Don’t take your Eurovision vote lightly in Azerbaijan

RFE/RL reports that an Azerbaijani music fan was questioned by his country’s National Security Ministry after voting for rival Armenia’s entry in this year’s Eurovision song contest: "They wanted an explanation for why I voted for Armenia. They said it was a matter of national security,” Nasirli said. “They were trying to put psychological pressure ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.

RFE/RL reports that an Azerbaijani music fan was questioned by his country's National Security Ministry after voting for rival Armenia's entry in this year's Eurovision song contest:

RFE/RL reports that an Azerbaijani music fan was questioned by his country’s National Security Ministry after voting for rival Armenia’s entry in this year’s Eurovision song contest:

"They wanted an explanation for why I voted for Armenia. They said it was a matter of national security,” Nasirli said. “They were trying to put psychological pressure on me, saying things like, ‘You have no sense of ethnic pride. How come you voted for Armenia?’ They made me write out an explanation, and then they let me go."

A total of 43 Azeris voted for the Armenian duo Inga and Anush, and their song, "Jan-Jan."

Nasirli, like others, used his mobile phone to send a text message expressing his preference, little imagining his vote would eventually result in a summons from national security officials. (By contrast, 1,065 Armenians voted for the Azerbaijani team, apparently without consequence.) 

The funny thing is, Nasirli’s motives were actually patriotic:

Nasirli said he preferred the Armenian entry because it sounded "more Azeri" than his country’s own submission, a duet featuring Arash, a pop superstar born in Iran and based in Sweden:

"I voted for Armenia to protest the fact that Arash was representing Azerbaijan. Also, the Armenian song was closer to Azerbaijani style than Arash’s song,” Nasirli said. 

Here are the two entries so you can judge for yourself.

(Hat tip: Douglas Muir of A Fistful of Euros)

 

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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