Last night I was discussing this anniversary with a sibling, who rolled his eyes and said, "Conversion of Rus? What a joke. More like lining people up at gunpoint!" Of course, different times, different techniques, I guess. But wouldn't we be horrified if our leaders would decide our religious fate and force all citizens of say, the USA, to line up and receive Islam, or even any stripe of Christianity?
Well, Vladimir had the idols destroyed...then again, he put them up in the first place. But in general :
The Prince shared the apostolic work of the Greek bishops and priests who went about the towns and villages spreading the true Faith which thousands willingly embraced, although many remained stuck in the mire of paganism. Vladimir grieved for them, but knew that enlightenment was not to be achieved with a sword, Instead, he established schools where even children of the poorest families could learn to read the Scripture and be trained as priests.
Not to suggest that freedom of religion was the norm a thousand years ago, but as far as I know the saints have always held that you can only truly convert someone by example and persuasion.