Communal Living in Russia: Photos
Archive: People in their rooms: Anna Matveevna
  A portrait of an old woman in the room in which she has spent the greater part of her life. 2004.
  Basic Facts and Background
  When: 2004

Where: A large communal apartment in the prestigious historical center of St. Petersburg. The apartment is home to 20 people.

Who: Anna Matveevna , the apartment's oldest resident.

After Anna Matveevna's father was killed in 1922, during the Civil War, her mother was left with five children. Anna Matveevna was taken in (as she says, "with room and board") by her distant relatives, whom she started helping with household chores. She came to this apartment in 1929, when she got work with a different family as a nanny. In 1931, her right to live in the apartment was affirmed officially: she was granted an occupancy permit, and became a full-fledged member of the apartment.

See the videoclip for her story about her past.

This fifteen-year-old nanny was in charge of was Nina Vasilievna, born in 1924. They have lived together in this apartment practically all their lives.

What: Anna Matveevna sits in the room in which she has spent most of her life. She is wearing what she always wears at home, a flowery robe. Every surface except, maybe, the floor, is covered with small keepsakes. On the sideboard to the right, behind the glass, are two photographs; the top one is of Nina Vasilievna. Under the sideboard are empty cardboard egg cartons.

For credits, copyright, and contact information please see the "About" page at Communal Living in Russia: A Virtual Museum of Soviet Everyday Life,