Honestly, all the Russian villains kind of irk me too. I mean c'mon guys! We know Russia isn't the most upstanding example of democracy on the planet and all, but the cold war has been over for two decades.
Incidentally, I've been playing AC2 lately (Yes, I'm late to the party) and this discussion reminds me how terribly disappointing one-dimensional the villains are, especially considering how morally gray the first game was.
I can excuse a lot of things in fiction, but characters who are eeeeeevil for the sake of evil is just a non-starter for me. Everyone is the hero in their own story, after all.
Except Dracula. Dracula can go on being evil for no other reason than because he's awesome. He gets a pass.