This unit is anything but underpowered. The problem is that the importance of 1v1 medium vs medium battles gets way overestimated a lot of the time. Mediums functioning as bruiser tanks fighting each other is quite rare because the vast majority of the time they are backed by double at guns.
You're suggesting that Sovs should go T2 if they want to use T34. That seems restrictive. Is it the design? Let's look.
T1: no AT gun, get T70, save, ramp up to T4, get Su85
T2: get AT gun, get T34, try to win with critical mass of T34, else get SU85
Sovs have that problem where if they go T1 and need AT they're forced to use penal PTRS, which is currently criticised as ineffective.
So I disagree with your assessment, and say that tanks need to be balanced FIRST against their opposite tank in the same tier, and then by other factors such as support and AT tech.
In those two areas the T34 is exceptionally good.
As described above, it's only good if you've chosen that path. Sovs get screwed hard by incorrect tech choices; that also might be part of the problem.
It was suggested in another thread to give cons PTRS, this might help.
with regards the ram changes
Ram needs to do something good if you're sac'ing a unit to use it. Instead of adjusting ram too much, the mod team should look at overall penetration rates in the faction as a whole, and bring it up to the next level by nerfing outstanding pen rates (su85) and buffing other incidental pen rates (mortars, maxim, 120mm, M3, etc). This would bring the average pen rate up holistically.