Russell was not friends with anybody on the jury and that is why he did not win. Russell cheated, stole, lied and treated everybody like crap and that is why the jury did not vote for him. If he would've been nicer and less back stabbing towards people then he might have won.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the name of game SURVIVOR? You need to outlast & outwit. Russell did exactly that.
Russell doesn't even reach the final three without Natalie and Mick (and Jaison)... and vice versa. Eric -- in the final statement -- said it best; why is Natalie's game play any worse than Russell's? Just because he found three idols, that means he just gets handed the title? Unfortunately, that's not the way the game works.
The jury is the whole game, and that's what makes it the most fascinating show on television. You need to lie and cheat and alienate these people while at the same time trying to impress them enough to give you a million dollars, even though they (probably) had as direct hand in taking you OUT of that million dollar prize.
Natalie did that; Russell didn't. Yes, he played a heck of a game, and is ONE of the best Survivor contestants ever. (You need to include players like Colby from S2, who won five straight immunities to get to the final two; Long Island Rob, who was such a strong competitor that when he got to the first All-Stars, he got voted out right away; Tom Westman, who won a handful of challenges at the end; Stephanie, who survived alone for a while when her tribe was decimated, then was invited back to the following season and still finished second; Ozzy, who won five or six individual challenges but lost the final; Earl, who went to Exile Island four or five times and still won; and bow-tied Bob Crowley, who was maybe the nicest guy in the history of the game and still won.)
So Russell was good, yes; but not good enough.