You want to visit Russia and prepare for the challenge, this is a great book to help you get there. It gives you all the basics that you need. It's a short overview of the history of Russia starting with the 9th century until the present day. It is a definite must introductory reading to better understanding of its people and culture. Don't be a stranger when in Russia.
This is a nation that went through a lot of rough and dramatic changes throughout the history that shaped its people. Maybe we don't understand why they do things the way they do them, but this book can clarify it.
I found this book quite helpful and would recommend it to anyone. It definitely helps you understand Russia better and why they are the way they are.