I don’t think it has entirely been abandoned. Still plenty of mines out there, though I hear that now they just move the forced laborers there during the summer instead of keeping them there in the winter as well. To be honest though, I can’t help but feel they are there mostly to have som claim over the area until railroads can be built to some non-irradiated port. Or to get rid of the people. I obviously have no way of knowing, but I assume there are some bunkers built in the area to attack China with if the need ever arose or if they tried to claim to much land officially The last things they would want is for the Chinese to get their own airfields closer to Russian populated lands. Do we think Mongolia would still be around in this world with the Soviets and Chinese presumably burying the hatchet, perhaps with Mongolia going to China in exchange for the small areas the Soviets claimed for themselves? Though they would need to agree upon their entire border, so the Chinese didn’t also claim Uryankhay and everything up to Lake Balkhash as I saw in some books in college.