Cmdr. Cracken, that's great. My respect to your grandfather!
LukA_YJK, something over same here.
My ancestors on father's line were Siberian Old Believers, they were large family with lot of children and almost all of family were died once during the Civil War of 1918-21 and then repressed because of they were against Communist power. Even now we don't know much about fate of some of them. When local "Communism era lovers" tells me about how good was that time of Stalin, i ask them how could it be when it was starvation... here, in Siberia! Here was no of famine and wars for centuries, especially when after Russians comes. Communists changed everything... to worst. So i have no reason to love them too.
Anyway, my great-grandfather there go to fight, he was crew member of Pe-2 tactical dive bomber, and grandfather was commander of self-propelled tank destroyers platoon (once SU-85 and then SU-100).
Mom's parents story was pretty sad too. Grandfather (father of my mother) was infantry captain, taken injured by Germans as POW in begin of 1942 near of Vyazma (same Rjev meat-grinder, you know...) and then escaped right from train of POWs in Belorussia. He joined to resistance group and when those group finally rejoined to bulk of Red Army troops, my grandfather was arrested. Welcome to Siberia, right? Grandfather find a way to report my grandmother about he is alive in compression camp, so she abandoned everything in Kostroma and goes to Siberia too. And then they decided to stay in Novosibirsk forever (right choice, more far from Moscow - less of idiots). Until now i can't understand those logic of Communists: was taken POW mean enemy of state.
But, anyway, it does not change my point of view on common role of all nations of the Soviet Union in War. Against World's most powerful external aggressor, with own hostile anti-people government and harsh casualties, they there won us right to live now anyway.