|Communal Living in Russia: Documents|
|One resident denounces a neighbor to foreign consulates in order to keep her from going abroad.|
|Basic Facts and Background|
Denunciations of one resident by another, typical of Soviet times, can still occur. In this denunciation, which mimics an official letter, we see a Soviet-style enumeration of sins.
We cannot judge the extent to which the information provided in the denunciation is true. In principle, there is nothing unusual about a resident who steals, comes home intoxicated, or engages in prostitution. In a small apartment taking action against such a resident is difficult.
According to the Soviet view of things, the absence of a steady job is indication of a serious moral flaw: if you do not work, you are living at others' expense.
"Promiscuous sexual relations" is a Soviet formula. Soviet morality sharply condemned promiscuity, particularly among women, and considered transgressions of sexual moral norms to be a community matter. Thus, for example, issues of marital infidelity could be taken up by a Comrades' Court (courts run by non-professionals to adjudicate social disturbances in residences and workplaces, utilizing peer-pressure and social sanctions against offenders of public order and morality).
The lack of any specific reference to Austria suggests that similar letters may have been send to other consulates in St. Petersburg.
|Translation of the Russian Transcript|
To the Consul General of the Republic of Austria
From S.N.A., resident at the following address (the address and work and home telephones are provided)
Honorable Consul General,
I am forced to contact you due to the following circumstances.
Ms. M.S.N. lives in my communal apartment (address given above).
For quite some time now, Ms. M.S.N. has not had regular employment, she has unfulfilled financial obligations toward me, continually interferes with normal life in the communal apartment, creating disturbances after 11 o'clock at night by returning home in a state of intoxication and accompanied by strangers, and she has made threats against me. Ms. M.S.N. engages in promiscuous sexual relations with foreign nationals whom she then uses as a source of financial support.
On September 18, 2003, I discovered that some items belonging to me were missing from common areas of the apartment. I suspect Ms. M.S.N. of stealing them, as there are no indications of unauthorized penetration of the apartment. In connection with this case, on September 19, 2003, a police squad was summoned by me. They took into custody some strangers who were present in our apartment, and a petition was filed at Police Station number 7 of the Central District of St. Petersburg to take action against Ms. M.S.N. pursuant to the law.
At the present time, Ms. M.S.N. is in the process of selling her room in the communal apartment and is attempting to file for an exit visa.
I urgently request that, should Ms. M.S.N. apply for an exit visa, the above mentioned circumstances be kept in mind.