Another approach Russian scammers often use is to post their profiles on Direct-Connection Russian dating sites where there is little or no screening.
Or, in some cases, the girl writing you actually posts her own pictures.
By the way, you may notice some girls on multiple sites with matching pictures and descriptions.
But however it is that the dialog starts, the direct/email scam is nearly always done through "free media" (email, Skype, and/or some other instant messaging tool), not through "Pay-Per-Letter" services (more on that kind of scam at Agency Scams). She will sound like she's more and more in love with you with each passing email.
You are her special man, and she's stopped writing all other men from the site, told her family and friends all about you, etc., etc., etc.
Russian scammers are always coming up with new, creative, convincing twists to this basic story...
Like when you offer to buy her flight tickets for her she'll claim that a Russian law requires that she buy her own ticket, so she really just needs you to wire money.
It's half their life savings, you see, but they want their angel to be happy, and they know that she loves you and wants to be with you, so they will part with half their life savings... BUT, if you could wire her the money she will certainly repay you as soon as the problem is resolved...
shoot, even by the time she lands in your country mom/dad/grandmother/etc will have already wired the funds directly to you to repay.
Russian scammers may contact you first or you may write them first.