See Russia Road Ways.
Our years of improvised road trips through much of Europe did not provide enough confidence for me to drive where Cyrillic rules, and without much in the way of English backup. Dan and I, then, went by small tour -- Moscow and St. Petersburg -- to see what that might be like for future trips in really unknown places.
A tour for a starter where alphabet, language and even sounds are new, is highly recommended. How to drive amid all that, and be safe.
A return: My preference for any return, which is unlikely because of the distance and costly requirement of visa, is to go back to Moscow, and add Stalingrad; and not return to St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg is, of course, spectacular with canals like Amsterdam or Venice, vast palaces, culture. But it all dates from the 1700's roughly, like our Philadelphia in terms of reference date,if not for palace extravaganzas. I would like to explore more grit, as in Moscow.
For a return to Russia, I would prefer do do it with Dan as independent travelers, through the auspices (required for the visa) of some group that provides that service of sponsorship, but not traveling on schedule with them. I felt safest, however, when there were three of us off on our own, so perhaps just the two of us is not sense.
We had expert and substantive guiding, however, and the lines to get into major places are huge. A tour group gets the job done with less waste of time. All a trade-off.
Even with a group, we are delighted to report that we found the unexpected. This little window view, complete with viewing glass, is above the hopper in a stall in a ladies' room -- where bird's nest and entertainment is provided. Russia, cheers!