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Why Russian girls live in so small flat?

Author: Elena Ivanova

When a beautiful woman goes out of a scuffed entrance of a high-rise building which has been repaired more than 10 years ago, it looks like a fashionable shooting, a whim of a young filmmaker. Yes, in her elegant dress, in high-heel shoes she looks like a model posing on ruins’ background for bright contrast. But the truth is that the most of Russian women live like this.

Naturally they are not exactly “ruins”. The most of houses were built before the perestroika that was initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev. Then it was need to provide a great number of people of the former Soviet Union with cheap residence. At that time citizens of USSR didn’t pay for apartments, only for public facilities, the government gave them residence. It took up to 20 years to get an apartment from the government and that is why people were glad to get any kind of residence, if only there are no other people in the public kitchen. Construction was of low quality, a toilet room and a bathroom were often one the whole and not more than 3 square meters, and rooms were walk-through – there was a door from one little room to another, even a smaller one, a kitchen was separate but of the size 5 square meters. 4 people couldn’t get in and that is why they had to have dinner or supper two-shift. Of course there were larger apartments but several generations of families lived in them, for example, parents, children and grandchildren.

After the perestroika construction of residence almost stopped for 10 years – the government didn’t give apartments to people any longer and only rich “new Russians” that made a fortune quickly could afford purchasing residence. From the beginning of 2000 high-rise buildings started being constructed quickly again. But even nowadays buying an apartment in a house at the beginning of construction (when prices are not very high yet) is something like a lottery – construction can be not finished and owners of the construction company can vanish.

One square meter in such houses costs from 1000 Euro, in Moscow and St Petersburg it costs double. It is very hard to get a credit on real estate in a bank – you are to prove that you have very high official income. The lowest rate that can be found is 9.5 per cent per annum, a regular rate is 11-12 per cent per annum. That is why the most of Russian women can’t afford purchasing new residence and they still live in uncomfortable apartments which were given to their parents at the time of USSR. And only very well-to-do people can afford stand-alone houses, moreover there are no developed infrastructure, gas pipe lines, schools, kindergartens in the suburbs.


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