I think you guys are probably right as you can really burn through the power plant deck on this map as it is. Russia has a rule that whenever the first person passes for starting an auction in a given turn you remove the lowest plant from the market. This means that any turn that has at least one person pass on starting an auction you remove a plant (unless I got this rule wrong too? ... it could mean only if the start player passes but I read it as the first player to pass). Anyhow, we actually hit Step 3 on the same turn that we triggered Step 2 which I don't think I've ever seen before.
I think I have seen Step 3 that early, but I don't remember when. But in our first Russia play we were only replacing the lowest when the very first player passed, and we still ran out of plants at the end of the game!