The Squid is Russia’s third most popular opening but is only used 7.8% of the time, making it 23rd overall. If ever there was a squid that the rest of the Diplomacy board should fervently wish to be left to dream then this is it.
Most popular of the Northern openings by Russia, it is one of the strongest starts in the game and has only limited vulnerability to all but a combined Austria-Turkey (or insane German) attack. So many players ask the question “Should I open North?” without having any paradigm in which to answer the question: what are you trying to achieve? What benefit does the army have in the South over the North? Who are you allied with? Where are you fighting?
Once an understanding of these questions is reached the move to St Petersburg starts to look more and more reasonable. The bounce in Black Sea protects Sevastopol against treachery, and a move to Galicia means Ukraine can easily cover Warsaw. Rumania may be at risk, but this is not unique to this opening.
England will be annoyed, but so what? England will be annoyed when you build in StP anyhow, or will simply attack you as being weak if you put no second unit in the North. And Germany and France are certain to be positively influenced by your opening, as are your Southern Neighbours.
Whether this opening is better or worse than the closely related Octopus is a matter of personal taste, but the family of openings involving A Mos – StP are simply too good not to have a deep understanding of. As a new player you could do far worse than making this your default opening as Russia – it has challenges and requires universal engagement, but there is no better way to learn the game and the strengths of the opening give you every chance to have a successful game.