It appears you have not registered with our community. To register please click here ...

!!

Welcome to Russian Women Discussion - the most informative site for all things related to serious long-term relationships and marriage to a partner from the Former Soviet Union countries!

Please register (it's free!) to gain full access to the many features and benefits of the site. Welcome!

+-

Author Topic: Crappy exterior, pristine interior  (Read 1645 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline mendeleyev

  • RWD Advisor
  • *****
  • Posts: 5568
  • Country: ua
  • Gender: Male
    • Mendeleyev Journal
  • Spouse's Country: No Selection
  • Status: No Selection
  • Trips: Resident
Crappy exterior, pristine interior
« on: November 05, 2018, 01:00:20 AM »
This subject was broached in another thread and I thought that perhaps it deserved full exposure in a thread of its own, especially for those just getting started in this process.


You may have seen rows of apartments, many looking the same, and in seemingly poor condition. Yet, upon being welcomed inside an apartment you discovered something actually nice, well-kept, clean, and perhaps even remodeled.


There are  historical, political, cultural and financial reasons for this glaring and real life contradiction.   


To start, there is the historical side.
The Mendeleyev Journal. http://mendeleyevjournal.com Member: Congress of Russian Journalists; ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.RU (Journalist-Russia); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.UA (Journalist-Ukraine); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.KZ (Journalist-Kazakhstan); ПОРТАЛ ЖУРНАЛИСТОВ (Portal of RU-UA Journalists); Просто Журналисты ("Just Journalists").

Offline mendeleyev

  • RWD Advisor
  • *****
  • Posts: 5568
  • Country: ua
  • Gender: Male
    • Mendeleyev Journal
  • Spouse's Country: No Selection
  • Status: No Selection
  • Trips: Resident
Re: Crappy exterior, pristine interior
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2018, 01:27:15 AM »
Prior to the Bolshevik revolution, Russia was primarily an agricultural society. Families lived on farms and life was simple, but hard.


In the cities, most housing was owned by wealthy families while most working class families (there was no middle class) lived in crowded and rundown apartments, often multiple families sharing space. One of the attractions of socialism was the promise that housing would be redistributed, workers would own and run the factories, and that food would no longer be scare for the common person.


You probably know the history and after a bloody civil war between the "Reds" who were socialists promising a communist future, and "Whites" or those who wanted to retain the monarchy. (As a side note, there are a sizable number of people today across Russia, spanning from the old to some young adults, who consider themselves as monarchists and hope for a return someday of a Tsar.)


Once Leon Trotsky's Red Army had wiped up the Whites, the Bolshevik's began the awkward and always violent process of "redistribution." Homes were confiscated and divided into apartments. A great example of this is the movie Doctor Zhivago. It is a long movie, but quite a profound history on the revolutionary period.


As news of the revolution traveled, slowly due to the lack of mass media, some of the poorest in Russia's remote villages began to make their way to the cities in search of the better life that the Bolshevik's promised.


However, there will still a housing problem and for many folk there was not much change in daily life.




(Photo 2: Karl Marx never made it to Russia, but his statue did. Today the only relevance he brings is the need for city crews to stop by every morning to hose the bird shit off his head.)









The Mendeleyev Journal. http://mendeleyevjournal.com Member: Congress of Russian Journalists; ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.RU (Journalist-Russia); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.UA (Journalist-Ukraine); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.KZ (Journalist-Kazakhstan); ПОРТАЛ ЖУРНАЛИСТОВ (Portal of RU-UA Journalists); Просто Журналисты ("Just Journalists").

Offline mendeleyev

  • RWD Advisor
  • *****
  • Posts: 5568
  • Country: ua
  • Gender: Male
    • Mendeleyev Journal
  • Spouse's Country: No Selection
  • Status: No Selection
  • Trips: Resident
Re: Crappy exterior, pristine interior
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2018, 02:18:02 AM »
After Lenin's death, likely by poisoning, the Communist Party was gradually taken over by a little man from Georgia, Iosif Dzhugashvili. He liked to call himself "Koba" after the robinhood-like character from Alexander Kazbegi's book, The Patricide.


He was given a code name in the days prior to the revolution, Stalin, which means "man of steel." In reality he was also a man of "steal" because he used bank robberies as a primary way to fund the activities of the pre-revolutionary Bolsheviks.


Once fully in power Stalin began to put his stamp on the Russian landscape. Some Russians credit him for improving architecture and housing in the new Soviet Union. He often had final approval over the design of massive building projects and there was a "Stalinist" style that his architects followed.


But, one can legitimately question his motivations on housing projects. Yes, he needed to provide much needed housing, especially in the cities, but it could easily seem that the cared more about his legacy and his style than in the housing itself. Stalinist buildings were grand and classical, and he wanted to show Europe that he could develop world-class buildings just as beautiful as theirs.


In reality, the short stub of a man whose command of the Russian language was nothing short of pitiful, didn't care about living conditions. He used the grand new houses as rewards for faithful party members, but those houses turned into death traps during the purges when he began to murder or imprison anyone who might be considered a political threat.


