Russia first entered the Eurovision Song Contest in 1994 and despite some strong entries, including two second places, it would take well over a decade for the country to win the competition.
Staged in Moscow's Olympic Indoor Arena, the Eurovision Song Contest was a big honour for Russia and Host Broadcaster Channel One. Despite the contest taking place amidst a global economic crisis, the production was a lavish one; the stage alone used over one third of the world's LED screens. Even the then Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, called in during the event week to oversee the preparations for himself.
Alexander Rybak's song Fairytale was installed as the pre-contest favourite even before it had won the Norwegian national selection. At the Grand Final Norway took the lead from the very beginning and won the contest with a record 387 points, 169 points ahead of nearest rival Iceland. Fairytale received points from every single participating country, including 16 sets of 12 points, a record that Norway held until Loreen's victory for Sweden in 2012.