- carried out his orders blindly and without thinking ( see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battles_of_Rzhev where he blindly sent several hundred thousand troops into fortified German position - if you send your forces up the same road for two months straight without gaining any advances, wouldn't you at least try to find an alternate route that the enemy doesn't expect you to use? ) ,
- was very hungry for fame and glory (I can't find references now, but it was his initial reports to higher command during the first few days after 1941-06-22 that led Stalin to believe the German invasion was already mostly contained and delayed Russian defense deployments. In addition, Stalin demoted Zhukov later, citing "attributes others' achievements to himself" as a significant reason.), and
- was generally vain, sadistic and incompetent. Several high ranking officials and civilians reported his attitude towards his subordinates as nothing less than disgusting.
Of course with one million Soviet soldiers in Stalingrad, there bounded to be many heros, but Zhukov was the top commander in charge of the defense. Even if he's not on the street fighting, he can claim some credit.
What does being "hungry for fame and glory", "vain, sadistic and incompetent. Several high ranking officials and civilians reported his attitude towards his subordinates as nothing less than disgusting." or "in charge of Totsk nuclear testing" has anything to do with being a great guy because he beated the Nazis.
God knows what would happened if they had managed to occupy Russia!
He had nothing to do with the Stalingrad breakthrough, and he wasted two whole tank armies in Berlin because he was too daft to see that narrow, barricaded and rubble-filled streets are not the best place for tanks. Such a great guy.
Excusing the Russians' war atrocities simply because they beat the Germans is quite like picking the frying pan instead of the fire - they are both very bad, just one is somewhat worse than the other. (Then again, I'm from the Baltic states, where we were actually stuck with the Russians until 1990, so I am probably biased.)
Did the Nazis have long distance bombers that could actually destroy the industrial complexes in Ural or further to the East? I am not aware of any.