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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 May, 2004, 11:37 GMT 12:37 UK
Eurovision star to advise Ukraine PM
By Helen Fawkes
BBC, Ukraine

For Ruslana, winning the Eurovision Song Contest may have been the easy bit.

Now the Ukrainian star has to help organise the 2005 competition in Kiev.

Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma (left) and Ruslana Lyzhychko
Ruslana was named Singer of the People by President Kuchma
Ruslana has been made a Eurovision adviser to the Prime Minister, Viktor Yanukovych, but she has told the BBC there is nowhere in the capital to host the event.

Ruslana would like a brand new concert hall put up especially for Eurovision.

"In Kiev, we have no venues which are suitable for hosting the competition," she said.

"I think that a new venue should be built and I think that everyone here is coming to the same conclusion."

Many of the potential venues in the capital are either too small or were built during the Soviet era and need major modernisation work.

Costs

Since Ruslana won the Eurovision Song Contest in Turkey, there has been lots of speculation in the Ukrainian media about possible locations.

Some of the wilder suggestions include Kiev's Wedding Palace - the central registry office - and an open-air concert in the middle of the city centre in Independence Square.

We should build it on the edge of the city, close to the river, where there is enough land for all the facilities
Ruslana
Despite all the challenges, Ruslana says she is happy to be the PM's Eurovision adviser.

"In Istanbul, I wore a t-shirt which said if you come to Ukraine, I will do all I can to make sure you have a good time. I now have to keep my promise."

But the honour of hosting the event comes as at a price.

When Estonia hosted the event in 2002, the country ploughed its entire tourism budget of 21.4m euros (14.3m; $26m) into staging the contest.

Ukraine is one of the poorest countries in Europe, so it will be a struggle to foot the bill. If it does decide to build a new venue, the cost could go through the roof.

Kiev at night
Ruslana does not think Kiev city centre is suitable
It will also be a race against time to finish what would be a massive construction project by May 2005.

There is added pressure to get it right, as next year will be the 50th anniversary of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Ruslana, who's been named as a "Singer of the People" by the Ukrainian President, Leonid Kuchma, has already got her eye on a possible location.

"The city centre of Kiev is not very suitable to build a new venue, so instead we should build it on the edge of the city, close to the river, where there is enough land for all the facilities," she said.

If Ukraine's platinum selling singer gets her way, next year's contestants may well be advised to bring a wetsuit with them.

"Maybe we could even use boats or water skis to get people to the riverside venue!" Ruslana jokingly added.




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