Here's a bit more info. about Siberia - the place where my mom (the daughter of a kulak) was exiled as a child in 1930. A dozen quick facts ...
1. Siberia is bigger than Canada.
2. The name Siberia comes from the word sibir which means sleeping (or calm) land
3. The Trans Siberian Railroad was built between 1891 and 1905 and is still the major east/west transportation route. Today it takes 7 days to take the complete journey.
4. Coniferous forests - called taiga - cover 40% of Siberia.
5. Tundra (treeless), steppes (grasslands) and mountains make up the rest of Siberia.
6. Siberia is rich in natural resources including: oil, coal, gold and diamonds.
7. Siberia's Lake Baikal, the largest fresh-water lake in the world, has several unique fish varieties.
8. Novosibirsk- the largest city in Siberia - was basically created by Stalin's industrial ambitions. Other major cities include: Omsk, Tomsk, Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk.
9. Average temperatures range from -40 F. in the winter to 100 F. in the summer.
10. Siberia has been used as a place of 'exile' since the 1700s. (Dostoyevsky spent four years in exile at Omsk in 1849.)
10. Siberia's population doubled between 1914 and 1946 because of forced 'resettlement' - this included many kulaks.
11. Siberia was home to the gulag system which was brought to the world's attention by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's writings.
12. Today Siberia is becoming a tourist destination because of its vast natural beauty.
More about the gulag another time.