Free databases are aplenty on the Internet. You just have to find them. I have been amazed by the amount of information posted online that allows me to avoid bothering Russian and Ukrainian archive offices.
I am adding a new page called Free Databases. You’ll be amazed by what can be found online for free. I have found websites for fallen Soviet soldiers of World War II, military award citations for Soviet soldiers of WWII and Soviets persecuted and killed during communist times. The Book of Memory, a publication that lists civilians who died during WWII, for various regions of Russia and Ukraine are free online.
Thanks to these databases, I have found information on a cousin’s disappearance as a soldier in WWII, my grand uncle’s military award citation and a list of several possible cousins who died as civilians during WWII. All of these sites are free and do not require registration, but you will need to know how to spell family names, villages, towns and cities in Russian and Ukrainian. Try this website- translit.cc– for retyping family names, birthplaces and residences into Russian and Ukrainian.
I will update the Free Databases page as I find new resources. Please make any suggestions for the page in the comments section.