As the proud owner of an upgraded Kiev 88 I can say that they can be a wonderful system to go with because the glass is good and CHEAP. On my teacher salary I Own all of the focal lengths I wanted.
Yes they are a crap shoot. You hear all about the cameras that are crap, and never about the good ones. Yes the professional SLRs are dropping in price but their glass is not. To me that was the deciding factor. Before counting out or the russian SLR line of cameras do your home work. www.kievaholic.com is a great resource and there is a link to the Kiev report which is a forum dedicated to FSU cameras. A very nice bunch of folks who will answer all of your questions honestly. because FSU cameras are not for everyone.