Saturday, August 15, 2009

Eurovision not quite such knockabout fun in Azerbaijan

You've got to hand it to the Azerbaijan government - their telephone voting scandals put Ant and Dec cramming ill-gotten gains into ITV's pockets in the shade. Turns out voting for Armenia didn't just cost 25p plus your standard network rate. There was another price to pay:

Rovshan Nasirli, a young Eurovision fan living in the Azerbaijani capital Baku, says he was summoned this week to the country’s National Security Ministry — to explain why he had voted for Armenia during this year’s competition in May.

“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.”

It appears that Armenians who voted in the opposite direction - of whom there were substantially more - didn't get strong-armed.

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