Ukrainian Eurovision winner learned of Russian ‘wanted’ listing while in Australia

Key Points
  • Russia’s internal affairs ministry has put Ukrainian singer Jamala on its wanted list.
  • The charges might be related to a Russian law that bans the spreading of ‘fake information’ about its military.
  • The singer heard the news while travelling in Australia.
Russia’s internal affairs ministry has put Ukrainian singer Jamala on its wanted list, Russian state news agencies reported this week.
“Jamaladinova Susana Alimovna is wanted under an article of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation,” the Ministry of Internal Affairs database says, without indication of the exact charges.
The singer heard the news about her placement on the wanted list while travelling in Australia.

“Imagine waking up and seeing this on the world news,” she wrote in a post to her Instagram stories on Tuesday, accompanied by a picture of her posing in front of the Sydney Opera House.

A woman posing in front of Opera House

Jamala posted this photo of her at the Sydney Opera House on her Instagram on Tuesday. Credit: Instagram: jamalajaaa

The Russian news agency TASS reports that the charges may be related to the case of spreading so-called ‘fakes’ about the Russian army. 

and the ongoing fighting in Ukraine was adopted last year.

According to Russia’s Judicial Department of the Supreme Court, in the first six months of 2023, 21 people were convicted for so-called fake news about the army, and eight of them were sentenced to imprisonment.

From Eurovision winner to refugee

In 2016, Jamala (whose real name is Susana Jamaladinova), representing Ukraine, of the Crimean Tatars.

While the song itself didn’t contain any specific criticism of Russia or the Russian government of the day, Jamala’s performance came almost two years after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and amid the growing tensions between the two countries.

After the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Jamala, like many Ukrainians, flew to Turkey with two children, leaving her husband behind to fight.
On her social media, she shared their terrifying journey to safety, saying that “a bomb and rockets were landing right in front of them”.

During last year’s Eurovision, Jamala performed 1944 again in the preliminary round. She has been involved in numerous activities promoting Ukrainian unity and openly criticising Russia’s occupation.