On July 13, 2011, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced an agreement on the issuance of nonimmigrant business, tourist, private, and humanitarian visas to the Russian Federation, and on business and tourist visas to the U.S., as well as short-term official travel visas to both countries.
The agreement will facilitate travel between the two countries and, DOS said, "benefits the largest segments of our traveling Americans and Russians – business travelers and tourists, traveling both as individuals and in groups, by granting as a rule, on a reciprocal basis, multiple-entry visas valid for 36 months." The agreement also reduces the documentation required.
The new visa validity periods "will allow for expanded contacts and promote greater mutual understanding between our societies," DOS said. This agreement will go into effect after an exchange of diplomatic notes in Moscow.
The DOS announcement is available here.