IN SAINT PETERSBURG'S largest communal apartment, people barely talk to each other. Living conditions are dismal and most residents dream of leaving the place for good.

Located in the centre of the former imperial capital, the 'Kommunalka flat occupies the entire ground floor of a building, with 34 rooms coming off a corridor almost 100 metres [330 feet long].

Once a part of the Soviet life, communal apartments have all but died out in modern Russia - apart from Saint Petersberg, when tens of thousands remain stuck in the falling-apart spaces.

''No person should have to live in these conditions,'' said Rosa, a 50-years-old resident of the brick building on Detskaya Street, rocking her granddaughter. Until recently, around 100 people lived in the communal space here and queues to use the shower or toilet were a common sight.

Today, about a dozen people occupy the apartment and the building constructed in 1958 is falling into despair.

The cracked walls are covered in graffiti  and inside, the floors are bare. Communal rooms are dimly lit and those who live there cook on old electric hobs.

Worst of all, Rosa said, is that ''the doors to the entrance are always open so anyone can just walk in from the street.''

As a result, the inhabitants keep contact between themselves to a bare minimum. [Agencies].


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!