Russian Eurovision star sanctioned by EU

Polina Gagarina at the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, where she came second with the song A Million Voices
Polina Gagarina at the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, where she came second with the song A Million Voices - Rolf Klatt/REX Shutterstock

The EU has placed sanctions on a former Eurovision Song Contest star after she performed at a concert celebrating Moscow’s illegal war in Ukraine.

Polina Gagarina, 37, was among 69 individuals added to the sanctions list, which is due to be approved on Monday by EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

It would bring the total number of people subject to travel bans and asset freezes since Russia invaded Ukraine to 2,200.

Gagarina performed at a major rally at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium to mark the eighth anniversary of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and to support the war in Ukraine on March 18 2022.

It followed her success at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2015, which was held in Vienna. Russia has since been banned from competing for starting the war.

Russia to hold Intervision contest

Her song, an anthem to peace called A Million Voices, scored 303 points, the first time a second-placed finish had exceeded 300 points.

Russia has resurrected the Soviet-era Intervision Song Contest to replace Eurovision.

It will be held next year in Moscow with contestants from Belarus, Azerbaijan, China, Cuba, Kazakhstan and Brazil.

The EU Observer website first reported that the social media influencer and model was on the sanctions list for backing Putin, which The Telegraph has confirmed with sources in Brussels.

Gagarina was already banned from Estonia and Latvia, for “expressing active support for the long-running aggression of the Russian authorities against Ukraine”.

Canada sanctioned Gagarina, a coach on the Russian version of reality singing show The Voice, for disseminating Russian disinformation and propaganda in February last year. And after her performance at the Luzhniki Stadium, her concerts planned in Kazakhstan later that year were cancelled over her support for Putin’s war.

Gagarina was the 10th highest Russian earner on Instagram and YouTube in 2021, the year before Putin’s invasion, making about £4.8 million from 8.9 million subscribers.

Russia banned Instagram and Facebook as part of a crackdown on western social media after the war began but she remains a chart-topping star in the pariah state.

The 14th package of EU sanctions against Russia also includes the first restrictions on Russian gas.

It bans re-exports of Russian liquefied natural gas in EU waters but stops short of banning imports as the bloc did in 2022 for Russian seaborne oil.