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Last Updated: Monday, 17 May, 2004, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
Ukraine's wary Eurovision joy
Ukrainian Eurovision song contest winners - 2004
Ukraine joy tinged with worry

The whole world loves a winner, and Ukraine's media are ardent in their praise of Ruslana, the singer who brought Ukraine victory in the Eurovision song contest on Saturday.

But there are also worries that the triumph also brings the potential headache of staging next year's event.

Ruslana's mother Nina Arkadyevna is in no mood for gloom however. She tells the Segodnya newspaper that Ruslana also captured the hearts of her competitors in Istanbul.

"Everyone here has fallen in love with Ruslana," Nina Arkadyevna gushes.

Eurovision doesn't give anyone anything. It hasn't helped any of the winners in their careers
Oleksandr Ksenofontov

"During her 10 days in Turkey, she has managed to charm everyone and make them love her - the Turks and everyone else."

"The Serbian guy simply adores her... The Greek guy was inseparable from her - it was impossible to get him away from her."

Eurovision caution

But Ruslana's producer Oleksandr Ksenofontov tells the paper that Eurovision will not necessarily bring the singer instant international success.

"Eurovision doesn't give anyone anything. It hasn't helped any of the winners in their careers."

"Celine Dion made her career thanks to her contract with a Canadian producer. Abba became stars, but they were already popular before the competition," he says.

"In general, Eurovision only helps to break down some walls. And Ruslana and I still have plenty of problems. And our sponsors let us down, as usual."

Tough test

The Segodnya daily also warns that, along with the prestige of hosting next year's Eurovision, Ukraine will face a tough test in making what will be the 50th anniversary contest a fitting occasion.

Ukraine's leaders have a new headache - how not to miss this chance to gain a foothold in Europe
One-Plus-One TV

"It is fortunate that the organising committee provides the winning country with a sizable amount of money to hold the next final... Now it is up to Ukraine to prove that it is a true European country."

State-owned UT1 television says Ukraine faces real problems in meeting this challenge.

"We do not have a proper venue to host such an event, and experts say that we will need to do a major overhaul of the Sports Palace in Kiev or to build an entirely new facility."

The One-Plus-One TV channel agrees: "Ukraine's leaders have a new headache - how not to miss this chance to gain a foothold in Europe."

'Heart of Europe'

One-Plus-One's flagship analytical programme Epicentre puts a political spin on Ruslana's triumph, saying EU Commission President Romano Prodi's recently-expressed scepticism about Ukraine's prospects of joining the European Union has been put in its place:

This is us, we are a country at the heart of Europe, we want, we can, we will

"The gloom from Romano Prodi that Europe has no room for Ukraine was smashed last night... Ruslana and her 'Wild Dances' have proven to us and to the whole world that we can get what we deserve in Europe - if only in singing, for now."

UT1 agrees: "Ruslana's victory is not as much a victory in a singing contest as a powerful statement about our state."

"It says: 'This is us, we are a country at the heart of Europe, we want, we can, we will'."

Ruslana's fellow musicians also find a political angle.

Singer Mariya Burmaka tells Novyy Kanal TV: "Ukraine has been told that it won't get into the European Union anytime soon."

"Now one person, Ruslana, has shown that Ukraine has the potential not just to be a European country, but that it is potentially one of the best."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


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