Russian Team Chess Championship
The Russian team championship started back in 1992 just as Russia emerged as independent state after collapse of the Soviet Union. In the 1990s Russian economy struggled and it mirrored on the chess life. There were no championships in 1993 and 1997 at all; few good teams participated and the event was not very prestiguous. Due to neverending financial constrains teams emerged and disappeared one by another.
Only about 2000 things became little more optimistic. More top GMs decided to join the league. To make the league more attractive two stage system was introduced in 2001 but it was retracted in 2004. Since then the system is fixed: there is one round robin group of 12 (it often happens that some teams withdraw). Following Russia's recent economic boom there is more sponsorship in chess, so that the Russian Premier League (the official name of the highest division from 2005) is one of strongest chess leagues in the world.
Frequent winners are teams like: Tomsk, Sankt Petersburg, Sverdlovsk, Ekonomist Saratov and recently Yugra. Six of seven recent winners of the European Club Cup are from Russia.