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Hotels in Moscow and St. Petersburg

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OK, I've never been to Russia and have now booked a One World pass which ends up with my having 6 nights in St. Petersburg and 8 nights in Moscow in August (of course I could do SOME nights outside the cities -- suggestions welcome).
I'm traveling alone and am shocked at prices (now I read more and I guess I shouldn't be shocked) Most hotel searches here are 3 year old and older posts. But honestly -- while there are many hotels for $400 - $500 a night for a single, and there are a number of hostels with shared baths for around $50 a night -- is there really nothing in between? I found a few recommended three or two star hotels which seemed "tolerable" but nothing very nice and they are still around $300. Is it really not possible to find a decent place with private facilities in a close in location for around $150 or so? Or even $200 if necessary?

Is there a good booking agency with good discounts? Any specific suggestions? The thought of nearly $6000 for two weeks worth of hotel nights for one person is really throwing me here.

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