I am sorry my friend but Hotels.com is just about the worst place you could possibly look.
Orbitz was several times the cheapest place for a plane fare, until I discovered Aerosvit. If you want a hotel in western Europe then fine use Hotels.com that is the site that I used when I needed a stopover hotel in Germany earlier this year.
However for a hotel in FSU forget it. They are way too expensive. This is the time you need local help.
$200 a night is not at all unusual for a hotel in FSU - too much for me. The agency in Chelyabinsk I found ofered me a nice hotel for $65 a night. They are not even listed anywhere. If money is an issue you cannot use the big websites I am afraid. And for me it is an issue!
Hey Plat; I don't want to burst your bubble either, but I will make close to 70,000 this year and I can barely afford to do this. In fact I have already spent close to 8,000 dollars in a year and a half. I will probably spend another 5,000 dollars before this year is done. This doesn't include the cost of bringing someone here and then supporting them until they can find work, all the while knowing that they can say it is not working out for them before the 90 days is over and they want to go home. If that happens you are screwed. And there is no guarantee that they won't feel trapped, bored and homesick and want to leave in a couple more years.
Once or twice for me and I am done. I just can't afford to do this, not to mention trying to keep something alive over a distance of 6,000 miles.