Russia Launches Song Contests as Eurovision Alternatives

Conchita Wurst Still 2014

Conchita Wurst Still 2014

Local officials were upset by the victory of bearded cross-dresser Conchita Wurst at Eurovision's most recent edition.

MOSCOW -- In the wake of this year's Eurovision win by cross-dresser Conchita Wurst, Russia's defense ministry is running a children and youth song contest, billed as "an alternative to bearded Eurovision," while another song contest, seen as having a similar mission, will take place in Sochi this fall.

The final of the defense ministry's contest is scheduled for Monday night, just two weeks after Wurst's Eurovision victory, which some officials in Russia slammed or ridiculed as "proof of Europe's moral degrading."

Among the most sarcastic critics was Dmitry Rogozin, deputy prime minister in charge of the country's defense industry. Another high-placed official, Vitaly Milonov, a conservative deputy at St. Petersburg's legislative assembly who penned the city's "law against gay propaganda" a few years ago, demanded that Wurst be banned from touring Russia.

Meanwhile, Russia will host another international song contest and Eurovision alternative this fall. Intervision will take place in Sochi this fall.

The Intervision announcement was also accompanied by a reference to Wurst's Eurovision victory as prominent local music producer Igor Matvienko suggested that all those who are going to compete to represent Russia in the contest should shave their beards.

A qualification round for Russia's representative for Intervision will take place next month in Yalta, a resort on the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russia from Ukraine earlier this year.