I do not really know what the best method for finding a Russian mate is; so can only provide info on my personal experience that was very successful for me. I handle immigration clients (normally sent to me by my wife). They all have their own stories. Some good and some bad even tragic.
Some men will have their different opinions on the best way to meet Russian mates. For instance, some will say that it is best just to go to Russia without knowing anyone and attempt to meet as many women as possible without writing beforehand. Others will recommend that you make arrangements to meet several women (after writing to them) on your trip and then attempt to make your final choice there. Obviously, there is always the danger that your meeting will not work out so one should take names, addresses, and phone numbers of the local marriage agencies so they can have you can go through their catalogues and set you up on dates.
What worked for me may not be the best method for another person. But it did work for me and with wonderful results. I meet my Olga by chance on the internet (sort of like you apatosaur). Olga and I got to know each other in writing (email)and by phone over many months, and by then, I knew that we were compatible and that I only wanted to be with her. She felt the same as well. By the time I met with her for the first time, we knew enough about each other personally to feel like we were long time friends. There was also a trust that had been built over time—a necessary foundation to any relationship. We have been happily married many years now.
This is only my personal experience of my success but I am sure others have had success using other methods. This is also a long and sometimes daunting journey with enormous payoffs! I would certainly go the same route if I had to again.
Its not possible for all people to meet like myself and Olga or like apatosaur and his new found relationship. However, I Honesty recommend Dating-ru, Because of the amount of success I have seen through some of my clients with them. Also I admire the customer service staff they have in place. I am not connected to nor affiliated with them.
Good luck to anyone thinking of making this rewarding journey.