Communal Living in Russia: Documents
From Police Archives: A complaint against neighbors for stealing
  An old woman complains to the police that her neighbors have been stealing the covers to her pots.
  Basic Facts and Background
  This document is one of many similar complaints against co-tenants in the communal apartment that A. A. E—, sent to the supervisor of the local police precinct. The author calls this complaint "No. 7."

Since, as can be concluded from looking at other documents in the case of A. A. A. E—, these petitions to the police did not produce the desired result (it would be interesting to find out what A. A. E— was counting on), the petitioner went to the next administrative level to complain about the inaction of the police. This is according to our informants; the texts were unavailable.

The petitions refer to a situation which, in principle, could certainly take place in a communal apartment: certain co-tenants systematically harass others. But the specifics of the harassment and the way it is described, along with information received by the precinct policeman in the course of his investigation—visits to the apartments, conversations with A. A. E— and other tenants—leads to the conclusion that we are dealing with the complainer's overwrought imagination. The series of documents shown here illustrate a fairly widespread phenomenon, familiar to Russian psychiatrists as a delusional disorder whose content is tied to the life in a communal apartment, the so-called apartment-type delusional disorder.

  Translation of the Russian Transcript
  Supervisor, Police Precinct

from A. A. E—

70a M— St., apt. 4

No. 7


I ask you to do something about Maksim B—, he is rowdy and steals absolutely everything you can't leave anything in the kitchen, he bullies us every day, he stole everything from our room pots and covers get stolen from the kitchen 2 covers were stolen and not returned. Now two more covers were taken. I came home from shopping there were 2 pots on the table without covers everybody said they didn't take them. I said I'm calling the police, Then N. D. M— decided to give back the cover to the big pot, and she found the other cover on Maksim's shelf along with their covers and she gave it back to me. How long are grandma and her grandson going to keep on stealing I ask you to take stern measures against these barefaced thieves.

7/15/1994 (signature) (signature of policeman, dated 8/15/94)

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