I recommend you copy this to your memory if planning to travel from Moscow to St. Petersburg and further north to the Kola Peninsula.
The most straight-forward way is to take the Moscow to Saint-Petersburg highway, and then to travel between lakes Onega and Ladoga. Or take a detour to Rzhev and Pskov, which are sites of fierce WW2 battles. Or go west through the “Golden Ring”, bypassing Lake Onega from East. Then 2/3 of your trip will be through deserted territory. Make Staritsa your stopover point if horse riding may interest you. Although I’ve removed myself from active participation in this rural silliness the projects is still alive and well without me. See Horse riding and the dacha experience.