The Russian Open is the only European Tour event held in a country formerly behind the Iron Curtain.
While the Russian Open has been a European Tour event only since 2003, it has been played since 1993. That first year, it was a nine hole amateur event held on the still-under-construction Moscow Country Club.
A year later, the tournament was recognized by the Royal and Ancient, coinciding with the opening of the full 18 hole Moscow Country Club course.
Interestingly in 1995, General Motors was the title sponsor.
The Russian Open became a part of the Challenge Tour, the developmental circuit for the European Tour in 1996. By 2003, it had been added to the European Tour schedule, first as a joint Challenge-European Tour stop, then purely as a European Tour event in 2006
In 2006, the Russian Open was an alternate European Tour event to the PGA Championship. In 2007, it was an alternate to the WGC Bridgestone. In 2008, it moved to the week after the Open Championship.
No tournament was held from 2009 – 2013, but but the Russian Open returned in 2013 to the Tseleevo Golf and Polo Club. The current title sponsor is M2M, a private banking service.
Tseleevo is a Jack Nicklaus design in Moscow. Interestingly, the facility includes a private ski slope. The photos remind me very much of a Northern Michigan course.
A list of winners of the Russian Open follows: