So, I recently started reading a book called One Chilly Siberian Morning, which is about English journalists that had the opportunity to visit towns in the Siberian regions of the Soviet Union during the early 1960s. Something that constantly shocks me is the shear size of both the Soviet Union and Siberia. He reads from some Russian publications on his flight to Omsk that the Soviet Union is 8,600,000 sq/mi in size- almost 3 times bigger than the United States. It would take the express trains in those days more than a week to travel from Moscow to Vladivostock on the Pacific Coast.
Siberia was about half the size of the Soviet Union. One region alone, Yakutia, was five times the size of France.
I'm only about halfway through this book, but I would recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about how the towns outside of the main cities function- including ethic cultures as well as technological advancements. Some of the towns that they visited were becoming "modernized" for the first time in about a century, but many still remain unchanged.