After two long days we crossed the border to Norway and proved many of our friend wrong: you can actually cycle in Russia and camp out in the nature without getting robbed or killed! Two cycling shirts were stolen by unknown persons at a motel and four tires flattened by the rough roads and broken bottles, but otherwise we returned safe and sound, with countless new experiences. The mandatory handgun one of our friends demanded us to take along (no, of course we didn't! Who even owns a gun?!) would have been just dead weight.
We came to know Russians as people who try to avoid smiling at work, but will otherwise go out of their way to help you on your way. As Kaisa pointed out, you bump into different people in different places. While staying in a tent in the nature you bump into people who also enjoy the great outdoors, not some kind of crazy inner-city street gangs. And these are not the kind of people who wish to murder you and steal your bike. They're much more likely to ask you if it's a good place to catch some salmon.