I really like what those Systema folks are doing.
Not everything in Russia was bad; it was just the government.
I visited Moscow and St. Petersburg in 1993 as part of a scientific expedition team. Moscow seemed like being on Mars, and I never felt safe there. (Lots of Russian mafia, and kidnapping foreigners for cash.) But the Kremlin was incredible. Seeing all of Napoleon's military equipment left behind after he won the battle of Moscow but lost the war when the citizens burned the city down and fled taught me something about Russian people. Seeing generation after generation of beatiful art work in St. Petersburg (L'Hermitage, and all the statues around the city) was breathtaking. Looking at what little people in Moscow had (in terms of material goods and environmental comfort) and yet how they did just fine was very telling.
When I went there in '93, it was just after the fall of the Berlin wall. I got to visit Lenin's tomb. That day I had the pleasure of seeing a comic strip in the paper which showed all the creative things they could do with that monument after the fall of Communism. I couldn't read any Russian, but I could tell they had an incredible sense of humor and were enjoying being able to exercise their voices.