In a current game I’m playing the German player straifed the three border territories of Russia, but did not advance. It allowed me to take Finland and NW Persia 1st turn with taking Norway/Iraq 2nd turn. At the end of the 2nd turn I made 50 IPCs while Germany made 48… So in some sense being able to take out Axis Neutrals early helped Russia- we will see how it goes as the turns go on.
The problem with the German strategy isn’t that they attacked G1, but rather they failed to vacuum the Russian units toward them by leaving the tank bait on the front. The idea of strafing in order to take out 7 infantry, while saving the tanks is diluting the purpose of a G1… which is to force the Russians to do the right thing and kill German tanks, which sets up an attack to take out even more Russian Infantry close to home without chasing them across 4 territories. After that, if the Russians want to go to the middle east, or try and take Finland… thats OK. However, when the Germans strafe, there is no reason for the Russians to move forward, which buys Russia the time that a G1 attack was meant to take away from them in the first place.