Eurovision and Russia: Everything You Need to Know

Eurovision and Russia: Everything You Need to Know
30 August 2021

I am a big Eurovision fan, and I find the attitudes of different countries towards Eurovision to be extremely interesting. Russia has participated in Eurovision since 1994 with varying degrees of success. But how popular is Eurovision in Russia, and does Russia have any stars who arose from the competition? Here’s everything you need to know about Russia’s participation in Eurovision.

Has Russia ever won Eurovision?

Russia won Eurovision for the first time in 2008, when Dima Bilan performed the song ‘Believe’. Dima Bilan also represented Russia in 2006 with the song ‘Never let you go’, finishing in second place. He is famous in Russia, having an impressive 3.7 million followers on instagram, and his latest album Перезагрузка was released in April 2020. 

Is Russia usually successful in Eurovision?

Russia has won once, and has taken second place four times, in 2000, 2006, 2012 and 2015. The Russian candidate has only ever not qualified for the final in 2018 and in 1996. In addition to this, Russia holds the title of the country with the most top five finishes in the 21st century, as the country has finished in the top five ten times.

How does Russia choose their candidate?

In 2021, Russia had a televised national final to select their candidate, which involved three artists performing in Moscow. The Russian public decided who their candidate would be by voting, and each person had one vote. This kind of national final had not been seen since 2012, when 25 participants were seen in a televised final. In absence of a national final, the candidate is decided through a process of internal selection, and in these cases the general public is not allowed to vote.

How popular is Eurovision in Russia?

Eurovision is shown on national television in Russia, and is broadcast on either Channel 1 or RTR on alternating years. In 2020, over 2 million Russians tuned in to the contest.

How did Russia do in 2021?

In the 2021 contest in Rotterdam, the singer Manizha represented Russia. In the first semifinal she took third place, and in the final finished 9th. It was not always the plan for her to represent Russia, as the group who was due to compete in the cancelled 2020 contest, Little Big, was meant to automatically take part in 2021. However, in March 2021, the group announced their intention to not participate in the upcoming Eurovision 2021. After being selected in the internal competition, Manizha competed in Eurovision with the song ‘Russian Woman’, and her performance in the final now has over 19 million views on YouTube. You can watch her final performance here: 



Eurovision is definitely an important event for many Russians, and it is taken very seriously by those who are Eurovision fans. The next Eurovision Song Contest will take place in May 2022 in Italy, so we will have to wait until then to see whether Russia can uphold their successful Eurovision record.


Leila, currently studying at Liden & Denz St. Petersburg.

Posted by Leila Shannon

Привет! I'm Leila, and I study Russian and Spanish at Durham University. I am currently studying with Liden & Denz in St. Petersburg. I have been studying Russian for almost 3 years, and I love learning about Russian history and culture.

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