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Bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst makes triumphant return to Austria after Eurovision win

Singer Conchita Wurst representing Austria performs the song 'Rise Like a Phoenix' during the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in the B&W Halls in Copenhagen, Denmark, Saturday, May 10, 2014.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

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Singer Conchita Wurst representing Austria performs the song 'Rise Like a Phoenix' during the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in the B&W Halls in Copenhagen, Denmark, Saturday, May 10, 2014.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

VIENNA - Bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst has made a triumphant return to Austria after winning the Eurovision Song Contest in what the country's president called a victory for tolerance in Europe.

Wurst drew criticism from eastern Europe before Saturday's show, with some blasting her as an example of Western decadence.

However, Austria won points even from Russia. Wurst told a news conference after landing in Vienna that shows "you can't reduce a country to its tolerance or intolerance."

President Heinz Fischer congratulated Wurst, the alter ego of 25-year-old Thomas Neuwirth — telling the Austria Press Agency it was "not just a victory for Austria, but above all for diversity and tolerance in Europe."

Other political leaders joined in the congratulations Sunday though the right-wing Freedom Party, the biggest opposition force, didn't.

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