Communal Living in Russia: Audio
Drunks and Drug Addicts: A stolen pair of shoes
  Summary
  A story about how a guest of the apartment drunk stole a pair of shoes.
  Basic Facts and Background
  When: 1998

Where: A large communal apartment in a prestigious neighborhood in the historical center of Saint Petersburg. About 20 people live in the apartment.

Who: S.A., born in 1934 and living in the apartment since 1944, longer than any of the other tenants. She lives with her husband and son. In the course of the conversation, the following people come up: S.A.'s husband; Slavka (Slava), the apartment drunk; Slavka's guest. The interview is conducted by Ilya, an anthropologist doing research on communal apartments.

What: An elderly lady's story about how the guest of the apartment drunk stole her husband's boots.

See also another clip, in which this person is discussed.

In the clip "A Room for Her Daughter" the narrator, like Slava here, gets a room by taking a job as a janitor.

  Translation of the Russian Transcript
  One day he had some short man in here. My husband goes out, and that's where we always kept his shoes, good ones, with real fur, shoes with, what do you call them, rubber soles, from Finland, he goes out, and the shoes are missing! I say, "Slava, you had someone over for the night, some dark-skinned creep, the city is full of them now." "Yes." I say, "At three o'clock in the morning I come out of my room and he's opening doors, I tell you, and looking through the cabinets." I ask, "Where is he from," and he says, "from Slava's room." And in the morning, I say, there were shoes missing. How will he go to work when it's so cold out?

But I have to hand it to him, if he borrows money, he returns it. He gave us two thousand—in those days that was money—for those shoes. Because he's actually a skilled worker, a house painter, a builder. He graduated from technical school, for two years he was a student at the Economics Institute. He's got education. And then it happens again: he gets a job as a janitor to get the free room, and then he becomes a drunk, like all of them. So that's the story.

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