Our Building: What Life Was Like
You can always find a long-term resident who will talk about the history of the apartment and the building, about other residents, and about his or her childhood.
The apartment long ago An old woman tells about the original floor plan of the apartment.
The engineer in the attic A tale about an engineer and the furniture he left behind.
How many residents and where they are from A count of residents; a story about how people started washing the floors after the war.
Nobody thought about money The good old days and New Year's parties before the war.
  Our Neighbors and Us
Living side-by-side with others calls for adjusting relationships, and setting boundaries regarding private space and property. This was difficult in a communal apartment.
Switching oranges A portion of a conversation Ilya held with informants about their relationship with their co-tenants. It is risky to keep your refrigerator in the kitchen.
A nail and a sweater A part of a conversation Ilya held with informants about their relationship with co-tenants and the consequences of envy.
Helping out vs. privacy: somebody else's visitor How being helpful can unexpectedly encroach on privacy.
  Drunks and Drug Addicts
A large apartment almost certainly had its drunk, and sometimes its drug addict. Living with them was full of unexpected disturbances.
A stolen pair of shoes A story about how a guest of the apartment drunk stole a pair of shoes.
A slippery character The story of a long-time resident about how a drug-dealing neighbor stole money.
The drug dealer's visitors A story about how the drug dealer's visitors beat up a neighbor.
The good-natured drunk The narrator's compassion for the apartment drunk.
Some aspects of communal life were always seen as comic (see also the stories by Mikhail Zoshchenko in the "From Fiction" section.
"In a communal apartment" by Mikhail Zhvanetsky A sketch by a famous satirist about an old man who tries to get to the lavatory.