Sickening scenes marred the build-up to the Group B clash, with bottles, chairs and fists thrown during three days of trouble involving a mixture of English, Russian and French fans in Marseille.
There were more clashes at the end of the match at the Stade Velodrome, where a thumping Eric Dier free-kick cancelled out by Vasili Berezutsky as Russia secured a fortuitous 1-1 draw.
At 25 years and 293 days, this was England's second-youngest line-up ever at a major finals and they showed no little exuberance, attacking from the outset.
In the other group match Wales snatched a late winner against Slovakia in their Euro 2016 opener to make a dramatic return to major tournaments after a 58-year absence.
Gareth Bale's dipping free-kick gave Wales a half-time lead and sent their fans into raptures.
Slovakia's Ondrej Duda punished passive Welsh defending to equalise.
But substitute Hal Robson-Kanu's scuffed finish won it for Wales, who top Group B and have an excellent chance of reaching the last 16.