Eurovision Trivia becomes takes on a Russian turn this week. It’s time for the Russian trivia quiz. Always a presence in Eurovision that attracts attention, debate and very often, a song that appeals to a large variety of tastes. Sometimes they turn off others, there are precious few Russian entries that feel like songs I want to root for, but you can’t deny their successes with this tactic. They have a large amount of top 5s in the 21st century, and wait, that’s one of the questions. Let me stop there. Point is, if you’ve watched Eurovision, you’ll have very likely seen a Russian entry jump up the scoreboard. So now it’s time to find out how much you know about those Russian entries!
So You Think You Know… is a series that will arrive each Wednesday, each time focusing on a new active Eurovision country. We move alphabetically so the next quiz will be the one, the only: San Marino. In the meantime, enjoy our Russian trivia quiz!
Russia first entered Eurovision as the Soviet Union. True or False?
False! They first entered in 1994, three years after the collapse, and only once Russia had become a member of the European Broadcasting Union. The only country east of the Iron Curtain that did enter Eurovision in the Cold War period was the now departed Yugoslavia.
Which Russian entrant in the 1990s wrote top 10 Eurovision smashes Work Your Magic and Shady Lady (for Belarus and Ukraine respectively)?
Kirkorov really gets around in Russian media and public life. He also married Alla Pugacheva, who entered Eurovision two years after him. She is a famous Russian singer in her own right.
Russia’s first English language entry was which song?
Alsou's 'Solo' in 2000 was the first time Russia entered English. The other entries in this list were entered in 2001-2004.
Which famous pop act from the mid-00s entered for Russia in 2003?
t.A.t.u's song came within a few points of winning in the close contest of 2003.
Who finally won Eurovision for Russia in 2008?
'Believe' was the name of the song, and it was the second attempt for Dima after he was beaten by Lordi in 2006.
How many top 5 finishes in the 21st century does Russia have? (2000 onwards)
Yes, 10! Solo, t.A.t.u, Never Let You Go and Believe from Dima, Song #1 from Serebro, Party For Everybody from Buranoviye Babushki, What If from Dina Garipova, A Million Voices from Polina Gagarina, and Never Let You Go and Scream from Sergey Lazarev. Of those, only What If finished outside the top 3. Russia are a record-breaking country in many ways.
Which of these ISN'T true about (the incredible) Russian host entry ‘Mamo’ in 2009?
Nope! That was t.A.t.u, with their entry, the title of which is 'Ne Ver, Ne Boysia' (sharp eyes will have noticed I did not reveal that prior to this question). As for Mamo, Anastasia Pridhokho tried her song in the Ukrainian national final first, and yes, I find Mamo so much more compelling than every other Russian entry, and I think part of the reason is that there is no naked desperation to win in it, it’s just a really strong dark pop song and the lack of aiming for broad appeal allows so many fun twist and turns throughout the song.
The Russian grandmothers in 2012 sang part of their song in the language of which Russian republic?
Udmurtia is located in central Russia, on the Volga. The others are located at the far edges of Russia. As the Babushkis come from a village in Udmurtia, ‘Party For Everybody’ was partly in the Udmurt language.
Who is the only Russian entrant to have failed to qualify from the modern semi-finals?
Julia's attempt with the rather terrible 'I Won't Break' missed out on qualifying in 2018, a year after Russia withdrew in protest after hosts Ukraine pointed out they had banned Julia from their borders. This, along with Sergey's double entrance has led to the current situation where Russia has sent, or attempted to send, only 2 singers in the past four years.
Russia is a well known nation that benefits from diaspora or otherwise similar cultural ties in Eurovision, often getting large numbers of points from neighbouring countries who share some history with Russia. Which of the following has actually given the most points to Russia - in the grand finals?
Estonia! One would imagine part of the reason for this is that they are one of the longest entering former SSRs so have an advantage that way. Belarus is well on its way to catching up however. The other way around, the top 2 countries that Russia has given its points to are Azerbaijan and Ukraine.
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To play the previous quiz about Romania, click here. And here for Portugal, Poland,Norway, The Netherlands, Montenegro, Moldova, Malta, Lithuania, Latvia and Italy (Italy contains links to 2018’s off-season quizzes, including all countries A to I)