The Russian Consulate is the new awesome
As it turns out, there are a lot of things you need to do before they will even think about letting you come into the country.
First, you need to be invited. To the country. As in, someone has to send you an official form telling you that they would love to have you come visit them in Russia. (Luckily these can be obtained by just slipping someone at a Russian travel agency $20).
On my official invitation to Russia, I know I didn't want to check the "Male" box, so I checked the only other option, which I can only hope means "Female."
The application also demands pretty much your entire life history, including some probing questions about any special arms training you may ever have had. They don't give you a whole lot of room to explain yourself, though.
Of course, they want a passport sized photo attached to your application too. I decided to just take mine myself and print it out on my computer, but I managed to get the size wrong the first try. I tried to use the same paper to print out another one, but I put the paper in the wrong way the second time I ran it through and ended up printing on top of my first photo. I caught it before it got too far along, but not before I gave myself an awesome bang beard.
I didn't want to bother printing another one so I just left it, thinking maybe the Consulate guys would appreciate it. After all, this is Russia, right?