Those fortunate enough to be given housing in the new Stalin buildings were grateful, well, right up until the moment that Secret Police made midnight raids and drug occupants off to either be shot, or put into a rail car on the way to a Gulag.





(Stalin is very likely responsible for more deaths and misery than even Adolph Hitler, but if you suggest this inside the borders of Russia you will bludgeoned on the spot. Stalin, the hero of Vladimir Putin, is being "rehabilitated" these days.)


In this photo you can see Stalinist style apartment buildings along Kutuzovsky Avenue near "Victory Park." The Triumphal Arch seen here was originally located on Tverskaya, the main avenue in Moscow. However Stalin ordered it to be destroyed because it had been dedicated to the memory of Tsar Alexander I. But in 1966 the original plans were taken out of the archives and it was rebuilt at this location.
The Mendeleyev Journal. http://mendeleyevjournal.com Member: Congress of Russian Journalists; ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.RU (Journalist-Russia); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.UA (Journalist-Ukraine); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.KZ (Journalist-Kazakhstan); ПОРТАЛ ЖУРНАЛИСТОВ (Portal of RU-UA Journalists); Просто Журналисты ("Just Journalists").

Offline mendeleyev

  • RWD Advisor
  • *****
  • Posts: 5568
  • Country: ua
  • Gender: Male
    • Mendeleyev Journal
  • Spouse's Country: No Selection
  • Status: No Selection
  • Trips: Resident
Re: Crappy exterior, pristine interior
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2018, 03:25:42 AM »

The political aspect:


Every year a vast majority of Russian homes will celebrate the New Year by watching a movie. There are a number of New Year traditions that I may write about later, but for now I'll stay on the topic of the movie.


Multiple TV networks across Russia and other former Republics will broadcast the 1976 movie titled,
Ирония судьбы, или С лёгким паром (The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath!) Millions seem never to tire in watching it, year after year after year.

Without revealing every detail of the story, one young bachelor is wooed by his pals to go to a Banya (steam bathhouse) where they proceed to get drunk. By the end of the evening they remember that one of them was supposed to travel by plane to Leningrad (St Petersburg) for a meeting -- but they are so drunk that they can't remember who was supposed to be on the plane. His pals put our star on a plane and he lands in Leningrad, still drunk.

The movie was set during the Brezhnev years and by then the socialist theory of housing had been planted across the Soviet Union. Starting in the Khrushchev period, soviet housing was dictated on the philosophy that everyone was part of the great collective, and thus individualism in all forms was to be rejected.

Across the Soviet Union massive apartment buildings, of questionable construction quality, were seen everywhere. Expressions of individualism were enough to land a person in jail sometimes, and so citizens learned to leave the exteriors alone, but behind closed doors much more creativity could be exercised in how to outfit and decorate your home -- just don't be too excessive or some nosy neighbor might report such "anti-Soviet" activity.

Street after street of apartment buildings, of the same design, with the same landscaping, and the same paint scheme, created large swaths of new, but ghetto-like exteriors. Depending on the family status with either the party or a worker's union, the number of square metres determined the exact floor plan of your apartment. In many situations, floor plans were largely uniform across the entire country. Many families still had to share with another family, or two, or three. Those were called "communal" apartments.

Everything is so much the same in Leningrad that our drunk movie hero thinks that he is still in Moscow and so he finds "his" apartment, enters, and falls asleep. Some time later the attractive resident of the apartment unit arrives home to find a stranger asleep in her bed. It is a fun and romantic comedy with lots of the story left for you to discover and enjoy it yourself.

Soviet Premier Khrushchev made a push for mass housing improvements and planners drew up standard apartments in mostly 5 to 7 floors, made of concrete and designed for a 40 year life span with the expectation that as socialism gave way to communism, all the world would be peaches and ice cream and overflowing with enough milk and honey that new housing could be built. Later.

Later never came.

I have lived in 4 such apartments. In my first such experience one of the first things I learned was to never, ever, no not ever, ride the elevator at night. I lived on the 4th floor and at night the mental hospital across the street routinely conducted electric shock treatments. Either they were executing patients, but based on the screams it seemed that they were still alive, or the electric system was so poorly built that everything on the block was in danger.

I learned the hard way. No sooner had the old elevator started slowly, and I do mean slowly, as in very slowly, climb upward, you'd feel a slight jolt. The wiring would fizzle, screams would carry from across the street, and the elevator would just give up the ghost and die. It would sit there, suspended halfway between floors, and there was only darkness. After 5, 10, and sometimes 15 minutes the stair lights would begin to flicker back on and the elevator would sort of jump, as if awakened from a bad dream, and continue on the way up. It became clear that the stairs were a much better option.

Socialist master planning at its finest.


