During a live broadcast of the Eurovision 2016 semi-final, an anchor of the Russia 1 TV channel made an absurd interpretation of Jamala’s 1944 song, calling it ‘a prayer for people who either voluntarily or involuntarily leave their home in search of a better life ".

“The song is to be perceived as a yet another prayer for people who either voluntarily or involuntarily leave their home in search of a better life. This is a problem people faced in the 20th century and one that is yet to be resolved in the 21st century,” the Russian anchor said commenting on the song.

The video and comments to it are available here.

According to Jamala, 1944 was a year that changed her family’s life dramatically. The identically named song is based on the stories Jamala’s great-grandmother, a survivor of the deportation, told her when she was a young girl.

On May 18, 1944, the Soviet government forcibly deported Crimean Tatars from Crimea after accusing them of collaboration with the Nazis. Some 238, 000 Crimean Tatars were deported, 46% of whom, mostly elderly people, women and children, died in special settlements in the first years of deportation.

In 2015, the Ukrainian Parliament recognized the deportation and genocide of the Crimean Tatar people, making May 18 the Day of Commemoration of the Victims of Genocide of the Crimean Tatar people.

On May 18, 2016, a number of events commemorating the 72th anniversary of the deportation of the Crimean Tatar people, including mass rallies, topical lessons at schools and activists’ initiatives, will be held in Kyiv and throughout Ukraine.

According to Ukraine’s Culture Minister Yevhen Nyshchuk, Crimean Tatars have come real close to re-living the 1944 genocide, given what is going on the peninsula today. Nyschuk believes that the subject of Crimean Tatars’ deportation sounds particularly painful now that Crimea is occupied by Russia and the Mejlis is banned by the so-called ‘Crimea’s authorities’.