My father fought the evil of fascism, but he was taken advantage of by another evil. He and millions of Soviet soldiers, sailors and airmen, virtual slaves, brought the world not liberation but another slavery. The people sacrificed everything for victory, but the fruits of this victory were less freedom and more poverty.
The above paragraph by Mikhail Shishkin published as part of his opinion piece in the New York Times several days ago, I think, is the quintessential summary of Russia and WWII. It does not deny the victory of the Russian people, yet it also does not deny their involvement in bringing misery to many more.
To admit this requires a strength and a humility to look into the face of evil, see yourself, and not be consumed or capitulate to it. This is something that all of us, at some point or another have to do when confronting our own past, because no one has an unblemished history.
Related link: How Russians Lost the War ~ New York Times