I moved and the photo is of my second apartment in Moscow.  I had not been at this apartment for almost a decade but a few years back I visited the neighborhood and took this photo. There was no hot water during the traditional pipe repair projects each summer, but at least the elevator worked. Without screams.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 11:18:57 AM by mendeleyev »
The Mendeleyev Journal. http://mendeleyevjournal.com Member: Congress of Russian Journalists; ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.RU (Journalist-Russia); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.UA (Journalist-Ukraine); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.KZ (Journalist-Kazakhstan); ПОРТАЛ ЖУРНАЛИСТОВ (Portal of RU-UA Journalists); Просто Журналисты ("Just Journalists").

Offline mendeleyev

  • RWD Advisor
  • *****
  • Posts: 5568
  • Country: ua
  • Gender: Male
    • Mendeleyev Journal
  • Spouse's Country: No Selection
  • Status: No Selection
  • Trips: Resident
Re: Crappy exterior, pristine interior
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2018, 04:02:30 AM »
One event that played heavily into the mass production of Khrushchev's housing was the famous "Kitchen Debate" between Khrushchev and US Vice President Richard Nixon on the 25th of July 1959 during the opening of the US National Exhibition, a trade event in Moscow


One of the reasons for Nixon's visit was to promote Pepsi Cola as the first export (besides grain) to the Soviet Union. The pitch for Pepsi failed, although it would become successful later, but the verbal fireworks took place over the concept of all-electric kitchens as Nixon was giving Khrushchev a tour of the American exhibit.


Khrushchev claimed that Soviet kitchens had the same kind of "gadets" as he called them (nope, not even close, Nicky) and he also dismissed the idea of America's colour televisions as "outlandish" and something the Soviet people would not accept. Of course, it wasn't long before the Soviets were drinking Pepsi, but living standards still lagged for awhile before the typical Soviet family could afford a colour television.


Eventually the government allowed Soviet TV to show parts of the exhibition and that helped the typical Soviet family to realize how far they were behind the West in standard of living and it put pressure on the government to modernize Soviet housing. However, the Soviet economy was drowning in foreign debt and such improvements would be a long time in coming.


The Mendeleyev Journal. http://mendeleyevjournal.com Member: Congress of Russian Journalists; ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.RU (Journalist-Russia); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.UA (Journalist-Ukraine); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.KZ (Journalist-Kazakhstan); ПОРТАЛ ЖУРНАЛИСТОВ (Portal of RU-UA Journalists); Просто Журналисты ("Just Journalists").

Offline mendeleyev

  • RWD Advisor
  • *****
  • Posts: 5568
  • Country: ua
  • Gender: Male
    • Mendeleyev Journal
  • Spouse's Country: No Selection
  • Status: No Selection
  • Trips: Resident
Re: Crappy exterior, pristine interior
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2018, 04:04:59 AM »

I understand the Russian mindset and by now our Russian members are about to explode and ready to vent. The unwritten rule is that someone who is not ethnic Ruskie cannot dare utter even a single negative truth about your beautiful country. I know, and I understand. But, as a journalist I like to tell the entire story, not just the more recent successes.


The truth is that some readers may be too young to have first-hand memories of Soviet life. Please remember that this is a historical explanation as to why so many of your existing apartments look like they were imported from Detroit on the exterior....but are much nicer on the interior.


We'll get to some of the amazing (but often corrupt) new housing that certainly makes you proud.


But not yet.



...to be continued...
« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 04:32:55 AM by mendeleyev »
The Mendeleyev Journal. http://mendeleyevjournal.com Member: Congress of Russian Journalists; ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.RU (Journalist-Russia); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.UA (Journalist-Ukraine); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.KZ (Journalist-Kazakhstan); ПОРТАЛ ЖУРНАЛИСТОВ (Portal of RU-UA Journalists); Просто Журналисты ("Just Journalists").

Online krimster2

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2528
  • Country: us
  • Spouse's Country: Russia
  • Status: Married > 10 years
  • Trips: Resident
Re: Crappy exterior, pristine interior
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2018, 08:21:47 AM »
may I add an image to your thread?

interior of the living room of my apartment in Sevastopol - 300 yards to black sea
my daily jogging path included part of Chersonese
had water, gas, electric backups - 212 sq meters

exterior similar to others you have posted here
вы думаете, что любой из этих людей, даже российских, подозревает, что я русский?

вот как я могу создать американскую личность
Я могу взять напрокат

Offline mendeleyev

  • RWD Advisor
  • *****
  • Posts: 5568
  • Country: ua
  • Gender: Male
    • Mendeleyev Journal
  • Spouse's Country: No Selection
  • Status: No Selection
  • Trips: Resident
Re: Crappy exterior, pristine interior
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2018, 09:09:35 AM »
Krimster2, based on the size that looks a Stalinist style building that had larger rooms. Or, perhaps a "Khrushchyovka" remodeled to combine two rooms into a larger living room?


Some of the older apartments with lots of space were from the redistribution period when large homes were divided into several apartments under a single roof. My cousin Gera still lives in one of those. It was a communal apartment for decades: 3 families in the same apartment. Each family had its own room for sleeping and they shared the bath/toilet, kitchen and entryway.


