Arthurs, ranked No 91 in the world, outplayed the Russian to give an under-strength Australian team a 2-0 lead after the first day. Lleyton Hewitt had earlier beaten Marat Safin, 7-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.
The reigning Australian Open champion said the home side had nothing to be proud of. "I won't give any credit for that," he said. "The condition of the court was so pathetic."
Arthurs, who at 28 years old, was making his Davis Cup debut because of the withdrawal of Pat Rafter and Mark Philippoussis through injury. He laughed off the Russian's complaints saying: "I don't care what he thinks, we're the ones leading 2-0. He can go home crying if he likes."
In the other semi-final France took a 2-0 lead against Belgium in Pau, France. Cedric Pioline was taken to five sets by world No 432, Filip Dewulf, before winning 6-3, 5-7, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in just under three hours.
Earlier in the day, France's Sebastien Grosjean proved too strong for Belgian's Xavier Malisse, winning 7-5, 6-2, 7-6. The Belgian saved four match points in the two hours, 37 minute contest.
Two years ago, France travelled to Belgium as Davis Cup champions, only to lose 3-2.Reuse content