A Zenit 12 XP. Perhaps because it is the only Russian camera I own. I have never used it. I find it rather heavy and clunky. It has a limited range of shutter speeds. The back is a little flimsy. But my major objection is the viewfinder which is impossible with glasses and provides little room for head movement when not wearing glasses. But worst of all is the bright, inverted image below the normal viewfinder image. That is really annoying. I know nothing about Russian cameras and this is probably the low end of the scale. However, I do get the impression that is will, despite the back, withstand a lot of abuse.
Getting a Kiev 35mm camera seems to be a bit like playing Russian Roulette - one good shot in six.
I've got three, plus one in pieces with several faults because of slap-dash assembly due, I suppose, to high quota targets. The second one works after a fashion and takes good pictures, but the wind-on feels rough. When I've got the one in pieces re-assembled I may, if I can find time, strip it and rebuild it. Both of these were originally bought from Russia on ebay, though I bought them later in this country.
Of the other two, both were imported by the old T&OE in London who checked every camera before it went out to the dealer. One has a meter which doesn't work but apart from that it seems fine. In any case I think the meter spoils the classic lines even though Zeiss Ikon put it on the Contax III.
The fourth one is really good. I bought it new from T&OE, and one of the Russian technicians there stripped and rebuilt it for me when I complained that the general action seemed a bit agricultural. That company used to give really good service. Now, even years later, it operates almost as smoothly as my Contax II that it's based on, and I've had some lovely pictures from the Jupiter lens. I use it in preference to my Contax because if it should get damaged it's not such a loss.
I think in general you stand a better chance of getting a good one if it was imported by T&OE.
Kievs are quite heavy, and the viewfinder is tiny, like nearly all pre-war cameras, but I like using mine. I've got only the standard lens, though. One of the drawbacks of getting other lenses, apart from the cost, is that you have to get a supplementary viewfinder to fit in the shoe on the top - just like a Contax in fact.
The photo is certainly very impressive. I tended to regard the Russian cameras as somewhat poor relations - they are all copies of other manufacturer's models, but I've been informed that many of them are very good copies indeed. You can get some very good bargains at low outlay. And I recently read somewhere that the Jupiter lenses actually used Carl Zeiss Jena glass - and you can't get better than that!