No sooner had the Kalush Orchestra won the Eurovision Song Contest than pro-Russian activists ascribed Nazi sympathies to the Ukrainian band. But what about the alleged evidence?

After their record win at the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC), pro-Russian activists accused the Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra of being close to fascism.

On Sunday evening, rapper Oleh Psjuk 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 cut.

Claim: Psjuk showed the Hitler salute.

Rating: Nothing suggests that. The singer cheered towards the audience.

Facts: With often completely 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.

Currently in focus: The band Kalush Orchestra, which 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, Psyuk demanded, especially with regard to the defenders of the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol: “Please help Ukraine, Mariupol, help Azovstal now!”

The unsubstantiated accusation of showing 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, Psjuk 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.

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 Psyuk of promoting fascists by calling for support for the Azovstal fighters. According to inaccurate estimates, around 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers are staying in the sprawling plant. Many of them are wounded. The majority of them belong to the “Azov” regiment, which classifies Russia as nationalist and right-wing extremist.