I can recall stepping into their apartment and it was important to hang your coat on the correct wall mount for coats and to place your shoes on the correct shoe cabinet. Each family had their own toilet seat, painted in different colours and hanging on the toilet wall. When you stepped into the toilet we would take the correct seat off the wall, use it to conduct our bodily business, flush, and then hang it back on the wall.


There was a chart showing which family had shower access at various times during the day. The kitchen was also organized by schedule. Gera's family had their own refrigerator, in their sleeping room, because it was inconvenient to leave items in a common refrigerator which could be easily stolen. It used to be our tradition to spend the New Year at their apartment and my wife, mother in outlaw, and I would sleep in the same single room with Gera, his wife, their 3 children, and his father in law and mother in law.


They would unfold a large table in the middle of that room and each of us brought food for the New Year Eve and then the New Year Day. We would watch that movie mentioned previously, then watch the president's speech and greeting just before midnight, and exchange toasts with the ringing of the bells of the Kremlin "Saviour" tower on Red Square which were broadcast on all TV networks across the Soviet space. About 3 or 4 in morning we'd eventually drift off to sleep on a sofa or mattress rolled out on the floor.


Over the years Gera bought out his "neighbors" and today he owns his apartment and has the 3 rooms, entry hall, bath/toilet, and kitchen all to himself. He has remodeled each room and it looks and functions very nicely while the exterior is another story.




The Mendeleyev Journal. http://mendeleyevjournal.com Member: Congress of Russian Journalists; ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.RU (Journalist-Russia); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.UA (Journalist-Ukraine); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.KZ (Journalist-Kazakhstan); ПОРТАЛ ЖУРНАЛИСТОВ (Portal of RU-UA Journalists); Просто Журналисты ("Just Journalists").

Online krimster2

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2528
  • Country: us
  • Spouse's Country: Russia
  • Status: Married > 10 years
  • Trips: Resident
Re: Crappy exterior, pristine interior
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2018, 09:29:07 AM »
Khrushchyovka!

we bought several apartments and merged them into one, yes!
did the same thing in a nearby village
and bought several adjacent dachas and merged them into a mega dacha!
created a huge veggie garden and chickens, cows, pigs, sheep
a mini ranch
I was a Russian Cowboy in Crimea

Home, home on the steppe
« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 01:15:37 PM by krimster2 »
вы думаете, что любой из этих людей, даже российских, подозревает, что я русский?

вот как я могу создать американскую личность
Я могу взять напрокат

Online jone

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6165
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouse's Country: Russia
  • Status: Committed > 1 year
  • Trips: > 10
Re: Crappy exterior, pristine interior
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2018, 09:29:43 AM »
Krimster2, based on the size that looks a Stalinist style building that had larger rooms. Or, perhaps a "Khrushchyovka" remodeled to combine two rooms into a larger living room?


Some of the older apartments with lots of space were from the redistribution period when large homes were divided into several apartments under a single roof. My cousin Gera still lives in one of those. It was a communal apartment for decades: 3 families in the same apartment. Each family had its own room for sleeping and they shared the bath/toilet, kitchen and entryway.


I can recall stepping into their apartment and it was important to hang your coat on the correct wall mount for coats and to place your shoes on the correct shoe cabinet. Each family had their own toilet seat, painted in different colours and hanging on the toilet wall. When you stepped into the toilet we would take the correct seat off the wall, use it to conduct our bodily business, flush, and then hang it back on the wall.


There was a chart showing which family had shower access at various times during the day. The kitchen was also organized by schedule. Gera's family had their own refrigerator, in their sleeping room, because it was inconvenient to leave items in a common refrigerator which could be easily stolen. It used to be our tradition to spend the New Year at their apartment and my wife, mother in outlaw, and I would sleep in the same single room with Gera, his wife, their 3 children, and his father in law and mother in law.


They would unfold a large table in the middle of that room and each of us brought food for the New Year Eve and then the New Year Day. We would watch that movie mentioned previously, then watch the president's speech and greeting just before midnight, and exchange toasts with the ringing of the bells of the Kremlin "Saviour" tower on Red Square which were broadcast on all TV networks across the Soviet space. About 3 or 4 in morning we'd eventually drift off to sleep on a sofa or mattress rolled out on the floor.


Over the years Gera bought out his "neighbors" and today he owns his apartment and has the 3 rooms, entry hall, bath/toilet, and kitchen all to himself. He has remodeled each room and it looks and functions very nicely while the exterior is another story.

