|Communal Living in Russia: Photos|
|The shared telephone in the hallway of a small apartment. 2000.|
|Basic Facts and Background|
What: There was usually only one telephone in communal apartments, normally located on the wall or on a small table in the entryway. It was the norm for whoever was closest to the phone to pick up the receiver when it rang. Neighbors would knock on each others' doors to call someone to the phone. Even in very large apartments, the permanent residents knew who lived where.
A telephone has hung in this corner for ages, but not long before this photo was taken this new phone, purchased by everyone chipping in, was hung up. The telephone line and plug hang crookedly, on a nail pounded into the wall. This is in contrast with the carefully mounted, probably pre-Revolutionary wiring to the left of the phone, with its twisted electrical wire, switch, and lamp-socket. The black wire coming out of the phone plug leads to the phone extension in the neighboring room; the shoe-horn also belongs to the residents there.
The piece of plywood to which the phone is attached is covered in the thick paper of some kind of poster. The pictures from magazines are probably glued to the wall not only to cover holes in the wallpaper, but to provide some decoration.