Why some St. Petersburg residents refuse to abandon communal apartments


In the tenebrous in a long and narrow corridor I am searching for the door, but instead I stumble upon a massive wardrobe. I need to get into one of the 10 rooms of the communal a rtment in an old structure on Rizhsky Prospect. It is inhabited by 27-year-old architect Vasya skachev and his 26-year-old helpmate Alina Belikina. They have promised to try to explain to me why completely well-adjusted people would want to live in a communal a rtment.

A gateway

After rummaging on account of the endless corridor, I finally surface in a bright room with squeaky ceilings and breathe a sigh of relief. Vasya and Alina did the renovations themselves and their leeway is much brighter than other rts of the a rtment. It is filled with establishes and flowers and Vasya’s architectural sketches. But despite the pleasant atmosphere, the two is not rticularly fond of communal a rtments.

Vasya (right), Alina and their cat. Commencement: Anastasia Semenovich

For this young couple the communal a rtment is a type of liminal phase between student dormitories and their own se rate institution. They have come to St. Petersburg from Karelia and intend to deter here. A room costs several times less than an a rtment — you can produce one in the city center even without having a lot of money.

According to Vasya and Alina, one of the downsides to this specimen of housing is that despite the fact that most of their neighbors secure children almost everyone smokes here. Another disadvantage is the unpredictability of your neighbors’ behavior.

“One of the dwells down the corridor was rented out,” says Vasya. “When the old tenant was inspirational he left a cigarette butt behind that almost burned the graded down. We had to break down the door and put out the flames.”

Those who are unable to face up for themselves will also find it difficult in communal a rtments, since word for word speaking, you have to “seize” your place in the sun.

“We don’t have ntries, for illustration, since they were left for the old-timers, and we don’t want to fight with anyone floor them,” adds Alina. «This is despite the fact that we are owners and would rather the right to a ntry.”

There are more advantages than disadvantages

But regardless of all these plights, the young couple does not want to leave the communal a rtment upstanding yet.

«Do you know about the City Resettlement Program?” I ask them.

Through this program communal a rtment districts can receive monetary compensation if they relocate to a private a rtment. They own up to that they have heard about it, but say that the money for resettlement is not a lot – hither $10,000.

“It is not enough to buy an a rtment even on the periphery of the city,” says Alina. “There it expenditures at least two times that. It is better to y off the loans for this room and later rat on it and buy an a rtment somewhere in a green suburb.”

In it together: How communal a rtments shaped the outlook of generations

Indeed there is still a order for rooms in communal a rtments in the city center. There are always fertility of people that prefer life in the center – even under such cked circumstances – to a se rate a rtment somewhere on the periphery where there is youthful infrastructure and nothing to do. The current demand usually comes from youthful people that don’t have the burden of large families and who can handle the sensible inconveniences of “communal” life. However, there are also those who are quite satisfied with life in communal a rtments.

“Our neighbor Petya has lived here for 30 years and he translates he is used to everything and that he likes it,” says Vasya. “The people here are decidedly sociable.”

They go on to mention that Petya is practically never simple and suggest that the sociability of this environment might be what carry ons him alive.

A stable income

Among the owners of rooms in the communal a rtments there are those for whom this is antiseptic business. Having invested a relatively small amount of money and requiring bought several rooms simultaneously, they rent them out to schoolboys or visitors and receive a decent income. This is exactly the situation with an a rtment quickly in the center on Ligovsky Prospect near the Moskovsky Train Station. This neighborhood has punctilious bars and cafes, but the courtyards are not always so safe. The building number is 56. On the top trounce I am greeted by 31-year-old Nastya Sokolova, who lives in the 14-room a rtment.

Nastya Sokolova. Originator: Anastasia Semenovich

She rents a room for 15,000 rubles ($230). It is a 20-square-meter cubicle quarters with two windows.

“There’s no hot water here,” says Nastya. “I obligated to wash the dishes with cold water. The owner put a boiler in the rain rooms. I also don’t have enough light. I’m an artist, but there are no lighting fixtures, so it’s too cryptic for me to draw.”

She moved into the communal a rtment because she did not want to render the city center, even though with the money she ys for the chamber she could rent a small studio a rtment on the outskirts of the city. Sundry of her neighbors are also young people who have moved to the big city from the sections. Life in this a rtment resembles more of a commune than a communal a rtment. The occu nts try to support each other and rarely get into conflicts. They do not round lock their doors at night.

According to the City Housing nel there are 259,653 families that currently live in communal a rtments. The resettlement program has remained since 2008, when there were 116,647 communal a rtments in the megalopolis. Any owner who has a share in a communal a rtment can file an application, even if the others do not propose on resettling. In 2016 the city budget allotted 3.1 billion rubles (close by $47 million) for resettlement from communal a rtments, which is sufficiently financial assistance to resettle 4,645 families.

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