I'm Russian and for me Brazil is associated with football - Gylmar, Pelé, Ronaldo.
Besides, the first soap-operas that had been broadcasted in USSR, were from Latin America.
For example, the very first one was from Brazil - the famous Escrava Isaura :)
I know that Portuguese is a Romance language and that it's wide-spread. But in Russia the most popular Romance languages are French and Italian.