Where: The kitchen of a communal apartment in a five-story apartment building in the prestigious historical center of St. Petersburg. Eight families now live in this apartment. There was a time when eleven families lived here (about 50 people).
Who: 1) Ilya Utekhin, who lived in this apartment for around thirty years; at the time of filming, he still had a room here, in which he no longer lived. 2) "Auntie" Asya, who has been living in the apartment for over forty years; 3) Natasha, who lived in the apartment for many years; today she is visiting her daughter Masha and her mother-in-law Ekaterina Sergeevna. 4) Ekaterina Mikhailovna, who silently makes her way to the lavatory; 5) The apartment drunk, Anatoly; 6) Slawomir, who is filming.
Zhenechka, brought up in conversation by Auntie Asya, is Ilya's mother.
What: In a communal kitchen, all the stoves, water-heaters, pipes, and so forth belong to the state, as does the apartment itself. Every family is assigned a stove or a part of one, along with a specified space marked at its boundaries by cupboards or tables. The furniture belongs to the tenants.
The refrigerators in this apartment are in the tenants' rooms. Cooked food is either carried into the rooms, put in the pantry off the kitchen (2:30) or kept in the space between the double windows in the kitchen (3:33).
The responsibility for maintaining the cleanliness of the kitchen, stoves, and heaters is shared by all tenants. Repairs are carried out by the local housing authority.
The kitchen is one of the places where tenants hang their laundry. Toiletries are kept here, rather than in the bathroom.
The only sink in the entire apartment is the one we see here. If a tenant wants to wash his hands after going to the lavatory (0:50), he either does that here or goes to the bathroom and uses the faucet over the bathtub. Washing your face and hands and brushing your teeth can take place either in the bathroom or here in the kitchen. Sometimes this sink is used to wash small items of clothing.
The white grid drawn in pesticide chalk on the wall is meant to repel cockroaches (0:32).