In a communal kitchen, all the stoves, water heaters, pipes, and so forth belong to the government, as does the apartment itself. Theoretically, repairs in common spaces are supposed to be carried out and paid for by the housing authority. The money that the tenants pay as rent is in part intended for this function. However, getting the housing authority to do their work is not easy. See the video clips "Repairs"
(Tour 2) and "No Hallway, No Bath Either"
(Tour 4) and also the essay "How to get the toilet repaired."
In the post-Soviet period, the high price of renovation and the ineffectual and poor quality of services carried out by the housing office led to a call for reform. Reform was begun with the idea of incorporating the private sector into this government monopoly, run by local officials. However this reform was essentially stalled during Putin's second term as president.