Russia's participation in the Eurovision Song Contest got off to a strong start in 1994 when Youddiph's Vechni stranik finished in the top ten in Dublin but it was several years before the country reached the top three. In 2000 Alsou took the country to second place with the song Solo in Stockholm and in 2003 musical duo t.A.T.u. represented Russia in Riga and finished third. Whilst they may not have won the contest, they won the publicity battle and received global media attention with much speculation focusing on their live performance.
In 2006 Dima Bilan made his first appearance in the Eurovision Song Contest, finishing second with Never Let You Go and the following year Serebro took the country to the top three again with Song #1. Dima returned in 2008 to claim Russia's first ever victory, despite finishing third in his semi-final behind Greece and Armenia.
The 2009 Eurovision Song Contest was a lavish affair and one of the most expensive shows produced to date. The stage consisted of 1/3 of the world’s available LED screens at that time. For the first time the contest was presented by two different pairs of hosts - one pair in the Semi-Finals and the other pair in the Grand Final. Both Semi-Finals were hosted by the supermodel Natalya Vodyanova and popular TV host Andrey Malakhov. The Grand Final was hosted by the singer (and their 2000 contest participant) Alsou and the TV star Ivan Urgant. Vladimir Putin, who was Prime Minister of Russia at the time, visited the Olympic Indoor Arena to see the preparations for the Eurovision Song Contest for himself.
In twenty appearances in the Eurovision Song Contest final, Russia has finished in the top five nine times. Whilst Russia has only won the Eurovision Song Contest once, it won the semi-finals in which it was competing in 2012, 2015 and 2016. Russia is also the only country to qualify and participate in every Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final since the semi-finals were introduced in 2004 (Azerbaijan first entered in 2008 and whilst Romania and Ukraine have also qualified every time they have participated, they did not participate in 2016 and 2015 respectively). Check out the top ten most successful entries from Russia below: