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Housing the New Russia$
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Jane R. Zavisca

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450372

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450372.001.0001

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The Soviet Promise

The Soviet Promise

A Separate Apartment for Every Family

(p.23) Chapter 1 The Soviet Promise
Housing the New Russia

Jane R. Zavisca

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the evolution of the Russian ideal of the separate apartment from the time of Josef Stalin and Nikita Khrushchev until it became the cornerstone of a normal life in the late Soviet period. Housing the populace in separate apartments laid the groundwork for a post-Stalin social contract, which aimed to achieve social quiescence without recourse to terror. However, the most appealing features of the separate apartment—prosperity and privacy—also made it ideologically dangerous. This chapter considers how expropriated homes were redistributed according to the principle of “living space” and how allocation of housing in square meters paved the way for so-called “communal apartments.” It also discusses housing inequality in the Soviet Union and how the separate apartment became normal. Finally, it explains how the separate apartment's normalcy produced a sense of abnormalcy among those who lacked one.

Keywords:   separate apartments, Josef Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev, social contract, living space, housing, communal apartments, housing inequality, Soviet Union

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