Many Americans stereotype Russians as Soviets. That is probably by far the largest stereotype.
As Soviets, Americans have some of the following misconceptions: spys, communists, alcoholics (primarily Stolichnaya vodka), poor, ice hockey, gymnastics, wrestling, weight lifting, organized crime (the rise of Russian and former Soviet mobsters with the collapse of the Soviet Union), boxing, large bodies / overweight, threatening nuclear war, MIG fighter jets, Red Square, Orthodox Christians.
Because many of us have never encountered any Soviets or Russians, we tend to be fearful and watchful of them. Hollywood producers financed several movies depicting the negative stereotypes of Russians / Soviets. Just to name a few . . . . . Rocky IV, Spies Like Us, Rambo & Iron Eagle (can't remember which ones, though, since a few sequels were made of both), The Saint, From Russia With Love, The Bourne Supremacy.
I lived in Iceland, when Mr. Gorbachev met with then-President Reagan, back in the winter of '86. At the time, they were Soviets. The company I worked for, a few years ago, hires foreign nationals to work at some of its stores during the summer months. Over a couple of the summers, I had the opporunity to work with some young men and women from the former Czech Republic, the former Yugoslavia, and a couple of other eastern European nations. All of them were born Soviets. I never had a problem with them. In fact, a few of the guys from the Czech Republic befirended me, and while they attempted to teach me Czech, I attempted to teach them some Spanish and Icelandic. Aside from an accent, slightly different hair and clothing styles, they were just like me. They had aspirations of a better life, liked to listen to their music loud, like to throw back a few drinks and hang out with friends and family.
Our media (the news, newspapers, magazines, TV, movies, radio, etc.) uses propaganda to create our sense of fear of the Soviets. Unless they have done something to you or your loved ones, then there is no need to fear them or hate them.
Another example of this is the idea that we are supposed to fear / hate Iranians, because of the Ayatollah. One of my former professors is from Iran, and she is just as sweet as can be. She showed us pictures of Iran, and if you didn't know what you were viewing, you would think you were looking at pics of America.
In the end, we all are guilty of stereotyping and having some predujice about some group of people. According to sociologists, it is because of the media and family, primarily. Though it isn't right, it is a part of our lives. We just have to work harder at righting those wrongs and making our decisions on the basis of our own experiences, not those of others.