matclone and others beware of jpv's description on that site
I still check out that other site and I saw jpv stating that going over to Belarus or Moldova would give one a good view of Soviet life.
This is no more correct than going to New Orleans or to Harlem in New York City would give one a clear view of American life.
Moldova was always one of the poorer Republics (in my view very beautiful though in a stern and innocent way of looking at it) and Belarus never got anything going on its own after Soviet collapse.
Moldova had half of its population immigrate to Romania and elsewhere and it is in a very dire situation right now. Americans don't know much about it because Moldova is of no interest or harm to America.
So, no Belarus and Moldova are not good indicators at all of how Soviet life was.
I lived at a sports camp in Moldova for two summers and even then Russians from a big city were treated in Moldova as Westerners.