The Scot faced constant pressure from David Carter, also 23, but birdied the last two holes to win by two strokes to secure his immediate future. Russell did not know when his next tournament would be when he arrived on the French Riviera, but he left it with his place on the circuit guaranteed until the end of next season.
Russell, who closed with a 71 for a 12-under-par total of 272, sank putts of five and 10 feet on the final two greens after Carter had wiped out an earlier four-shot deficit.
"It was up and down like a fiddler's elbow out there, but I knew I could win from the first hole on the first day," the former Walker Cup player said. "Just trying to keep your card is in the back of your mind, of course, but I know what I am capable of. When you're on the first tee you're level with Nick Faldo or Greg Norman or whoever."
Russell, who is now sixth in this year's Order of Merit with nearly pounds 85,000, having already finished ninth in the Moroccan Open, became the fourth first-time winner on the tour in 11 events this season, following Germany's Sven Struver, his fellow Scot Paul Lawrie and the Swede Peter Hedblom. Carter, who just missed a birdie putt from 40ft on the last green, is edging closing to putting his own name on that list. He has finished third and now second in his the last two events.
Joint third were the Bristol-based Scot Gordon Brand Jnr and the 24-year- old Spaniard Ignacio Garrido.
Final scores, Digest, page 19