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Russian alternative of living: kommunalka

Posted by nlpit on 4 November 2007

A kommunalka is an interesting phenomenon from our point of view.
This type of living is still very “popular” in St. Petersburg and Moscow.

In a kommunalka there live many families in one flat.
The kitchen, bathroom, WC, corridors are shared.

Taking care of common facilities
On the wall there is list of duties.
E.g. On the 1 st. week family Ivanov cleans the common facilities, on the 2nd week family Petyhov , on the 3rd week family Popov….

A corridor in a kommunalka

A corridor of a kommunalka
Sometimes the common space is used for storing things. At the end of a corridor there is a common phone.

A phone
A kommunalka has a common phone. Phone costs are divated according to number of residents. Long distance calls are exeption. They are charged according to use. The situation is changing because of mobilephones.

Kommunalkan keittiö
A kitchen
In a kommunalka there is usually one kitchen and because there are living many families one have to remember this when it is time to cook. In a kitchen there is one cooker (sometimes more). The space of the room is shared between the families. The whole cupboard on the left belongs to family Ivanov, the table on the right and the cupboard above it belong to family Popov, the cupboard above the sink and the nail beside it belong to family Petyhov as well as the space in front of the window….
Fridges and freezers are also kept in living rooms and corridors. The place depends on who is the neighbour.
Meals are cooked in the kitchen and eaten in the living room.

WC
Kommunalkan WC

Hopefully there are not many people who have stomach problems at the same time.
Every family has their own toilet paper, so before you are going use the toilet it is a good idea to ask which toilet paper is your host’s.

Kommunalkan kylpyhuone

The bath room
The space in the bathroom is also shared between the residents. It is easy to imagine how easy it is to find time for a bath if there are living many people in a kommunalka. Usually the pipes are very bad and the pressure of the water is too low on mornings and on evenings.

It is very common that relationships between residents are bad. Think about the situation that one of the residents is an alcoholic or a drug dealer.

If somebody is not happy living in Finland it would be a good idea to try living for a while in a kommunalka:)

Below some photos of a typical house and its neighbourhood in the center of St.P.
Piha näkymiä
Piha näkymiä
Piha näkymiä
Piha näkymiä
Piha näkymiä

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