TAJIK ACTIVIST SINGER TO REPRESENT RUSSIA AT EUROVISION

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A Tajik-born singer and women's rights activist will represent Russia at the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest.

Manizha Sangin, known as Manizha, won a public vote broadcast live on Russia's Channel One on Monday after the Russian group Little Big pulled out of the event.

Born in Tajikistan in 1991, Manizha and her family fled to Moscow from the Central Asian nation three years later during its civil war.

As a singer, she has risen to musical prominence on short clips published on Instagram that have garnered hundreds of thousands of views.

Eurovision said in a statement that Manizha, 29, would be performing her song "Russian Woman" at the contest, set to take place in the Netherlands in May.

"This is a song about the transformation of women's self-awareness over the past few centuries in Russia," Eurovision cited Manizha as saying.

"The Russian woman has gone an amazing way from a peasant hut to the right to elect and be elected (one of the first in the world), from factory workshops to space flights.

"I am Tajik, but Russia accepted and raised me. I would like the world to see our country as I know it: generous, open, bright, unlike anything else."

In addition to a burgeoning music career, Manizha is an activist for women's and refugees' rights.

In 2019, she created a phone app with an alarm button for women who have experienced domestic abuse. The problem is particularly rife in Russia, where nearly 16.5 million women fall victim to domestic violence every year, according to activists.

In December, Manizha also became a goodwill ambassador for the UN refugee agency. -- AFP

Source: National News Agency (NNA)