Every Russian Eurovision video – ever

Yes, May has rolled around again, and it’s time to update the Russia Eurovision Video page.

Russia hosted the Eurovision a couple of years ago. They put on a fabulous (and very expensive) show, but it looks like they’ve decided it’s far too costly to ever take the chance of winning again – there surely can’t be any other reason that explains why they picked the truly dreadful Lost and Forgotten by Peter Nalitch, and the equally bad Get You by Alexej Vorobjov this year.

Anyway, what better way is there to celebrate Russia’s decision to never again host Europe’s premier singing contest than to take a run through the YouTube videos of every single Russian Eurovision Song Contest entry – ever! That’s nearly two decades’ worth of top notch Russian Europop – t.A.t.U, Mumy Troll, Alsou, Dima Bilan, Peter Nalitch and now Alexej Vorobjob – we’ve got them all!

No – there’s no need to thank me. Really. No need at all.

2010 – Alexey Vorobyov – Get You – (Place: TBC)

Alexey Vorobyov (also known by the English translation of his name as Alex Sparrow) has tried to win Eurovision Song Contest qualification for a few years now, and with Get You he’s finally made it. Sadly, I’m not sure if the ladies are going to swoon for his dashing good looks or in horror at hearing the song…

2010 – – Lost and Forgotten – (Place: 11th)

Peter Nalitch, some of you will remember is the Russian architect who had a massive viral hit in 2007 with his cheesy song Gitar. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Peter Nalitch Eurovision video ‘Lost and Forgotten’, possibly the dullest, sleepiest ballad to grace Eurovision since, well, since last year probably.

2009 – Anastasia Prikhodko – Mamo – (11th)

Mamo, Russia’s 2009 Eurovision song has already proved controversial
. Sung partly in Ukrainian, by a Ukrainian singer who only entered after she had failed to win the Ukrainian Eurovision contest – what could there possibly be to complain about?

2008 – Dima Bilan – Believe (1st)

Russia’s first Eurovision victory came courtesy of Dima Bilan’s Belive. Already a successful pop star back home in Russia, Dima Bilan won the competition on his second attempt – beating his second place finish in Eurovision 2006.

2007 – Serebro – Song #1 (3rd)

Serebro – which means Silver in Russian – were a previously unknown three girl band. They’ve translated their third place finish in Eurovision 2007 into some limited success in Russia – although it’s taken them until April 2009 to release their first full album.


2006 – Dima Bilan – Never Let You Go (2nd)

Dima’s first stab at Eurovision glory was mostly memorable for his wearing of a white tank top. A true crime against fashion.


2005 – Natalia Podolskaya – Nobody Hurt No One (15th)

A rockin’ little anti-American anti war ditty (Hello sweet America / Where did our dream disappear? / Look at little Erica / All she learns today is the fear”). About the best that can be said is that it inspired Russia to take the contest seriously again the following year.

2004 – Yulia Savicheva – Belive Me (11th)

Possibly Russia’s dullest Eurovision entry. Nuff said.

2003 – t.A.t.U – Ne ver’, ne boisya, ne prosi (3rd – robbed!)

Russia’s most controversial (and best publicised) Eurovision effort by far. All you need to know is that controversy kicked off with a formal enquiry to the Eurovision board ahead of the contest that asked whether performers had to wear clothes, and finished with claims that the faux-lesbian duo, who were beaten by just three points, had been robbed by “unlikely low points” given by other countries.

2002 – Prime Minister – Northern Girl (10th)

Another one of those dull songs that Eurovision throws up from time to time. Take my advice, and don’t waste your time listening.

2001 – Mumiy Troll – Lady Alpine Blue (12th)

Russia took the brave decision in 2001 to send rock band Mumiy Troll to Europe’s premier pop song contest. The veteran rock band were formed back in 1983 (so far back into Soviet history that Gorbachev wasn’t even the boss) and, although I like the song, I don’t think it’s a moment they’ll consider their finest…


2000 – Alsou – Solo (2nd)

After the 1998-99 debacle (see ‘interlude’ below) Russia decided to get serious and send a real contender to the 2000 contest. Alsou’s Solo hit all the Eurovision buttons – sexy lady in skimpy costume, catchy tune, sung in English – and was unfortunate not to pull off Russia’s first victory. It had the misfortune to come up against that rarest of things – a decent ballad from Denmark that stormed to victory.

Alsou, by the way, will be hosting the 2009 Eurovision contest in Moscow.


Interlude: 1998-1999

Russia selected Tatyana Ovsienko as their entrant for the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest, only to be informed that, because they’d been so rubbish over the past few years – also called having a low average score – they weren’t eligible to actually send an entrant.

Naturally, Russian TV channel ORT decided – on the entirely sensible grounds that no-one in Russia would watch a four hour song contest if no-one from Russia was singing – not to show the contest live.

Fatal mistake.

