The study of urban agglomerations in the USSR is discussed, with a focus on their basic framework and role in settlement and on the various techniques used to define such agglomerations. "The present paper envisages a minimum population of 250,000 for the core city (or cities), maximum travel time of 1.5 to 2 hours to the core city, and a minimum value for a 'development coefficient' reflecting the population of the agglomeration and its structure in terms of urban places. The networks of agglomerations that existed at the time of the 1959 and 1970 censuses are analyzed and compared. The urban agglomerations are grouped into five classes of development levels and into three classes of growth rates. Intensive and extensive growth factors are discussed."