Georgia's Eurovision entry exits over lyric

Political messages not allowed in contest

MOSCOW -- Georgia's entry to the Eurovision Song Contest, which is scheduled to take place in Moscow on May 12-16, has pulled out in the midst of a controversy over the lyrics of the selected song.

On Wednesday, the Georgian Public Broadcaster, which is in charge of selecting the country's entry, announced that Stephane & 3G would not change the controversial title line in the song "We Don't Wanna Put In," as suggested by the European Broadcasting Union, the contest's organizer.

Earlier this week, the EBU warned Georgia that the song, which many saw as an intended pun on the last name of Russia's prime minister Vladimir Putin, should not be performed at the contest, citing a clause in the rules stipulating that song lyrics should not contain political messages.

Levan Kubaneishvili, head of the Georgian Public Broadcaster, said in a letter to Eurovision executive director Svante Stockselius that his company "disagrees with [EBU's] decision and considers it groundless," the Russian wire service RIA Novosti reported.

Georgian authorities speculated that EBU's ruling could have been prompted by pressure from Moscow but provided no evidence. "I am sure that the Eurovision heads experienced unprecedented pressure on the part of Russia," Georgia's culture minister Nikoloz Rurua said.