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Last Updated: Monday, 2 April 2007, 05:52 GMT 06:52 UK
Eurovision act angers Ukrainians
By Helen Fawkes
BBC News, Kiev, Ukraine

Ukraine's Eurovision entry Verka Serdyuchka
Verka Serdyuchka is popular across the former Soviet Union
Angry Ukrainian nationalists have held protests against the selection of a controversial drag queen to represent Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest.

The demonstrations are part of a campaign to pressure the former Soviet republic to withdraw from the contest.

Verka Serdyuchka, who pokes fun at middle-aged women, is loved by many people and is a cult icon in Ukraine.

She was chosen as Ukraine's entry by an overwhelming majority in a public vote, but some find her vulgar and offensive.

Many opponents are outraged at her selection to represent Ukraine.


Ukrainian nationalists held demonstrations across the country on Sunday.

They put on theatrical shows and collected signatures for a petition.

They claim that Serdyuchka is a grotesque stereotype of a stupid Ukrainian villager.

The protesters want the country to pull out of the Eurovision Song Contest this year.

They say that the drag act will damage Ukraine's international reputation when Verka Serdyuchka takes part in the competition next month.

But they are unlikely to get their way.

Many believe this drag queen has a real chance of winning.

Serdyuchka is one of the most popular entertainers, not just in Ukraine, but also in many parts of the former Soviet Union.

Clips of Ukraine's Eurovision entry

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