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Russia puts Ukrainian singer Jamala on wanted list

by Elsa Court November 20, 2023 10:00 PM 2 min read
Ukrainian Crimean Tatar singer Jamala shows off her trophy at a press conference after winning the Eurovision Song Contest final at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, on May 15, 2016. (Maja Suslin/TT/AFP via Getty Images)
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The Russian Internal Affairs Ministry put Ukrainian singer Jamala, who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016, on a federal wanted list, Russian media outlets reported on Nov. 20.

Jamala was put on the wanted list in mid-October and arrested in absentia by a Russian court earlier in November, according to independent Russian media outlet Mediazona.

It is not clear why she is wanted by the Russian authorities.

The singer was born Susana Jamaladinova to Crimean Tatar family in Kyrgyzstan in 1983.

Her family, like that of Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov, was deported to Central Asia in 1944 by the Soviet authorities on the false accusation that all Crimean Tatars had collaborated with the Nazis.

Up to 200,000 Crimean Tatars – mostly women, children, and the elderly – were deported to Central Asia and Siberia, while Crimean Tatar men who were fighting for the Red Army at the time were sent to labor camps.

In the 1980s, Jamala and her family returned to Crimea and she went on to study in Kyiv.

Her most recent album is sung in Crimean Tatar, a Turkic language that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) classifies as “endangered."

She won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016 with a song about the 1944 deportation of her family, singing the chorus in Crimean Tatar.

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