In a large pot, add water and boil the potatoes for 5 minutes then add the cabbage and bay leaves. Cook until the potatoes and cabbage are tender but not overcooked.
In a pan, heat oil and saute the onion with grated carrot and beets. Cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat then add a little bit of water and cover with a lid. Cook until the beet is tender.
Add half of the sauteed onion, carrot, and beet to the potato and cabbage.
Season with salt, and add sugar and white vinegar. Give it a quick mix and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the rest of the onion, carrot, and beet mixture to the soup. Remove from heat, and add crushed garlic. Cover with a lid and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Serve with crusty bread, and a dollop of Smetana, sour cream, or Greek yogurt.