Russia became the 25th nation to appear at a Rugby World Cup finals, and a promising start saw the Bears take an early lead through a Yuri Kushnarev penalty.
But the USA soon settled and, as expected, enjoyed the better of the contest, with Saracens full-back Chris Wyles kicking two penalties from five attempts and converting a Mike Petri try to seal the win for Eddie O'Sullivan's side, despite Konstantin Rachkov's late penalty for Russia.
Russia had made an excellent start as lock Denis Antonov charged down Petri's clearance. The ball bounced into the hands of prop Sergey Popov and set up a penalty chance that saw Kushnarev register their first World Cup points inside two minutes.
The United States hit back with a Wyles penalty following an agile line-out steal from former Bath lock John van der Giessen, and they then stormed ahead with a fantastic 19th-minute try.
Centre Andrew Suniula put fly-half and brother Roland through a hole on halfway and the ball was worked back inside for Petri to drag Igor Klyuchnikov over the line, Wyles added the conversion.
Wyles missed the opportunity to extend the advantage as he failed with two penalty attempts, but the USA were in complete control of the game with Paul Emerick going close to adding a second try.
A torrential downpour greeted the teams as they emerged for the second half and Russia looked more at home in the testing conditions, with USA flyer Takudzwa Ngwenya needing to track back to prevent Klyuchnikov dotting down a Kushnarev cross-kick before the fly-half fell short with a tough penalty attempt.
The USA were soon back on the front foot and it took some desperate defence to stop Andrew Suniula sliding over after a slashing break, with Wyles then hitting the post with his latest penalty shot and pulling a drop goal attempt wide.
Bur Russia's ill-discipline was seeing them penalised with regularity by referee Dave Pearson, and another infringement saw Wyles hit the target to open up a 10-point lead as the game entered the final quarter.
Kushnarev missed a straightforward penalty inside the last 10 minutes, and although Rachkov did narrow the gap it was not enough as the USA held off a late Russian surge.
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