Monday, May 24, 2010

Eurovision Voting Fraud

Forget hanging chads in Florida. Some really important vote rigging is about to happen.

I was investigating the Eurovision Song Contest last week as a prediction problem. No really it is an area of major research into how corruption agreements implicitly develop between countries. There are papers here, here and here.

But then I saw the odds for this year and there is something really odd happening. The odds from Paddy Power are here
Azerbaijan 11/8
Germany 4/1
Israel 9/1
So Azerbaijan a country that no one can spell is hot favorite. Which would not be too suspicious if they had ever had a song that wasn't entirely made up of goats being strangled before. The singer Safura and her Drip Drop has her obvious talents on display but is there something odd going on here?

Wikipedia says
After the conclusion of 2009 Eurovision, it was reported in Belarusian media that unknown people had allegedly paid and bribed students from Belarus to vote for Azerbaijan in the contest, and had even transported them to the Belarusian-Lithuanian border in 10 buses. The cost of this alleged action was claimed to be about 55 million rubles. They purportedly voted for Azerbaijan using Belarusian SIM cards, and then received Lithuanian cards to repeat the process. The Azerbaijani entry "Always" received 10 points from Belarus and 5 points from Lithuania.

So why does an old soviet country, with a pretty dodgy political system, that is 95% Muslim want so badly to win the worlds gayest contest? Turns out its a giant fight with Armenia. There is a war going on between them using the Eurovision as a battleground. I cannot wait till they get Johnny Logan in as a peace negotiator.

The Azerbaijan state broadcaster blocked out the voting number for the 2009 Armenian entry like some corporate logos in a rap video. Then and you can only read this in a full Borat accent "in August 2009, a number of Azerbaijanis who had voted for Armenia's entry during the 2009 Contest were summoned for questioning at the Ministry of National Security in Baku, during which they were accused of being "unpatriotic" and "a potential security threat". One of those summoned, Rovshan Nasirli, said that he was told by his interrogators that they had the names and addresses of all 43 Azerbaijanis who had voted for Armenia".

What is the cause of all this? According to the over 2000 word wiki article on the "Armenia Azerbaijan relations in the Eurovision Song Contest" it is Nagorno-Karabakh an area they both claim.

So it looks like Azerbaijan are willing to buy masses of fake simcards, bus people to other countries, bribe students and track down a few dozen people who voted the 'wrong way'. I wonder what is going to happen this time now that they seem to take the eurovision seriously?

14 comments:

Bionic Laura said...

Brilliant! This is just mad and one of those stories that you couldn't make up. Imagine being called in to explain why you voted for Armenia...

Séan Billings said...

This can only escalate. I see the Armenian military on black ops taking over strategic coms relays in neighbouring countries, while the Azerbaijani secret service use photographic evidence involving sheep to persuade Belarus's most influential and popular game-show host to campaign for their entry.

red dave said...

This could be a major growth industry for Ireland. Where else could our Eurovision skills and love of civil war come together?

Anonymous said...

Interestng. Could have been a little bit more pleasant to read if not for xenophobic and condescending tone. You could write one of this on every single US state post Obama election. From Shariia law defensive legislation to senator Ensign's corruption charges. At least voting for your favorite singer (from a 95% Muslim country) won't make so many people miserable in the process anywho, isn't the American ethos that in business anything goes ? The Eurovision contest is an enterprise which mostly heterosexuals watch. Like yourself I'm sure.

Dave Masterson said...

The previous commenter realises were not american, right?

red dave said...

I have changed a line about investigating the Eurovision for heterosexual reasons because people were not getting the joke. Maths does not have a sexual orientation so it was a bit like going "Now lets work out the Eigenvector, no homo"

Anonymous thinks it comes across as xenophobic and condescending which reading back on it it does a bit. But still I think the sort of people who threaten citizens in a ministry for reeducation because they voted in the Eurovision for the wrong country should condescended to. Pointing and laughing at tyrants has a place.

itchybollix said...

bump for brilliance

jedward, another joke. where was the regulator this time?

Anonymous said...

I've always assumed that RTE has a secret agreement in place to ensure we never won the damn thing again.

This time around Jedward were doing really well until suddenly everyone started switching their votes to Italy.

Fergal

Anonymous said...

Those jealous armenians! I understand now how they manage always to go to final with their horrble songs: Their entrance for 2 years ago was called by Swedes "matrix villains". Their last year performance became for Swedes the last drop immediately - they wrote "close this sheet (Eurovision", we do not want to see giant armenian women singing about apricots". This year Armenias entrance was so horrible that it did not even make to final - I guess armenians failed to organize voting fraud this year.
My advise to the writer of this article - get over, you lost! Concentrate better on the writing a better song next year!

Anonymous said...

Author. look at Safura and listen to her - does she need any fraud voting?
Armenians on the other hand made a gigantic black PR against her and Azerbaijan , that explains her 5th place, otherwise she would climb higher.
And do not forget - there are 10 mln Armenians outside of Armenia, they do fraud voting every year.Your article sound like cheap armenian propaganda.

Lordy said...

Wow, they actually do have a Ministry for National Security. http://www.mns.gov.az/en/

With a front page link to history of Armenian Aggression. There really is no love lost between them ...

red dave said...

Isn't it brilliant that wars now take place over a camp disco pop beat? as Churchill said “It is 'better to jaw-jaw than to war-war,'”.

Wars happening via the Eurovision and blog comments that notice my until now hidden Armenian connections are a big step forward

Kristi said...

I googled Armenians - look at this, that explains where they get money for fraud:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/17/us-gang-crackdown-idUSTRE71G0I...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Power_Outage

Anonymous said...

Lithuanian media expose Azeri fraud to buy Eurovision votes

http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/news/158889/Lithuanian_media_expose_Azeri_fraud_to_buy_Eurovision_votes