An own-goal from Michael Boxall and Fedor Smolov's second-half strike sealed all three points for new coach Stanislav Cherchesov's side as the tournament hosts impressed at the Krestovsky Stadium.
Russia's Fedor Smolov, center, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the Confederations, Cup Group A soccer match between Russia and New Zealand, at the St.Petersburg stadium in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturd.
In the 69th minute, Russian Federation scored again when Smolov started a move on the halfway line, passed the ball wide to the right to Alexander Samedov and Smolov sprinted in to the penalty area to score from five yards.
In the tournament's opening game at Saint Petersburg Stadium and with President Vladimir Putin, FIFA chief Gianni Infantino and football legend Pele all in attendance, Russian Federation made the winning start to the tournament that was widely expected of them against a lower-ranked New Zealand team.
Although New Zealand proved they could also be unsafe on a few occasions, Russian Federation clearly dominated the game from start to finish.
Smolov had an effort ruled out for offside before the opening goal arrived just after the half-hour mark.
In the case of Eduardo Vargas' goal at the end of the first half - even after multiple replays - there is simply no justifiable way in which you could say that the original decision to award the goal was clearly wrong.
"I believe we will have the same team as we did in this game against Portugal".
"We'll try to be better than this", Wood said after their easiest game on paper, with upcoming games against CONCACAF champions Mexico before a showdown with Portugal.
"I would say that such technology can bring us more justice in football but right now it's still a little hard for the players".
Glushakov dinked the ball over goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic, before being in a three-man race with two New Zealand defenders who were rushing back to clear the ball off the line.
Ipswich's Tommy Smith was then on hand to keep Russian Federation at bay as the defender cleared Dmitry Poloz's effort.
Portugal ended 2-2 with Mexico and, perhaps fortunately for FIFA, Chile beat Cameroon 2-0.
Chile could open Confederations Cup campaign without two leading players.
Ten minutes before kickoff, both teams lined up in front of the main stand to listen speeches by Putin and FIFA President Gianni Infantino. The president prefers ice hockey and saw a team that carried fervent hopes of an Olympic title lose on home ice in the quarterfinals at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.