That’s the general idea, basically summarizing the prospect that the Soviet player can and should push Germany back. I think what a lot of people tend to forget is when stripping all the other outside factors away, you and Germany are both tit for tat in natural gaining IPC’s, with Germany gaining 31 and you as the USSR getting 30 so it’s not a drastically different match up in strength then what people make it out to be.
As for Japan and the Pacific theater, I definitely see where you’re coming from and I think to lay the baseline down for exactly how the Axis are meant to win, the way I play it is the Axis are required to take every city in the old world, except for London, since taking London is practically out of the question of the possibility for either setup of the game, meaning the Axis need to take 12 victory cities in total to win, I think this is a very marginalized and fair victory condition.
One thing that I honestly discovered that I hadn’t seen before when played as the United States and the UK in the Pacific was just how vastly different the style of combat is then what you see in the Atlantic side of the map. With each island holding special significance to it’s controller, especially if National Objectives are on, it means that Japan needs to be actively using their navy to screen the Pacific ocean and provide atleast one infantry for each island under their control. All in all, even on mainland China as well as the island fighting either side will primarily fight with infantry and fighters and maybe a tank or artillery. Now obviously the Americans won’t go full speed into the Pacific that would be a waste of valuable resources and the Americans dont need to put up that much offense anyway to the Japanese. My point being, all the Americans need to mount an offensive and island hop in the Pacific is a few infantry and an artillery/tank to start liberating islands, and, as I touched on the idea earlier, it emphasizes these islands all the more to be protected due to their value that they hold with National Objective money. Should the Japanese dedicate wave after wave of land forces to try to take Moscow and they neglect the big bad 3 in the Pacific. Though, as you said, this idea can vastly vary between whether or not you do play with National Objectives so it ultimately comes down to the circumstances for which the players have agreed upon.