Russification did happen in a few areas, I'm not disputing that, and I don't justify it either. Incidentally Moldova has always had a significant Slavic population that goes way back before the Ottoman times, and where you have two civilizations there are always questions of who's who. What happened to Slavs in the early 90's in Moldova is worse, I'd say, than what happened during the 19th century. Anyway, another topic and no need to start inter-Orthodox arguing here, there's plenty of it to go around...
There was never any era in history that was free of sin and tragedy. But we can certainly look up to certain eras for an inspiration. The Byzantine era is one of them. Oh sure, plenty of grief and trouble, schisms, etc, we can dig around and find it all. But without Byzantium Orthodoxy wouldn't be spread to where it is today, we wouldn't have had the ecumenical councils, the hesychasts, etc.
Pre-revolutionary Russia also had flaws, i.e. the way the old believer schism was handled, the Synodal period when Peter abolished the patriarchate and subordinated it to a civilian figure, etc. But without pre-revolutionary Russia there would be no St. Herman of Alaska, no St. Nikolai of Tokyo, no Optina elders, and no new martyrs and confessors of Russia (who were mostly educated in the Tsarist era), just to mention a few things. Also, countless other Orthodox civilizations wouldn't exist because of the Ottoman empire, which Russia played the most major role in keeping in check (remember that France and Britain formed alliances with the Porte on occasion). St. Theodore Ushakov, naval commander, deserves much credit here.
Furthermore, the traditions engendered in those societies as previously mentioned are rooted in Orthodoxy. Something as simple as removing your hat and not whistling in a room because icons are present. Anyone who reads Russian or Greek literature that talks about people's daily lives will find these little "pointer" traditions - small things we do outside of prayer and worship on a frequent basis that remind us of our faith. Granted, a number of these traditions in Russia have grown weaker thanks to communism's influence, but they're fast on their way back in faithful communities.
Incidentally, what concerns cross cultural influences you can still see to this day a noticeable Hellenic influence in Russian culture which came by way of Orthodoxy. This extends to language, the cyrillic script (esp. in its original form), custom, and symbolism (i.e. the emblem of Russia and Serbia is the double headed eagle). If we removed all the Greek influences in Russian culture, it would be considerably different - moreso different than American or British culture would be.
When an entire country accepts Orthodoxy on masse, the culture takes on an Orthodox dynamic of its own. This is exactly what happened in Byzantium, old Rus, Serbia, etc.
When only a small group accepts Orthodoxy, it is a minority, a true counter culture like it was in pagan Rome. I do not believe at this point there will be a Constantine the Great for America, the very thought of adopting a state religion goes against the base principles this country was founded on. In essence it will always be difficult for Orthodox in America to "christify" their surrounding culture, because the main flow of the culture will be going in a different direction, be it protestant and catholic, or worst of all, secularist.
Russia, after a 70 year atheist regime, is steadfastly coming back to Orthodoxy, and it is thanks to the examples of pre-revolutionary Russia and its culture that Russians can rebuild what was destroyed. Without this, it would take considerably LONGER. America, unfortunately, needs more time to reach that critical mass.
There will always be a tendency in America to view Orthodoxy as a Greek flavored Catholicism, and no amount of beard shaving, calendar 'adjusting', pew building, organ playing, liturgy shortening, or language simplification is ever going to change that. Even if the late Salvadore Dali redesigned the altar and vestments, it's not going to make a run for the Orthodox church. As a matter of fact I think all of the things I mentioned here make it LESS attractive. We need to emphasise what makes us different, not try to blend in. Buddhism is big in some circles because in part it is an ethnic experience of sorts.
If people don't like the Greek or Russian influences in Orthodoxy, that means they're too proud to accept Orthodoxy for what it is. Our people helped build the church, we spilt blood for it, and it is only meet that we leave a part of our culture in there. Otherwise how different are we from paganistic organizations like "Russian National Unity", who began rewriting the gospel to remove all "Jewish influences" in it? Yes, you will meet people out there who will say "I don't want to believe in Orthodoxy because Christianity is a Jewish religion". What are you going to say to that?