What is a Russian visa?
A Russian visa is a special document attached to your passport, that grants you a permit to enter and to leave the Russian Federation during a period of time specified in the visa. Every foreign citizen needs a Russian visa to enter / leave Russia, except nationals of some CIS countries (eg. former USSR without Baltic States).
There are many types of Russian visas, but most travelers get one of the following ones:
Tourist visa - can be obtained on the basis of an invitation from a tourist agency, registered with the Department of Consular Service at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs according to the Russian law, or on the basis of a hotel confirmation. Tourist visas are issued for a period for up to 30 days, and usually up to 14 days, and usually have just one entry.
Business visas are the most popular ones among business people. Officially business visas are intended for foreign citizens who travel to Russia to meet their business partners, take part in negotiations, sign a contract, visit an exhibition, etc. You do not need to plan hotel reservation or an itinerary to get a business visa. These visas do not imply official employment in Russia (for this purpose a work visa should be obtained).
Private visas - these visas are for those foreigners who have relatives or friends in Russia able to get a private invitation. The period of validity is from one to three months, and the visas have one entry only.