Wooden chair designs for Living Room
Free housing in the Soviet UnionNo Free LunchNothing can be u201cfreeu201d in a state.
,The state budget is filled with money earned from selling goods and services.
Funds from the budget are allocated to state expenditures, including construction of the housing.
,The state pays for the concrete, bricks, glass and metal, and the labor costs from architects to construction workers.
,Less money in the budget, less money for other expenditures like salaries at the state enterprises, imported meds and consumer goods.
,Therefore, Soviet citizens had paid for every apartment building they inhabited before they moved in.
No ownershipIn the USSR, your apartment wasnt yours.
The state owned it.
You were allowed to live in it for a long duration of time, rent-free.
However, they could evict you if you changed your place of work or punish you for insubordination.
,You could not sell your apartment.
If you left the country, you were not compensated financially in accordance with its market value.
You simply lost it.
,Privatization of housing became possible only after the collapse of the USSR.
Waiting listFamilies often had to wait years to receive a free apartment from the state, while continuing to live in their communal apartment.
So it wasnu2019t like everyone was entitled to an apartment and got it right away.
,My family received a one-bedroom apartment only after my grandfather, a lieutenant colonel in the Red Army, retired.
My mother was a young engineer, but they wouldnt give her a free apartment, because at that time she wasnt married.
Cramped space, basic and ugly buildingsu201cIn the 30s and 40s a family would receive a free room in a communal apartment, sharing the kitchen and bathroom with 2u20134 other families.
There were also two-story wooden barracks with a corridor system and the same room occupancy.
Millions of citizens are living this way to this day.
,In the 1960s, Khrushchev announced his plan to provide every Soviet family with their own separate apartment.
They would be christened u201cKhruschevka.
u201d,They went on a construction binge to build hundreds of thousands of exact-looking five-story cookie-cutters.
,In the 1970u201380s, there were new designs and apartment buildings grew taller as a costs-saving device making use of u201cnewu201d technologies like elevators, but the concept hadnt changed: cheapest materials, no decor, only the most basic amenities, cramped rooms.
,Urban areas throughout the country consisted of endless lines of gray boxes of the same type extending beyond the horizon, which caused incredible gloom in the Soviet citizens.
,Large families, often up to five persons, lived on 40-45 square meters, with one tiny bathroom and a five square meter kitchen, with low ceilings.
Grandparents, parents and children shared the space.
,Now it should be noted that Soviets called one-bedroom apartment, u201ctwo-room apartmentu201d (studio is called u201cone-bedroom apartmentu201d): a bedroom plus a living room, which was almost always used as an extra bedroom.
,My childhood best friend lived behind a wardrobe by the wall, because the living room was occupied by his parents and the bedroom - by his grandparents.
This was a very common situation.
,I lived with my single mom.
She used the living room as her living room and bedroom (sleeping on a retractable couch), and I had a room of my own (bedroom).
,A living room/bedroom with a retractable couch.
There was always a carpet on the wall for better soundproof for having privacy when folks were having fun or discussing adult matters.
,A party in a Kruschevka living room/bedroom.
It is 12 square meters, with five people sharing it at the moment.
,Kitchens doubled as dining rooms.
,This is a new photo of an old building, but it should give you an idea of the size of bathrooms and the available amenities.
,I chanced to re-visit such an apartment about a year ago, and it immediately struck me that it looked like a hobbitu2019s house.
It was actually a three-room apartment (two-bedroom) but one of the rooms was so tiny it barely had enough space for a bed and a chair.
,Overall, there was just no space, but to sit, stand and cross the room to the bathroom or kitchen, and practically no privacy.
,Bulky furniture filled with books (they were cheap and there was not much else to do on the long winter evenings) would take up all the extra space.
u201d A bedroom in Khruschevka,I cant blame the architects and designers, as they were just doing what they were told with all the decisions coming from further up the chain of command.
,And up there, they mostly cared to save money on housing so they could spend it on bringing the world into the fold of communism.
,So much for the Soviet free housing.