Communal Living in Russia: Documents
From Police Archives: A complaint with a request for a police search
  Summary
  An old couple writes a complaint to the police, claiming that their neighbors are harassing them.
  Basic Facts and Background
  This document is one of many similar complaints against co-tenants in the communal apartment that A. A. E— sent to the supervisor of the local police precinct. The author calls this complaint "No. 5." The text shown here is obviously incomplete. The final page of the letter, with the conclusion of the complaint and the signatures, was unavailable.

Note the nature of the complaint: the co-tenants do not observe the rules of communal living; they dirty the bathroom, bring in guests, miscalculate the electric bill. The complainant puts the primary accusation of stealing on the same level as these more or less ordinary problems between tenants.

Since, as can be concluded from looking at other documents in the case of A. A. E—, these petitions to the police did not produce the desired result (it would be interesting to find out what A.A. E— was counting on), the petitioner went to the next administrative level to complain about the inaction of the police. This is according to our informants; the texts were unavailable.

The petitions refer to a situation which, in principle, could certainly take place in a communal apartment: certain co-tenants systematically harass others. But the specifics of the harassment and the way it is described, along with information received by the precinct policeman in the course of his investigation—visits to the apartment, conversations with A. A. E— and other tenants—lead to the conclusion that we are dealing with the complainer's overwrought imagination. The series of documents shown here illustrate a fairly widespread phenomenon, familiar to Russian psychiatrists as a delusional disorder whose content is tied to the life in a communal apartment, the so-called apartment-type delusional disorder.

  Translation of the Russian Transcript
  No. 5.
to: Supervisor
Police Precinct 28
from: M—, I— A—; E—, A— A—, 70a M— St. Apt. 4

No. 5

In April, our co-tenant M— N— D—, got into our room and stole many things and medications. No locks can keep out this professional thief. She steals together with her grandson Maksim and her granddaughter acts up bringing friends to wash in the bathroom and having parties in the foyer. They spill water in the bathroom, they get it dirty and they never clean up after themselves, and when you say Anya you have to clean up after yourself, you can't walk in even with rubber boots on she yells shut up you idiot or you'll catch it and the stealing and the carrying-on doesn't stop. I am a disabled World War II veteran. A Defender of Leningrad. I have Defense of Leningrad medals and citations. My wife is also a disabled war veteran with injuries to the spine and lower limbs I request that you search the apartment and put an end to the stealing and the carrying-on there. You ought to know she deals in stolen goods dealers come to see her and she takes things to her village and there she unloads stolen goods but still some of our things will turn up and even in their room because she stole all our good things and now she is taking things from E— A. A. she takes everything groceries medications nothing's sacred to her. I ask you to protect us and evict this thief from the apartment. She makes her own rules she doesn't take her turn washing the floors and when she reads the electric meter she writes that she uses less than us even though she uses more than any of us, she has parties for her friends not in her room but in the foyer they break the light switches and we walk around in the dark

For credits, copyright, and contact information please see the "About" page at Communal Living in Russia: A Virtual Museum of Soviet Everyday Life, http://russlang.as.cornell.edu/komm/.