The fact that it is possibly a crime in Russia to ask such a question speaks volumes about the political climate in that country.
On a more practical level, one can dispute whether its underpinnings are correct. "... to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people..." is not a known fact. A great many sources have noted that Hitler's plan for the East included leveling the great cities and forcing the inhabitants into the countryside to slave or starve. It's not a given that a surrender would have saved any lives at all.
Given the nature of the Nazi occupation, it's a very open question that surrender spared many lives at all even among the military forces.