I would say the game is an excellent tool for teaching new players about history. I play RUS more than any other AGEOD game just because of how fascinating the topic is and the tremendous flexibility of the game itself. Both sides, White and Red, have distinct strengths and weaknesses. Each side has chances to attack. And the designers made some truly inspired choices on game mechanics that make the era come to life.
My only gripe is that hopes of a RUS 2, with an expanded map and weekly turns, will probably never be realized. If I was a Russian oligarch, I would spare some rubles to allow the designers to create their dream, like the Pope did with Michaelangelo.
I suppose the problem is that these types of games don't appeal as well to the action-obsessed younger game audience. But working with the maps and leaders in a game like this gives you a visual sense of history beyond even a good book.