Ukraine’s Jamala was declared the winner of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest early Sunday for a melancholic tune that recalled the 1944 deportation of Crimean Tatars by Soviet authorities.
Susana Jamaladinova, who uses the stage name Jamala, received the highest score for her song “1944” after votes from juries and TV viewers across Europe were tallied up following performances by the 26 finalists at Stockholm’s Globe Arena.
Her song received 534 points. Australia’s Dami Im came second with 511 points, and Russia’s Sergey Lazarev was third with 491.
Amid entries about love and desire, Jamala’s song stood out. With somber lyrics, it recalls how Crimean Tatars, including her great-grandmother, were deported to central Asia in 1944 by Josef Stalin’s regime during World War II.
“I really want peace and love to everyone,” she said, hoisting the Eurovision trophy and a Ukrainian flag.
The focus on Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, could be considered a swipe at Moscow, but Jamala insisted there was no political subtext, and contest officials agreed.