Video Tours > Tour 3. Apartment 30 > 1. I Won't Do Anything Else
expand/collapse this text box Summary
Ilya talks with some of his contemporaries who live in a communal apartment.
expand/collapse this text box Translation of the Russian Transcript
Sasha: Your typical communal apartment. Tons of people. A dirty mess, nothing special.

Ilya: How many people used to live here? Do you remember from your childhood?

Yulya: How many people?

Ilya: Right.

Yulya: Well, something like... more than now, anyway.

Ilya: Our apartment had almost twice as many people when I was born.

Yulya: No, we didn't have twice as many. Let's say, right now there's a girl living here, there are three of them in the room, and before there was only one person. So it looks like the opposite, there are fewer now.

Tanya: No, he means a long time ago.

Yulya: There was one person.

Tanya: No, even Iraida Yakovlevna was saying that there used to be a whole row of tables here.

Ilya: No, let's see, how many people are left now who were born here?

Yulya: Who? Nobody. Probably Auntie Ira, right? Anna Matveevna, Nina Vasilievna, me, and that's it. Well there's Natasha, but it looks like she moved.

Ilya: Yes, and also Natasha's children.

Sasha: Well, I guess so, and our children too. I guess so, they were born here.

Ilya: How many children do you have?

Yulya: Two.

Ilya: How old are they?

Yulya:: 11 and 2.

Dima: Hi!

Slawomir: Hi!

Yulya: I put out some soup for you in there, go and eat. Go and eat, there's soup on the table for you.

Sasha: Dasha, do you see yourself there? Where's Dasha, show us.

Yulya: That's Dima. Where's Dasha? She doesn't recognize herself. There!

Ilya: Look at Papa, who's sitting on Papa's lap?

Yulya: Baby is so little, isn't she?

Ilya: In a lot of apartments people complain that a lot of newcomers who rent rooms and people who stay on a temporary basis, they don't do their share cleaning up, they don't participate in anything.

Yulya: The only people with a decent attitude towards cleaning up are people who are, you know, who are responsible, and people who lived with those people, with the grandmas back in the old days, who were brought up; those people have a decent attitude. And the people who moved in say five years ago or a little earlier, they have a different attitude.

Sasha: I mean, the communal apartment, it's in principle, by definition, people somehow...well, it's a kind of commune, right? Let's say... You've got to stand in line,.. it's like the army, right? Like they live... you know... like in some places. There are rules. Like at work. I mean people have responsibilities toward each other. You've got to clean up after yourself, flush the toilet. I mean if people in their own apartments are used to living for themselves, that's what they do here. I mean you can't change their psychology. People live the way they're used to.

Sasha: We modernized a little here.

Ilya: Yes, I saw that, it's good, only it drips. You've got to change the washer, or whatever it is.

Sasha: I won't do another thing because I'm sick of it; nobody gives a damn.

Ilya: You mean they don't put together the money?

Sasha: No, we collected the money, I did the repairs, it's just that there are a lot of guys living here, and then a really minor problem comes up and...

Ilya: I get it.

Sasha: Something comes off, a screw, and nobody... And I don't do anything on purpose, I'm watching, maybe somebody else will. They can't, they won't, they can't. Because I put tile in the bathroom. I put in new toilets. How much can one person do?

Ilya: Yeah.

Sasha: There's gotta be a limit. There are a lot of guys, why am I supposed to do everyone's work?

Ilya: All right, take care, thanks a lot!

expand/collapse this text box Details in Photographs
Apartment II floor plan
Floor plan of the apartment from Tour 3 (all clips), home to Sasha, Yulia, Tatyana, Iraida Yakovlevna, Anna Matveevna, Nina Vasilievna, Sonya, and Savva. 2006.

The hallway of a large apartment
The entryway and hallway leading to the kitchen of the apartment shown in the clips from Tour 3. See also the photo of this hallway four years later. 2002.

Part of a kitchen and an open door to the hallway
Part of the kitchen of the large apartment from Tour 3. Front and center is a pink hot-water bottle. A payment chart and an envelope for collecting money are tacked to the door. 2007.

A door serves as a bulletin board
A list of monthly electric charges and an envelope for phone bills hang on the always-open door between the kitchen and the hallway of the apartment seen in "Cooking Saltimbocca," Tour 3). 2007.

A corner of the kitchen: a sink and a toilet seat
A child's toilet seat is kept in the kitchen, by the door to the hallway. 2006.

Sink and New Year's poster
One of the young residents of the large apartment from Tour 3 has decorated the kitchen wall with a New Year's poster. This kitchen is shown in the clip "Cooking Saltimbocca," Tour 3. 2006.

Water-heater and soot on the wall
A water heater which was put in with no ventilation, and new pipes which bring hot water to the bathroom. Apartment from Tour 3, where various innovations are mentioned in the clip "I Won't Do Anything Else." 2006.

Lining up for the kitchen sink
The kitchen has only one hot-water faucet, so sometimes people have to line up to use it. 1998.

You can wash your hair in the kitchen
In the kitchen: Kristina has just washed her hair. 1997.

expand/collapse this text box Basic Facts and Background
When: Summer 2006

Where: The hallway (a space next to a telephone table, used for smoking) of a communal apartment on Kamennoostrovsky Prospekt, in the prestigious historical center of St. Petersburg. Friends and acquaintances of Ilya live here. The apartment is in the same entryway as the one in which Ilya lived for 30 years. Eleven families now (2006) live in the apartment. There was a time when 16 families lived there.

Who: 1) Ilya Utekhin. 2) Yulya, who has lived in the apartment all her life. 3) Sasha, Yulya's husband, who moved here after their marriage. 4) Dima and Dasha, the children of Sasha and Yulya, ages 11 and two. 5) A little girl Anya (plays with Dasha in the kitchen). 6) Tatyana, Anya's mother (smokes with Yulya and Sasha in the hallway). 7) Anna Matveevna (walks through the hallway on her way to the kitchen). 8) Slawomir, who is filming.

Iraida Yakovlevna and Nina Vasilievna, mentioned by Tatyana, appear in different clips within this Tour.

Natasha, mentioned by Yulya, is Savva and Sonya's mother (see the clip "Cooking Saltimbocca"); she now lives elsewhere. A different Natasha is mentioned in other clips. The daughter of Iraida Yakovlevna, she lived in this apartment from the time she was born.

What: It is not surprising that the people in the apartment can't say right away how many people live there. There are a lot of families, and situations change: some people move in, other people move out and only come to visit.

Responsibility for the upkeep of communal spaces (kitchen, bathroom, lavatories) is shared by people living in the apartment. The bathtub, sinks, toilets, pipes, and so forth were installed by the local housing office (ZHEK), which, theoretically, carries out repairs. In practice, the tenants collect money for repairs, since the housing office does not cover the full cost either of repairs or of replacements. Even the smallest repair is the result of some enterprising individual's effort. The toilets installed by Sasha were probably bought with funds collected from all the tenants.