There exists a geographic point where two of the largest countries in the world, Russia (ranked as the largest country in the world at 6,601,670 square miles) and the United States (ranked as the fourth largest country in the world at 3,677,649 square miles) are only separated by a short distance but time wise are 21 hours apart.
Where are the United States and Russia the Closest Geographically?
The closest geographic point between the borders of the United States and Russia lies in the Bering Strait located in the Pacific Ocean. Located between midland Siberia and the state of Alaska are two small islands. Separating the two islands is the International Date Line (IDL) which is also the border between Russia and the United States. A mere 2.4 miles (3.8 kilometers) separates the two islands. The larger island is known as Big Diomedes is the easternmost point in Russia. The smaller island is known as Little Diomedes and is within the United States’ border.
Separated by 21 Hours
Since the IDL separates the two islands, they are also referred to as Tomorrow Island and Yesterday Isle. Tomorrow Island (Big Diomedes) is 21 hours ahead of Yesterday Isle (Little Diomedes) although some people erroneously think these two islands are separated by 23 hours.
The political separation occurred when the United States purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867 and a new border was drawn between the two islands.
Learn More about the Diomedes Islands
This video provides some interesting trivia about the Diomedes Islands.