Robbie, I don't know if this helps, but I also heard horror stories about shipping direct to Vladivostok. To get around this I shipped from Oz to Busan, rode up the Korean Peninsula and then took the ferry from Sokcho to Zarubino (just South of Vladivostok).
Getting the bike into Korea was a breeze - took around 1/2 an hour for celarance, and getting the bike (with all my luggage including riding gear, camping eqpt and spares) into Russia took around 1/2 a day.
Yes, there is an additional cost because you have to pay for insurance for Korea and for the ferry journey, but costs addd up very quickly in Vladivostok - allow yourself $100-150 per day for on ground expenses, and I have heard of people waiting up to 2 weeks to get clearance.
Garry from Oz - powered by Burgman