At least you had toilet seats.   I've been to many places that had the 'in ground' type units that required you to squat.  (Sorry for the indelicate response.)  These are still predominant in Ukraine, in parks and public places.
Kissing girls is a goodness.  It beats the hell out of card games.  - Robert Heinlein

Online jone

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6165
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouse's Country: Russia
  • Status: Committed > 1 year
  • Trips: > 10
Re: Crappy exterior, pristine interior
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2018, 09:30:17 AM »
Khrushchyovka!

we bought several apartments and merged them into one, yes!
did the same thing in a nearby village
and bought several adjacent dachas and merged them into a super dacha!
created a huge veggie garden and chickens, cows, pigs, sheep
a mini ranch
I was a Russian Cowboy in Crimea

Home, home on the steppe

Were the sheep nervous?
Kissing girls is a goodness.  It beats the hell out of card games.  - Robert Heinlein

Offline ML

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8357
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouse's Country: Ukraine
  • Status: Married 3-5 years
  • Trips: > 10
Re: Crappy exterior, pristine interior
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2018, 09:30:52 AM »

Over the years Gera bought out his "neighbors" and today he owns his apartment and has the 3 rooms, entry hall, bath/toilet, and kitchen all to himself.

Jim, what about the toilet seats . . . were they included in his purchase ?

Very nice write up; thanks.
Winston Churchill.  “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

Online jone

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6165
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouse's Country: Russia
  • Status: Committed > 1 year
  • Trips: > 10
Re: Crappy exterior, pristine interior
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2018, 09:37:38 AM »
Was thinking over what I had posted above with regard to in-ground toilets.  After reading up on it, it appears that the 'squatting toilet' is more predominant in Asia.  I have seen them in Chelyabinsk.   But, IIRC, did not see them around the Moscow area.   Below is a picture.

Kissing girls is a goodness.  It beats the hell out of card games.  - Robert Heinlein

Offline mendeleyev

  • RWD Advisor
  • *****
  • Posts: 5568
  • Country: ua
  • Gender: Male
    • Mendeleyev Journal
  • Spouse's Country: No Selection
  • Status: No Selection
  • Trips: Resident
Re: Crappy exterior, pristine interior
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2018, 09:48:49 AM »
Over time, cultural reasons developed for the "crappy exterior, pristine interior" manner of apartment living.


In Soviet times you never really owned your apartment. It belonged to the State and could be lost easily. Some apartments were controlled by worker's unions and were assigned based on how many years one had worked at a job, and sometimes significant job promotions included a promotion to a bigger or nicer apartment. Any misstep, suspected criminal activity, or anti-Soviet activity could cause one to lose an apartment.


Since it was never really your property, there is reduced incentive to care for it and especially the exteriors which to this day are either managed by some cooperative or by direct city government subsidy. The exteriors are the problem of someone else and thus are usually neglected by residents. If the electric lock/buzzer doesn't work, or some drunk threw up in the stairway -- and in a few weeks, or a few days, someone else will eventually come and clean up the mess or make the repairs. Maybe.


With the failure of the great Socialist experiment, housing was eventually deeded to individual occupants. But the exterior maintenance remains the domain of some resident cooperative or more likely, some city housing authority.  Often the only contact you have with those responsible is a telephone number posted in the entryway in case of some repair issue, broken elevator, etc. It could be days before a response.


Most apartment entries have a stench of pee. That is a cultural issue, likely stemming from the high rates of alcoholism. You'd never see someone taking a leak on the grass or sidewalk during the day, but after the sun goes down....


Large apartments mean a lot of people, and lots of people usually means lots of pets. At all hours of the day or night there are animals either roaming freely, or being walked on leashes. They have to do their thing somewhere, and often it is along the frontage of an apartment.


This summer we noticed several male residents one Saturday replacing the wooden benches at our apartment entryway. It is a long building with several entry points and they only did our entry. It took several hours and they had them reconstructed and painted by the end of the day. It turned out that they had grown tired of the broken benches and took it upon themselves to do the project. That is unusual, but nice, and so we picked up some strawberries and raspberries at a sidewalk stand around the corner and gifted each of them with some nice fruit to show our appreciation since they were not asking residents to share the cost of wood, materials and paint.


About once monthly a city crew shows up at our building. They pick up any tree branches, mow any grass that has somehow managed to grow, and use a water pressure tool to clean the interior entries and exterior walkways.


There are "big box" home improvement stores in the larger cities, and often these cater to interior items, from doors to door handles, paint, kitchen and bath items, etc.


The Mendeleyev Journal. http://mendeleyevjournal.com Member: Congress of Russian Journalists; ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.RU (Journalist-Russia); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.UA (Journalist-Ukraine); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.KZ (Journalist-Kazakhstan); ПОРТАЛ ЖУРНАЛИСТОВ (Portal of RU-UA Journalists); Просто Журналисты ("Just Journalists").

Offline mendeleyev

  • RWD Advisor
  • *****
  • Posts: 5568
  • Country: ua
  • Gender: Male
    • Mendeleyev Journal
  • Spouse's Country: No Selection
  • Status: No Selection
  • Trips: Resident
Re: Crappy exterior, pristine interior
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2018, 09:54:37 AM »
Was thinking over what I had posted above with regard to in-ground toilets.  After reading up on it, it appears that the 'squatting toilet' is more predominant in Asia.  I have seen them in Chelyabinsk.   But, IIRC, did not see them around the Moscow area.   Below is a picture.


