With the ever growing urban population in Russia during this time, housing was a big problem. Offered residencies varied depending on which part of Russia you were in, but overall a person’s housing space was small per person and not everyone had the luxury of not having to share space with others. An example of the types of living spaces for the urban population in 1965 was:
- 31.6% lived in private individual homes
- 55.6% lived in apartments
- 6.4% sublet privately
- 6.4% lived in hostels
But when it came to apartments, it wasn’t apartments like you’d consider us college students to live in. Many people living in apartments during this time were in places called “kommunal’nye kvartiry,” which meant that up to four families shared a kitchen and bathroom. To address the growing number of urban residents, Krushchev was more worried about building as many more residencies as possible versus worrying about the quality of the housing, which is why it is often called the slums.
An interesting aspect of this housing program was that construction was focused on new areas in cities instead of rebuilding in the old part of the city where there are many buildings of little value. The chief architect for Moscow explained this reasoning by saying that the buildings in the old part of the city could still be used for a few more years, so rebuilding those areas would be a waste of resources and time considering that the new areas don’t have buildings that need to be taken down. Later on in the interview the chief architect also described the benefits of constructing housing in new areas of the city as an attempt to decentralize the congested city. By adding housing in other parts of the city, it spreads out the population to reduce its density in the old part of the city. To also tackle the large population density in Moscow, the government stopped any new industrial construction. This would hopefully aid in curbing the large influx of people into the city.
Siegelbaum, Lewis. “1961: The Khrushchev Slums.” Seventeen Moments of Soviet History, accessed November 1, 2014. http://soviethistory.macalester.edu/index.php?page=subject&SubjectID=1961khrushcheby&Year=1961&navi=byYear
“Izvestia Interview: Moscow Redevelopment Plan Under Way.” The Current Digest of the Russian Press 10, no. 32 (1958): 7-8. http://dlib.eastview.com.ezproxy.lib.vt.edu:8080/browse/doc/13823247
Image 1: “Kurits: Maybe the apartments not big…(1969).” I. P. Abramskii: Vragi i druz’ia v zerkale Krokodila, 1922-1972. Moscow: Pravda. 1972
Image 2: “Ogorodnikov: Courtyard of a New Apartment (1966).” I. P. Abramskii: Vragi i druz’ia v zerkale Krokodila, 1922-1972. Moscow: Pravda. 1972.
Image 3: “New Apartment Construction (1962).” Soviet Union, No. 148 (1962), p. 44.