Communal Living in Russia: Documents
From Police Archives: A complaint about assault
  An old woman complains to the police that her neighbors have been attacking her physically.
  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. 6."

The text of the complaint refers to "Birch Path." What is meant is the hospital on that street, where disabled veterans are "registered" and go for treatment.

Since, as can be concluded from looking at other documents in the case of 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. 6.


I bring to your attention that on July 12, 1994 Mrs. N. D. M— beat me up because I insisted that she return the things that she stole from my room. I am a disabled World War II veteran with injuries to the lower limbs and I am registered at Birch Path, I have a tumor on my back, they beat me on my back and on my head, I couldn't run away because I have weak legs and I slammed the door so hard that I broke the bolt, I am asking you to make her buy and put in a new bolt in the door to my room and to make this shameless thug obey the rules, until I moved in she beat up everybody in the apartment. I ask you to make her obey the rules and punish her for her actions. 7/27/94 (signature)

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