The Anthropology of Soviet Communal Living and Post-Soviet City
Ilya UtekhinEuropean University in St. Petersburg
April 21, 2015
Ukrainian Catholic University, Lviv
The appearance of communal living, inhabited by a large part of the urban population of the USSR, a result of the Soviet housing policy upheld by the paternalistic state, became a means of control and encouragement. In communal living, where residents were not owners, and there was no source of order, living conditions required interaction with neighbours and maintaining public places in an acceptable condition. Formed practices reflect a specific "communal mentality," which is characterized not only by mutual support and a "sense of community," but also jealousy, paranoid suspicion, and special configuration of the borders between private and public life. Communal livings have not disappeared from the map of today's Russian cities, but the social composition of the residents has changed. A room in communal living is the most affordable type of housing, often in the city center. How can "communal" stereotypes about public space appear in modern urban residents? Where else do they occur outside the living, where people live in separate apartments?
Сover Image: Ilya Utekhin