openly blasted the government, saying “Are you serious?” over the budget provided to the broadcaster. He explained that the cost of the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 has been taken from the broadcasters regular budget. This will leave very little money to fund the broadcaster for the rest of the year.
Alasania stated that submitting his resignation wasn’t an act of blackmail. And that he hoped he would be able to highlight the serious budget issues the broadcaster has been facing.
Perhaps in this way I might be able to attract attention to the problems with the budget of Eurovision and the future Public Service Broadcaster’s budget.
Zurab Alasania, Leaving General Director of NTU.
The shock resignation of Alasania is in a long line of other set backs that the broadcaster has faced since Jamala brought the Eurovision trophy home to Ukraine. The first of these set backs was the many postponements for the host city to be announced.
The NTU had originally hoped for the contest to take place on the 20th May. However, they felt that this was too close to the remembrance day for the victims of the Crimean Tatar genocide which takes place on the 18th May. The dates were then rescheduled the 9th, 11th and 13th May. This has left the broadcaster will less time to prepare.
Head of Delegation favourite to replace Alasania
Despite his resignation being made public this morning, Alasania has stated that his departure from the broadcaster won’t be instant. “However, we do not give up work, the next two weeks will be spent handing over the business to the newly-appointed chief. Yes, unfortunately, the new chief will not be elected by the Supervisory Board, but still appointed by the state”.
It is expected that his deputy, Victoria Romanova who is also the Head of Delegation at Eurovision. However this is yet to be confirmed.
Update 3rd of November:
After the resignation of Zurab Alasania, things seem to be chaotic within NTU. According to Ukrainian law, Alasania will have to stay in his position as General Director for two weeks after his resignation – meaning, NTU have until the 15th of November to appoint someone else to the position.
The Minister of Culture, Levhen Nyshchuk assures that it won’t affect the Eurovision Song Contest.
With regard to the letter of resignation of Zurab Alasania – I can’t comment on his decision. However, I want to assure you that the Organizing Committee is actively pursuing its work with regard to the particular issues of preparations for the Eurovision Song Contest, and in fact, Zurab Alasania, in spite of all these factors, continues to be involved in the work of the Organizing Committee.
The Mayor of Kyiv is however fully aware of that the situation however is serious. Being without a General Director just as the most important preparations for the Eurovision Song Contest is a serious matter. In a meeting with the Cabinet of Ministers, he asked for them to look at the issue quickly.
The situation is very serious, because Ukraine is preparing for the Eurovision Song Contest next year. And most of the obligations for the preparation and organization of the contest lies with the NTU. Therefore, the National Television Company can not remain without a leader, the person in charge when every day counts. I appeal to the Cabinet of Ministers to consider this issue as soon as possible and to appoint a new head of the NTU .
Below you can see the reason why Ukraine are to host the 2017 contest – Jamala’s victory with the song 1944.
In my view
With only 6 months to go until the Eurovision Song Contest kicks off will this be too much for the broadcaster to handle?The opinion expressed in "In my view" are those of the author and are not necessarily the one of EuroVisionary.com.