Chapter

Communal living by default

Lynne Attwood

in Gender and Housing in Soviet Russia

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780719081453
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701768 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719081453.003.0008
Communal living by default

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This chapter explores the various forms of housing available in the cities in the 1930s. It concentrates on the so-called ‘communal apartment’ which became one of the defining features of Stalin's Russia. The conditions in barracks and hostels were hardly conducive to ‘cultured’ living. Given the conditions in barracks and hostels, it was comparative luxury for a family to have a room of its own in a ‘communal apartment’ or kommunalka. The communal apartment facilitated state control over citizens, and even persuaded them to participate in the process. The housing crisis inevitably had a major impact on personal relations. Housing management had played a major role in identifying candidates for disenfranchisement during the first Five Year Plan, but their role diminished with the introduction in December 1932 of the so-called internal passport. Disenfranchisement was brought to an end in 1936.

Keywords: communal apartment; Stalin; Russia; barracks; hostels; housing crisis; housing management; internal passport; disenfranchisement

Chapter.  7518 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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