I am enjoying my Russians also. They are great and mellow and have made extra honey when others have not in the area. I do watch them a little more but not for getting defensive. They seem no different than the mutts when it comes to size of hive, the more they have the more defensive they get. But they are very stable. Neighbor has Italian and one hive stays hot even with requeen, while the other is touchy. I'll stick with russians and mutts.
I am in the middle of town, so for me a hot hive is not an option. I had a hot swarm (Italian, watched them leave and caught them and was told to keep 'em if I wanted them) hive last year and killed it off. The large hives concentrate on me, when I get deep into them, and are back in the hive before I have finished cleaning up after myself. This time of year I will not bother them except a quick peek at the supers, waiting for the goldenrod and aster.