There is a large supermarket in a section of Moscow that caters to residents from Asia, mostly Muslim. It has these type of squat toilets. Also, a large indoor mall near Metro Dubrovka, also an area with many residents from Asia, that has these type of toilets.
The Mendeleyev Journal. http://mendeleyevjournal.com Member: Congress of Russian Journalists; ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.RU (Journalist-Russia); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.UA (Journalist-Ukraine); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.KZ (Journalist-Kazakhstan); ПОРТАЛ ЖУРНАЛИСТОВ (Portal of RU-UA Journalists); Просто Журналисты ("Just Journalists").

Offline GenMish

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 65
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouse's Country: Russia
  • Status: Looking 1-2 years
  • Trips: None (yet)
Re: Crappy exterior, pristine interior
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2018, 09:55:00 AM »
Thank you everyone for the photos, it brought back memories

My first visit was in 93, and the agency had prepared an apartment for me. It was considered 'ultra' luxurious at the time but still in a Stalin era building. There was a steel door, and it was like an old 1940 apartment in Philadelphia. Worse, my in laws places were somewhere between OK to sad. Hot water and electricity was always a flip of the coin. One set didn't even have a kitchen sink, their bath tub doubled for that duty. However over the years, things got much better for my ex in laws. My Ex's cousin now lives in a very nice 1000 sq ft Western style apartment in Moscow. Others have renovated their apartments to where they are now very livable

Things were hard in 93. I remember going to the nicest restaurant in the area, with a HUGE menu. However, everything I wanted to order they didn't have. Finally, I asked what do you have? Potatoes, Pork,eggs ice cream and apples. So our white table cloth Champagne dinner featured sausage, ice cream and apples. Since I was an American, it wasn't a shock that I didn't finish my apple cores
« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 09:57:25 AM by GenMish »

Offline mendeleyev

  • RWD Advisor
  • *****
  • Posts: 5568
  • Country: ua
  • Gender: Male
    • Mendeleyev Journal
  • Spouse's Country: No Selection
  • Status: No Selection
  • Trips: Resident
Re: Crappy exterior, pristine interior
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2018, 09:59:25 AM »
Jim, what about the toilet seats . . . were they included in his purchase ?

Very nice write up; thanks.


That is a great question! But once he had the entire apartment to himself one of the first remodeling projects was to update the very old and poorly working bath and adjacent toilet. These days there are new fixtures and no longer the need to hang a toilet seat on the wall. Instead, his wife Natasha has decorated the bath and toilet walls with new paint and accessories.
The Mendeleyev Journal. http://mendeleyevjournal.com Member: Congress of Russian Journalists; ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.RU (Journalist-Russia); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.UA (Journalist-Ukraine); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.KZ (Journalist-Kazakhstan); ПОРТАЛ ЖУРНАЛИСТОВ (Portal of RU-UA Journalists); Просто Журналисты ("Just Journalists").

Online krimster2

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2528
  • Country: us
  • Spouse's Country: Russia
  • Status: Married > 10 years
  • Trips: Resident
Re: Crappy exterior, pristine interior
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2018, 10:10:24 AM »
"Were the sheep nervous"

Yes, I think so!
right before my daughters led them out and I slaughtered them
I think they knew what was coming....

butchering two large animals like that is a lot of work!
I'd only done a deer before that in the USA
my daughters helped a lot and that sped things up a bit

chickens are easier livestock to deal with plus you get eggs and they eat all the garbage for you, handy thing in a Crimean village just that feature!!!
but you'll get tired of chicken-this or chicken-that every night
so you need to diversify protein
I found scallop beds while snorkeling in Black Sea, could harvest quite a bit, would have this in the summer!!!

of course, I could buy anything I wanted in the Supermarket
but I was striving for some level of self-sufficiency
I had this silly idea, that one day there was going to be a global apocalypse
and I was going to ride it out in Crimea with my family
instead, after my recent visit, I can say the apocalypse came to Crimea
I'm OK now...

my daughter agrees - chickens are the way to go!!!




« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 01:17:36 PM by krimster2 »
вы думаете, что любой из этих людей, даже российских, подозревает, что я русский?

вот как я могу создать американскую личность
Я могу взять напрокат

Offline mendeleyev

  • RWD Advisor
  • *****
  • Posts: 5568
  • Country: ua
  • Gender: Male
    • Mendeleyev Journal
  • Spouse's Country: No Selection
  • Status: No Selection
  • Trips: Resident
Re: Crappy exterior, pristine interior
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2018, 10:12:26 AM »
Things were hard in 93. I remember going to the nicest restaurant in the area, with a HUGE menu. However, everything I wanted to order they didn't have. Finally, I asked what do you have? Potatoes, Pork,eggs ice cream and apples. So our white table cloth Champagne dinner featured sausage, ice cream and apples. Since I was an American, it wasn't a shock that I didn't finish my apple cores


Smart move!


