I'm with you Kim. A bastard for sure but a clever one. Betsy and Mike both said they admired how much preparation Russell put into the game. I've known some on-line gamers who are that involved in the schemes and those are the ones that win.
Iltarion: About Russell being a plant because he found the idol without a clue, look at the scene where he finds it once more. Just as he is seen looking at the tree, we very clearly see Ben with war paint on! That was supposed to be before they even got tree mail.
Then, some viewers with Hi-def say that Ben's shiner is clearly visible when Russell walks over to the tree:
and Mike is nowhere to be seen, maybe already medevaced when Russell is reaching in the tree:
My take is that Russell found the idol after Yasmin came to Fouey Fouey and either stole her clue or Yasmin asked someone for help, most likely Jaison and then Jaison shared with Russell. That would explain why Russell told Jaison and why Jaison was limping (challenge injury) when Russell told him.
PS: About: "Richard would have won any season he played had it been his first. He was certainly smart enough for that.