Video Tours > Tour 6. Thefts and Losses > 1. Robbers and Ghosts
expand/collapse this text box Summary
A longtime resident of a midsized communal apartment tells about thefts and mysterious disappearances.
expand/collapse this text box Translation of the Russian Transcript
Lena: When Sveta and I got robbed, they took some old Samsung television, but what I feel bad about is the VCR because we didn't buy a new one, we only got a DVD player and tapes are lying around useless all over the place. They took the VCR, the TV, as I said, and a microwave. And that icon. And also money obviously, that I had here...

Ilya: And you knew for sure that your neighbor did this?

Lena: Yes. Nobody else could have.

Ilya: Did you confront her or...

Lena: That's the investigator's job, probably. What are we supposed to do with a crook like that, murder her? We didn't confront her about anything, and what's interesting is that she's doing everything she can to get into this apartment and why she's doing it is completely unclear. I say: either she's got a hiding place, she hid something here, you understand?

Ilya: You mean, she no longer lives here?

Lena: It's over. This man she was living with, he took away everything, all her sofas, her cabinets, clothes, in a car, he took everything. And he told us not to let her in anymore. At the same time, she was a very decent-looking woman, I have to tell you. Thirty years old.

Ilya: So the room wasn't hers?

Lena: No, of course not, she was just living here with a man. With Nikolai.

Ilya: So whose is it?

Lena: That Nikolai's.

Ilya: I see.

Lena: Nikolai's. Nikolai's. So. He was, you know, he kept on saying, "I'm in shock! I'm in shock!" We're all in shock. Well okay, it wasn't like she was getting into our room. But she cleaned out Sveta four times. And then, one time she got us and Sveta also, she didn't touch any other rooms, you know, and then she did Sveta again, it was like she was going to work. First a thousand rubles, then a telephone, then eight thousand, then the last telephone, that was just the last straw. And so that's when we called the police, the investigator...

Ilya: I see.

Lena: ...and we got her out of here.

Lena: It was awful, the first time, you know, this is one thing I remember, I was little, and we were also just barely managing, but still, to think that somebody could go to somebody's room and just... well that kind of thing, that kind of thing just didn't occur to anybody, to go to somebody's room and, you know, just take something. You know, you need something, you knock on the door and say, "Listen, Svetik, you wouldn't have any sugar, would you, could I borrow some?" Or maybe you're out of tea, or something. Different things like that. But now... It's incredible. What I think is that this apartment is, you know, strange.

Ilya: In what sense?

Lena: It makes me think that there are ghosts here in this apartment, in this... Honestly, you wouldn't believe it. Once it happened, this was a long time ago, Marina was still, probably... well, Vlad was little, he went off to daycare, and Marina was getting ready for a New Year's party at work and she says "Mom, could you please buy some disposable plates?" And I was getting ready to go to my own mother's, I had to make food, clean up, so anyway, I say, "Fine." She says, "Look, I put two hundred rubles into this envelope for you, so you can go to the store and buy disposable plates." I was lying here on the couch, and she put the envelope on top of the television and left. I got up and got dressed, I took the envelope, put it in my bag, I got to the metro and I think, "Oh God, I don't have any money, I'll have to take some out of this two hundred, then I'll put it back." I open it up: there's no money in the envelope. There was nobody in the apartment. Nobody. I was by myself, everyone had left, that crook of a woman wasn't living here yet, nobody was here, just me, and when Marina was on her way out, even then there was nobody in the apartment, I was by myself. And still, the money is missing. My mother and I went through the whole bag and she says, "Oh God, you know, you're some kind of... I don't know." I say, "Mom, so there I was at the metro stop, I went to buy a token, I open the envelope, and the money is missing." I call Marina, I say, "Marina, did you put money in the envelope?" Marina says, "What are you talking about, Mama, I showed you, I put two hundred rubles in that envelope." Can you imagine?

Ilya: I see...

Lena: To this day I can't explain it. There's no explanation. Nobody could have taken it. Because everyone was at work. There was nobody here. And the money was gone.

Ilya: There are supernatural phenomena, yes...

Lena: Well, just imagine it... We lose spoons, teaspoons, but only teaspoons!

Ilya: From the kitchen or from this room?

Lena: How should I know? How should I know where they... It happens periodically, you just wouldn't believe it, you see this spoon, it's the only one left. We had six of them.

expand/collapse this text box Details in Photographs
The second photograph and document shown below are not related to the apartment shown in this video.

Security devices on Lena's door
This is the door that the "crook woman" violated when she "cleaned out" Lena's family ("Robbers and Ghosts," Tour 6). No new locks were installed after the alleged incident. 2006.

Door to Anna Matveevna's room
Anna Matveevna (from the clip "Anna Matveevna," Tour 3) is the very elderly resident of this room. She has placed a lock on her door. There is also a padlock on her kitchen cabinet. 2006.

A complaint against neighbors for stealing
expand/collapse this text box Basic Facts and Background
When: 2006

Where: A midsized apartment in a prestigious neighborhood in the center of Petersburg.

Who: Lena, who has lived here for over twenty years with her daughter Marina and her high-school age grandson Vlad.

What: Lena mentions various amounts of money, which were either stolen or misplaced. A thousand rubles was the approximate equivalent of $36. The eight thousand stolen from a neighbor was about $290, and very likely constituted her entire monthly salary. The two hundred rubles that mysteriously disappeared from the apartment when Vlad was at daycare was actually 200,000. Soon after, devaluation cut three zeros from every unit. Lena is counting in devaluated rubles. The missing sum in 1995-1996 would be the equivalent of about $40.