One of the first things that I had to learn in Soviet times was to ignore the menu in a restaurant. It was considered "anti-Soviet" to admit that there were shortages and restaurant staff could get in trouble for admitting as much, especially to a foreigner from the West. Sometimes there would be a waiter in the back, frantically calling other nearby restaurants to see if they had some item in stock that a foreigner had ordered from the menu. Often you'd wait an hour or more only to be told that the item was no longer available.


To avoid embarrassment for the staff I learned to ask if there were any specials? The "chef specials" naturally included whatever was in stock and you could enjoy a meal within a reasonable time.


I often cooked at home or ate with family, but also learned where some of the better "Canteens" were located. These could be found in or close to factories, train stations, airports, etc. In such, the food was often surprisingly tasty, yet simple Russian dishes. Most were available from a cafeteria style line where you paid by the item, but there were some "dinners" to purchase usually at the Canteens.
The Mendeleyev Journal. http://mendeleyevjournal.com Member: Congress of Russian Journalists; ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.RU (Journalist-Russia); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.UA (Journalist-Ukraine); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.KZ (Journalist-Kazakhstan); ПОРТАЛ ЖУРНАЛИСТОВ (Portal of RU-UA Journalists); Просто Журналисты ("Just Journalists").

Offline mendeleyev

  • RWD Advisor
  • *****
  • Posts: 5568
  • Country: ua
  • Gender: Male
    • Mendeleyev Journal
  • Spouse's Country: No Selection
  • Status: No Selection
  • Trips: Resident
Re: Crappy exterior, pristine interior
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2018, 10:21:13 AM »
Lastly are the financial reasons.


These are obvious and if you live on a pension and having to choose between food or medicines, you simply are not going to care about the exterior of the building in which you live.


Even if gainfully employed, the local thinking is why spend money on something over which you have no control? It is rare for anyone to drive to a large store to purchase nice items to improve the exterior that everyone else in the building will use, from drunks to rowdy younger adults.


However, there are changes that are slowly being seen. Sometimes elderly ladies can be seen with brooms or whisks outside. This is probably not only "pride of ownership" as much as just not wanting to live in filth on the exterior of your home. These cultural changes take time and one can hope that they will spread to the general population.






« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 11:27:20 AM by mendeleyev »
The Mendeleyev Journal. http://mendeleyevjournal.com Member: Congress of Russian Journalists; ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.RU (Journalist-Russia); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.UA (Journalist-Ukraine); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.KZ (Journalist-Kazakhstan); ПОРТАЛ ЖУРНАЛИСТОВ (Portal of RU-UA Journalists); Просто Журналисты ("Just Journalists").

Online krimster2

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2528
  • Country: us
  • Spouse's Country: Russia
  • Status: Married > 10 years
  • Trips: Resident
Re: Crappy exterior, pristine interior
« Reply #20 on: November 05, 2018, 10:30:24 AM »
here is the exterior of what I would consider to be the average apartment in Sevastopol
(photo taken this past July)
it's actually dangerous walking around the perimeter of these buildings
i've witnessed with my own "glasski" chunks of concrete falling off from the edges
with enough force to kill someone on contact with their skull

slovo to your mama
вы думаете, что любой из этих людей, даже российских, подозревает, что я русский?

вот как я могу создать американскую личность
Я могу взять напрокат

Online krimster2

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2528
  • Country: us
  • Spouse's Country: Russia
  • Status: Married > 10 years
  • Trips: Resident
Re: Crappy exterior, pristine interior
« Reply #21 on: November 05, 2018, 10:39:00 AM »
here's a photo of the super dacha under construction
and then at the point when I finished the facade
18 yr old neighbor in first pic
adorable, sweet girl she loved to skinny dip in the pool in my backyard....






вы думаете, что любой из этих людей, даже российских, подозревает, что я русский?

вот как я могу создать американскую личность
Я могу взять напрокат

Offline mendeleyev

  • RWD Advisor
  • *****
  • Posts: 5568
  • Country: ua
  • Gender: Male
    • Mendeleyev Journal
  • Spouse's Country: No Selection
  • Status: No Selection
  • Trips: Resident
Re: Crappy exterior, pristine interior
« Reply #22 on: November 05, 2018, 10:39:20 AM »
Another financial reason is the fear of loss.


Some years ago we shared a family dacha near Volgograd. It was an old farmhouse on the Volga river that had been the home of the wife's maternal grandparents. Over time, each family unit had a "share" of the dacha.


It has river access for swimming and fishing, productive garden areas, fruit trees, berries, etc. Although nice inside, we kept things to a bare minimum. Even the kitchen refrigerator was loaded on a truck and taken to a storage unit back in town for the winter.


Every spring we would have to replace broken or stolen items. Anything nice we left at the dacha would have disappeared over the winter. Even kitchen and toilet fixtures would disappear. So, we kept things at a minimum, including a traditional outdoor toilet.


There was also a second fear of loss: official theft.


