Learning the Russian alphabet is essential.
It can be an easy language to learn to speak because:
1. its is written as it is pronounced, no hidden meaning and very few exceptions
2. there is no verb "to be" as used in English, "I am"
3. there are no definite or indefinite articles alike "the" or "a/an"
However, its also a very hard language because grammar can be near impossible, as there are so many cases, like pejorative and locations, etc.
I feel that with a good teach anyone can learn to read and speak in a matter of a few months.