Russia would have been able to send an entrant to the following contest, in 1999, but because they’d failed to televise the 1998 contest, under Eurovision’s rules, Russia was barred from sending an entry.

Lesson learned, Russia duly televised the 1999 contest, even though there wasn’t a Russian entrant.

1997 – Alla Pugachova – Primadonna (15th)

Alla Pugachova is one of the true survivors of Soviet music. An icon in Russia, she was the last artist to win the prized “People’s Artist of the USSR” award.

Unsurprisingly, the rest of Europe were not impressed by this hearty ballad.


1996 – Andrei Kosinskiy – I am what I am (did not qualify for final)

For the second time in three years, Russia failed to make it to the final. Here’s the video anyway – Michael Bolton eat your heart out.

1995 – Philip Kirkorov – Lullaby for a Volcano (17th)

Apparently, according to a Eurovision historian (yes, there are such things), Kikorov’s entry is most interesting because Russian TV implied that he had won by ending transmission after his performance and not bothering to show the voting. In reality, Lullaby for a Volcano finished a disappointing 17th out of 23.


1994 – Youdipph – Vechni Strannik (9th)

Russia’s first Eurovision entry also marked the first time that a Eurovision song had been sung in Russian.

A solid if unspectacular debut, Wikipedia regards it as being notable for the red cape worn by singer Maria Kats. I have to say, it is very cool – she looks like a kind of Soviet Batman…

Note: This post is a rewritten version of a post from 2007 – which is why you will see some very old comments below.

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16 Responses

  1. Russia a has a history of picking great pop groups but poor songs. I have one or more CDs of Mumiy Troll, Alsou, Dima Belan, and Prime Minister, but the competition songs are not that great compared to some of their other work. Although, I must disagree with you that TaTu was robbed — they were a one trick pony show and that trick was not signing. They can’t even sing on key.

  2. GER O'BRIEN says:

    My wife, who’s Russian, blames Ireland for Alsu losing in controversial circumstances in 2000, when they really were robbed. At the last minute the Irish had to abandom their telephone vote because of technical trouble and a bunch of judges gave the points instead. The Irish gave the winners, a pair of geriatric Danes, 12 points in the last of the results and Russia was beaten. Every year at Eurovision I’m reminded of how we cheated Russia!)

  3. Tim Newman says:

    When Ireland win Eurovision, the whole country stifles a yawn.

  4. GER O'BRIEN says:

    You’ve seen the episode of Father Ted?) Trying NOT to win the Eurovision because of the bill?)

    Actually something strange has happened at home -because of our recent thumpings, the Irish have gotten a bit upset and decided we want to win it again! There’s a train of thought that its past us now though because of Eastern Europe entering the fray. Instead of tasteless Irish songs sung by has-beens, the majority audience want tasteless Slavic songs sung by women wearing as little as possible or novelty acts. It could be a long time before Dublin hosts it again.

  5. Lyndon says:

    Thanks, Andy, this is a delightful trip down memory lane.

    Russia a has a history of picking great pop groups but poor songs.

    You’re definitely right that for at least a few of these performers (the ones whose bodies of work I know) the songs picked were questionable. But I’m not sure about “great pop groups,” although I’m not super-familiar with all of the more recent years’ entrants. I’d say Mumii Troll is really more than just a pop group, whereas Pugachova and Kirkorov probably qualify as pop icons, and the rest generally seem to be in the little-to-no-talent popsa genre. I think the weakness that is revealed for a lot of these acts is indeed live singing, which is not typically done at pop concerts in Russia – I don’t think you are allowed to lip-synch at Eurovision, which puts acts like Tatu (although I loved their first album) and even Pugachova out to sea.

    That performance by Kirkorov is far from his best, either. Interesting story about Filya – I once ran into him in the Starlite Diner in Moscow and decided the proper way to approach him would be to speak English to him. Turns out his English is quite good, and he was delighted to have a foreign fan. He gave me a goofy autographed postcard that had a whole text on the back (in English) all about how he is “Russian superstar Filip Kirkorov.”

  6. Michael Averko says:

    Serbia, Russia & Ukraine. Booyah!

  7. Averko: Serbia, Russia & Ukraine. Booyah!
    I noticed that too, so I had to post about the Slavic Domination. ­čÖé

  8. PeteS says:

    Ha ha. Thanks for reminding me of Eurovision kitsch!

    I have to say with regret that none of the Russian entries since Alla Pugachova have had any sort of decent singing voice (with the possible exception of Dima Bilan). Best by far is Russia’s first entry, Youddiph.

    Best of luck in Moscow next week!

  9. My favorite by far is still 2007 – Serebro.

    Da Russophile┬┤s last blog post..Victory Day Special: The Poisonous Myths of the Eastern Front

  10. Russia should totally enter with this excellent Blyadi song next year.

    Da Russophile┬┤s last blog post..Victory Day Special: The Poisonous Myths of the Eastern Front

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