Sorry guys...from my limited experience in this game, the Soviets are hopeless. Too hopeless. Not even that...they might as well surrender from the outset.
I've now played them several times and nothing lasts more than a turn against the German panzer units. One hit kills. I've tried inf corps spamming. Upgrades. Armor. Commanders. Nothing seems to work. The last game I purchased only Inf Corps. Not 1 PP spent on anything else. I lasted until Spring '42 when they took Leningrad, Moscow & Stalingrad on the same turn and I had nothing left on the map expect one fighter unit. It wasn't that they pushed me back, or executed an excellent breakthrough. No, it's just one hit and dead. One hit and dead. Until there's nothing left and they walk into my major cities.
Maybe it's just me, but I know from playing other WWII strategic level games that if the East Front doesn't play correctly, the simulation doesn't work. The majority of the German cause is decided in the east and therefore it needs to be spot on.
Furthermore, playing such a defense where one has no chance to retreat, counterattack, etc is just not fun. I felt like I was playing a game of Arkanoid and I was the blocks.
Is my experience abnormal?
I might add I've only tried it on normal. No changes to the stock set up.
Make wargames, not war.