There's a Russian guy in our hostel (formerly homeless), who was in the Soviet Army in Afghanistan and he's a serious fella, but he's endlessly fascinating. I'm constantly asking about his life and experiences.
His opinion is that the World Cup will be absolutely fine, as long as people going to Russia are respectful and clued up. His basic advice is, never, ever fuck with any police or 'officials', under any circumstances. And then in terms of the normal Russian populace, he stresses that people are very proud and very keen to entertain guests. So the hospitality will be excellent, but that visitors need to be respectful of their hosts. Anyone that comes into the country with the typical 'I'm gonna get fucked up and fuck shit up' attitude will be in for a rude awakening.
I'd fucking love to go to Russia personally, but won't be able to afford it this summer. Definitely on the to-do list eventually.