The only way to retire in Russia is to obtain residency – first temporary, and then permanent. Residents do not require a work permit to work.
The process requires extensive paperwork and takes six to twelve months. You must first apply for temporary residency, which you must hold for two years before you can apply for permanent residency. Permanent residents enjoy few restrictions and most rights of Russian citizens (except the right to vote). Temporary residents, on the other hand, are restricted from seeking employment outside the region they are registered in, and must apply for exit visas (a 2-week minimum process) if they wish to leave Russia, and, of course, entry visas to return to Russia.
There is an annual quota for applications for residency. You are encouraged to submit your papers the first business day after New Year’s and Christmas holidays to ensure they are accepted. If you have a Russian spouse or were born on the territory of the former Soviet Union, you may be able to apply outside of the quota.