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Eurovision Singer in Racism Storm

The singer who will perform for Russia in Eurovision, Anastasia Prikhodko, ran into a media storm on Thursday after a video published on the Internet appeared to show her making racist comments.

Prikhodko won the right to represent Russia last Saturday, submitting a song that has a chorus in Ukrainian. She originally applied to represent Ukraine at Eurovision.

The video shows Prikhodko bickering with a fellow contestant on Channel One's talent show "Star Factory," which she won in 2007. "I don't like black people, Chinese people," she says. Asked why she was performing on a show whose producer, Konstantin Meladze, is an ethnic Georgian, she says, "A Georgian isn't racism, my dear, they are white, and those people are black."

Another "Star Factory" contestant, Kornelia Mango, who is mixed race, said in an interview published Thursday in Komsomolskaya Pravda that Prikhodko "often" made racist remarks.

Prikhodko denied that she espouses racist or ultranationalist views. "I was shocked by what I read on the Internet and in newspapers about myself and my brother," she said in a statement carried by Interfax.

A photograph circulating on the Internet this week appears to show Prikhodko's brother, Nazar, wearing a red armband in a nationalist march. A caption says he is a member of the Ukrainian ultra-right organization Una-Unso. Nazar Prikhodko told RIA-Novosti that he had never been a member of the organization.

Anastasia Prikhodko conceded in the statement that she had made a "very nasty, incorrect remark" to Mango, which was not in the video, but said she instantly regretted it. "There was no racism in my head, only emotions that I didn't control."

She added that her best friend is Jewish and her grandfather was a Soviet soldier who liberated Berlin in World War II.

Meladze, who is Prikhodko's producer, said the notion that Prikhodko is a racist was "complete nonsense."

"The scandals around her are being blown up by people who are unhappy with Nastya's victory in the Russian final of Eurovision. They are trying to besmirch her name," Meladze told Interfax.

A spokeswoman for Meladze said he wouldn't make a further comment.

The Prikhodko story was featured on the front page of Komsomolskaya Pravda and Moskovsky Komsomolets tabloids on Thursday.

The controversy even reached the State Duma. Igor Lebedev, head of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party's Duma faction, told a session that Prikhodko is "known for her far-right nationalist views" and called for fellow deputies to intervene. The motion was rejected.

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