Communal apartment

Communal Apartment

Communal apartment

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A communal apartment or kommunalka () appeared in the Soviet Union after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, as a product of the “new collective vision of the future” and as a response to the housing crisis in urban areas. A communal apartment typically consisted of an apartment shared between two to seven families. Each family had it own room, which served as a living room, dining room, and bedroom for the entire family. The hallways, kitchen, bathroom and telephone were shared among all the residents. Adele Barker and Bruce Grant, The Russia Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Durham: Duke University Press, 2010), 615.

The History of the Communal Apartment

The Rise of the Communal Apartment

In the twentieth century, the USSR undertook “intensive industrialization and urbanization,” shifting from eighty percent of the population living in rural villages and towns at the time of the Revolution, to nearly the same percentage living in cities by the 1990s. People were driven from the countryside by poverty, collectivization, and Soviet industrialization campaigns. This exodus put enormous pressure on existing urban...
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