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Housing & people

Communal apartment. Several families lived in  these apartments. Each family owned a separate  room but shared a hall, a kitchen, a bathroom  (usually, a bathtub and a basin) and a toilet (WC  only). They took turns cleaning the apartment. 

Dormitory. Students, young employees and even  small families on our social housing lists used this  type of temporary accommodation. Sometimes,  such a waiting could take decades, so many  residents legally obtained private ownership of  these inconvenient homes.    

Stalinka. These brick apartment blocks made  of non-combustible materials boasted spacious  apartments with high ceilings and utilities.  Built during Stalin’s rule between 1933 and the  mid-1950s, in neo-classical style, they looked  beautiful. Since 1955, after our leaders turned  against architectural excesses, ‘stalinkas’ lost their  architectural ornaments and decor.    

Khrushchevka. Built from 1956 to 1969 across  the USSR, these blocks provided affordable family  housing in the times of Nikita Khrushchov (hence the name ‘khrushchevka’). These humble five-story buildings had neither elevator nor garbage chute; their cramped flats lacked architectural character, although the quality was quite sufficient.    

Hostinka (a hotel-style flat). These economy-  class one-room flats built in the 1960s–70s had a small hallway, a kitchenette, a sitting bathtub and a balcony. Although tiny, “hostinkas” were a step up from a communal apartment or a dormitory.    

Panelka (or ‘Nine-storeys’). We built these  prefabricated panelled apartment blocks from  1966 to 1982. The apartments with balconies were  modestly decorated with wallpaper and tiles and  served by an elevator and a garbage chute.    

Tsekivka. The USSR reserved this housing for  the top Soviet officials and high military ranks’  officers — marshals and generals. CK, or Central  Committee (of the Communist Party), built and  allocated these fancy apartments in buildings  with mirrored elevators, spacious halls and  concierges from 1963 to 1991. Tsekivkas seemed  an unprecedented luxury for ordinary Soviet  people.    

A survey of where Ukrainians live shows that  6% live in houses built in the 1940s;  9% in dwellings built in the 1950s;  20% in houses built in the 1960s;  28% in the 1970s builts;  26% in houses built in the 1980s;  9% in houses built in the 1990s.  And less than 3% own new builds dating from  2001 and later.    

More than half of Ukrainians (54%) live in over-  crowded housing. In contrast, in France, Germany and the UK this figure remains as low as 7%.  Only 11% of the population reside in the relatively  new buildings that emerged in the last 30 years.  Sadly, almost 8% of our housing stock, which is  75 million square meters, is uninhabitable due to  its poor condition (according to the State Youth  Housing data for 2020).    

Our housing crisis deepened due to the Russian-Ukrainian war and due to internal migration from Donbas and Crimea.  


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