We are publishing this a little late, because of uncertainty surrounding new developments. But now it is final, The Agreement of simplifying visa system went into effect late in 2012.
According to the Agreement, the citizens of both countries are allowed to obtain multiple visas that will be valid for 36 months. It is stipulated that people can reside up to 6 months since they enter the country.
Within the bounds of the Agreement, the Russian Federation will get Private, Tourist and Protection visas on somebody’s invitation from the host country. The USA citizens will get nonimmigrant visas (such as В1/В2). The decisions will be made within 15 business days since you have applied for a visa.
In turn, USA embassy in Moscow informed people that the price for American visas (such as B1/B2) will be reduced from $100 to $20 . Such visa will be valid for 3 years. Although, the consular fees will be the same - $160. The amount of fees and terms of validity for other visa types (such as visas for students, workers and journalists) will not be changed.
When you apply for a Tourist or Protection visa, it will be not necessary to provide an official invitation, although US citizens still have to provide a document confirming that that have booked a hotel room or arranged a trip through a travel agency.