The last four men's relay races before Friday's competition had seen Italy, Germany, Norway and Austria all climb the top step of the podium.
But it was Russia's turn this time as Dmitry Malyshko brought his team home in 1:19:02.9 hours for the win.
Malyshko was trailing Norway's Emil Hegle Svendsen heading into the final shoot but did enough to pip the 2010 Winter Olympic 4x7.5km champions into first place by 8.4 seconds.
Finishing behind Norway in third were Germany as Florian Graf held off the challenge of Ukrainian Andryi Deryzemla on the final leg.
Meanwhile, Great Britain's quartet of Kevin Kane, Lee-Steve Jackson, Marcel Laponder and Scott Dixon were lapped when in 21st position.