Vladimir Putin justifies the Ukraine war with a “denazification” of the country. Videos have now made the rounds online showing rapper Oleh Psjuk from the Ukrainian winning band Kalush Orchestra giving the Hitler salute. What is it?

After winning the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC), the Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra is accused of being close to fascism. On Sunday evening, rapper Oleh Psiuk is said to have displayed his right-wing attitude on the ESC stage in Turin, Italy. But the video sequences distributed with the accusation are severely edited – and turn out to be an action by pro-Russian activists.

The claim: Oleh Psiuk gave the Hitler salute .

The rating: Nothing indicates it. Rather, the singer cheered in the direction of the audience.

The facts: With often unsubstantiated Nazi allegations, the media and politicians in Russia try again and again to brand Ukraine and the West as a whole as right-wing radicals and National Socialists and thus justify Moscow’s war of aggression on the neighboring country.

So also around the ESC. In focus: The band Kalush Orchestra, who fascinated the audience in Europe with their song “Stefania” and won the Grand Prix in Turin with a sensational result. After her performance in the competition, Psiuk demanded, especially with regard to the defenders of the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol: “Please help Ukraine, Mariupol, help Azovstal now!”

ESC: scene with alleged “Hitler salute” often manipulated

The allegation of having shown the Hitler salute relates primarily to a scene after the trophy was handed over to Kalush Orchestra shortly before the end of the ESC broadcast. As the band leaves the stage, Psiuk can be seen with his right arm outstretched and his hand visibly spread. He obviously celebrates victory with the gesture.

Short clips of it are distributed on social media with the Nazi accusation – however, the excerpts are often manipulated: for some, the scene starts so late that Psjuk’s hand is only shown from the side. In others, the image detail is so reduced that the camera does not capture the spread hand.

Polish moderator also accused

The Polish ESC moderator Ida Nowakowska is also accused of right-wing radical ideas. When she announced the twelve points from her country for “Stefania”, she is said to have shown the Hitler salute. For a brief moment you can see that she apparently forms her fingers into a peace sign. After that, the hand is no longer captured by the camera.

Pro-Russian activists also accuse Psiuk of promoting fascists by calling for support for the Azowstal fighters. According to inaccurate estimates, around 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers were last in the extensive plant. It was announced on Monday that a good 260 of them had left the steel mill. The majority of the Azovstal defenders belong to the “Azov” regiment, which is considered ultra-nationalist and is quite controversial because of the right-wing extremist positions of its leaders, some of which were openly expressed in the past. Since integration into the Ukrainian National Guard, these currents are said to have been overcome.

Russia is using these circumstances to accuse the Ukrainian population of being National Socialist in general and to legitimize its war.