"Russia" simply did not exist in 988. What St. Volodymyr baptized was Rus', i.e. present-day Ukraine, a union of eastern Slavic tribes. Lands that are known today as "Rossiya" (translated into English as "Russia") were, back then, populated by Ugro-Finnish tribes (Merya, Ves', Chud', Muromya, Erzya, etc. etc. etc.) Even in the 12th century, chronicles witness that princes of Moskva (Finnish for "rotten water") and Suzdal were "going to war on Rus' " (i.e. on what is currently Ukraine).
And yes, of course, all the embellishment nonwithstanding, Rus', as well as (much later) the Ugro-Finnish Muscovy, were baptized by brutal, murderous violence. That's just the truth.