Hromadske Investigates Eurovision Management Debacle
6 March, 2017

What You Need To Know:

✅ Ukraine gained the chance to host the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 after winning the competition last year with the politically-charged song ‘1944’ by Jamala;
✅ The Grand Final will take place in Kyiv on 13th May. 43 countries will be taking part;
✅ On February 15th, 21 leading members of staff from the Ukrainian Eurovision team quit;
✅ Approximately 18,000 tickets have been sold so far;
✅ The slogan for this year’s event is ‘Celebrate Diversity’;


Volodymyr Solohub, a journalist from Hromadske, recently investigated the mass walk-out of Eurovision 2017 staff members.

‘There was the story about those who were leaving the team, they said that the new management were not being transparent, the budget and the costs being allocated were not being done so on a competitive basis, there was no tender process, and overall, the documentation and other paper-work were not transparent,‘ he said.

The new management were not being transparent, the budget and the costs being allocated were not being done so on a competitive basis, there was no tender process, and overall, the documentation and other paper-work were not transparent,’ he stated.

There is also speculation surrounding the budget for this year’s contest. Solohub stated, that the initial budget ‘was supposed to be almost 24 million US dollars. Out of this 24 million, 17 were allocated by the state, and 7 million was supposed to come as income from ticket sales, from souvenir sales, and other stuff. When the new team arrived, they increased the 24 million-budget by an additional 7 million.’

Kirill Voronin, Head of Events at Eurovision Ukraine also came to the studio to clarify some of the other controversies surrounding the preparations for the event. He responded to the claim that fans have been disappointed recently after being unable to purchase, or even afford tickets: ‘To speak frankly, I think that everyone that wants to get into the arena should be able to afford the tickets that they will be on sale in the near future’.

Maxim Eristavi: We decided to set the record straight and invite Kirill Voronin the ‘Head of Events’ from Eurovision in Ukraine to our studio. Welcome. I hope you will clarify some of those controversies for us. Because we have a number of very controversial things to clarify.

Nina Jankowicz: We are wondering if you could walk us through the preparation. What has been done, what is there left to do, what is the state of play?

Kirill Voronin: We are at the stage of launching the tenure procedure, preparing the technical requirements for each tenure for my area of responsibility, its delegations, volunteers, opening the ceremony with the red carpet and catering.

Nina Jankowicz: There have been a lot of complaints. When tickets sales first opened up, a lot of people were trying to buy them. We are all aware Eurovision is a big event. But, there have been a lot of people complaining that they can not get their tickets, people that are having payments go through and not receiving them or vice versa. And now there doesn't seem to be many tickets left at prices that many people can afford. Can you give us an idea of what to further expect from ticket sales?

Kirilll Voronin: Up until now, I know that the quantity of tickets sold is around 18,000, and as I know, the official ticket operator separated tickets into batches and they are selling them step by step. To speak frankly, I think that everyone that wants to get into the arena should be able to afford the tickets that will be on sale in the near future.

Nina Jankowicz: So there will be more tickets in the near future?

Kirill Voronin: Yes, of course.

Maxim Eristavi: It's not surprising that the tickets were sold out, but, you can now buy tickets for 2 to 3 hundred Euros, compared to the regional price of of 600 Euros. Would you consider it as a huge problem for organisers, as a lot of people are upset with the way the ticket sales were handled?

Kirill Voronin: As I know, put the block on tickets at 4 tickets per transaction. So I don't think that it is a problem, I hope that everyone that wants to buy, will buy. There is no law which prohibits a person to buy tickets for themselves and then sell them to friends.

Nina Jankowicz: But you do recommend that concertgoers only buy tickets from ?

Kirill Voronin: Yes of course, it’s the official ticket sales office, so yes. The best way to get into the arena is to buy from the official partner.

Nina Jankowicz: The concert hosts announced, that, “for the first time in history of the contest, there will be 3 male hosts.” The motto for this years Eurovision is "celebrate diversity" how in your opinion did 3 male hosts encapsulate that moto?

Kirill Voronin: I think we will add some females for the red carpet ceremony and the official opening ceremony, so I think we shall make this gender balance on this contest.

Maxim Eristavi: I have a question about the budget. It is an important thing about the change of team management which happened very abruptly, making a lot of people concerned. How did that affect the preparation of the show, and who was responsible for letting all those people go?

Kirill Voronin: About the budget, the budget from the state was 455.7m UAH and from the city administration was 200m UAH. The budget has not changed. We are still working with this budget. Regarding your question about why the team resigned. As yet, I have not had time to investigate this. I really don’t want to do this, because my team is working for 18 hrs per day trying to get everything sorted, and their perseverance has not changed on the overall time schedule. Yes it is tough to react to everything that pops up, we are trying to lower the costs on the overall budget.

Maxim Eristavi: There are a lot of complaints that there is no official twitter account, and the fact that the communication in English is not sufficient. There is no official spokesperson who can answer even to reporters. Why is there is no progress on that front?

Kirill Voronin: Actually, all the communication from my team is at a high level. We are trying to respond to every request that we receive. But, I cannot answer about the overall communication because it is not my area of responsibility. We are really focused on our events department.

Maxim Eristavi: What is happening? Why don’t we have a straight line of communication?

Kirill Voronin: At the moment we do have a straight line of communication with the events department. I do have a facebook account and a mail account, so I can answer all the questions I can through that.

Maxim Eristavi: I am going to end with a question about security. Eurovision is not only about music and entertainment, it's also very important for the LGBT community. There are a lot of gay people who are traveling to Ukraine. They have reasonable concerns about the situation with regards to the security situation. Kyiv is not famous for being one of the safest cities for gay people in Europe. So what does your team do, are there any special ties to the law enforcement in Ukraine?

Kirill Voronin: I would like to mention that Kyiv has a concept called "safe and nice" and Kyiv city administration along with my team are following this concept. We are preparing the city as well as the official zones. They will be safe for everyone that visit this country for the contest. It’s not only about the contest, I think it is the overall policy of Kyiv. Eurovision shall be held in Kyiv and this city is "safe and nice". 

Maxim Eristavi: The city wants to be “safe and nice” but it is not “safe and nice” now, especially for gay people. Is there a clear plan for safety within the city?

Kirill Voronin: We are working on it. Safety is the first issue and that is our main focus. But it will be safe for everyone. I don’t know about the unfriendliness towards people with other orientations.