God forbid you have a dacha on a beautiful plot that looked pristine from the road. Corruption is very high in Russia and it is common news to learn that someone's apartment or dacha has been confiscated.


It works like this: You own a beautiful home in a village or small town, or an attractive dacha. Some official or Oligarch happens to notice when driving by. Soon you are drug into court for some offense like non-payment of taxes (that is a popular option because it is impossible to defend).


The prosecutor waves a document around that supposedly was sent to you a couple of years prior. It is a shock to you, because the truth is that such a document never really existed until the days prior to this hearing. In Russian courts, and this is an official statistic, 98% of judgments or convictions are always in favour of the government.


The judge chides you for not accepting your civil responsibility in paying these "special" taxes when due. You counter by demonstrating the documents you received and with proof of payment of your taxes. Ah, but these were special taxes. Apparently you ignored them and now you must forfeit your property.


Who gets your property? Often the official who wanted it in the first place has paid off the prosecutor and judge, either with money or if the official is of sufficient importance the court performs their "duty" and moves on to another case.


You lose.


Moral: don't do anything to the exterior of your property that will draw attention to those that might wish to take it for themselves.


That is a cultural corruption that will take decades to solve, and under the current government there is no interest in stemming official corruption.



« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 11:29:42 AM by mendeleyev »
The Mendeleyev Journal. http://mendeleyevjournal.com Member: Congress of Russian Journalists; ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.RU (Journalist-Russia); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.UA (Journalist-Ukraine); ЖУРНАЛИСТЫ.KZ (Journalist-Kazakhstan); ПОРТАЛ ЖУРНАЛИСТОВ (Portal of RU-UA Journalists); Просто Журналисты ("Just Journalists").

Online krimster2

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2528
  • Country: us
  • Spouse's Country: Russia
  • Status: Married > 10 years
  • Trips: Resident
Re: Crappy exterior, pristine interior
« Reply #23 on: November 05, 2018, 10:39:54 AM »
sorry, didn't know you could only do 1 pic at a time
here's the first pic
вы думаете, что любой из этих людей, даже российских, подозревает, что я русский?

вот как я могу создать американскую личность
Я могу взять напрокат

Online jone

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6165
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouse's Country: Russia
  • Status: Committed > 1 year
  • Trips: > 10
Re: Crappy exterior, pristine interior
« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2018, 10:55:41 AM »
"Were the sheep nervous"

Yes, I think so!
right before my daughters led them out and I slaughtered them
I think they knew what was coming....

butchering two large animals like that is a lot of work!
I'd only done a deer before that in the USA
my daughters helped a lot and that sped things up a bit

chickens are easier livestock to deal with plus you get eggs and they eat all the garbage for you, handy thing in a Crimean village just that feature!!!
but you'll get tired of chicken-this or chicken-that every night
so you need to diversify protein
I found scallop beds while snorkeling in Black Sea, could harvest quite a bit, would have this in the summer!!!

of course, I could buy anything I wanted in the Supermarket
but I was striving for some level of self-sufficiency
I had this silly idea, that one day there was going to be a global apocalypse
and I was going to ride it out in Crimea with my family
instead, after my recent visit, I can say the apocalypse came to Crimea
I'm OK now...

Can't say that I would ever eat scallops pulled from the Black Sea. 

Scallops are bottom feeders and absorb all types of pollutants, including anything that might have flowed down the Dneiper.   Can imagine the waste thrown in the river up in the tributaries in Belarus, followed by the flow past Chernobyl, through Kyiv, down through the nicely kept soils of lower Ukraine.   All ending up in the mouths of your little scallops which, I'm sure, were succulent and delicious on your table.
Kissing girls is a goodness.  It beats the hell out of card games.  - Robert Heinlein

 

+-RWD Stats

Members
Total Members: 9845
Latest: Geoff
New This Month: 5
New This Week: 1
New Today: 1
Stats
Total Posts: 486419
Total Topics: 19007
Most Online Today: 1143
Most Online Ever: 2480
(November 01, 2018, 05:22:05 PM)
Users Online
Members: 33
Guests: 1076
Total: 1109

+-Recent Posts

Re: Just another introduction by DCcowboy
Today at 03:37:42 PM

Re: F dating. Are there any other same format sites. by Trenchcoat
Today at 01:59:11 PM

Re: Brexit - govt screwed by Trenchcoat
Today at 01:29:54 PM

Re: Brexit - govt screwed by msmob
Today at 12:16:34 PM

Re: Brexit - govt screwed by Trenchcoat
Today at 11:59:56 AM

Re: EU Issues by GQBlues
Today at 09:19:48 AM

Re: New Russian military buildup on Ukrainian border by krimster2
Today at 09:15:33 AM

Moscow's throwing it's weight around - even in little Cyprus ... by msmob
Today at 08:38:11 AM

Re: Brexit - govt screwed by msmob
Today at 06:09:43 AM

Re: New Russian military buildup on Ukrainian border by Jamesukjames
Today at 05:42:18 AM

Powered by EzPortal

create account