Welcome to my flat building. I’ve been asked what it’s like to live in FSU, and every day I’m confronted with the dreariness of my flat building.
Here’s the front door. Let’s pretend I have just walked through the front door, and I’ve turned around to have one wistful look. Just in case it disappears or gets blown up. Or someone steals it. Or a car bomb goes off outside. You know, the usual peril.
Once I walk through the door, I get to read the message on the wall, presumably from Uncle Stalin or one of his many enforcers. I’m not really sure what it says, but there’s a hammer and a sickle, and something about ‘houses’, so I’m assuming the following sign reads something along the lines of…
Dear little kiddies. Don’t forget to brush your teeth. It’s for the power of the proletariat and for the bottom line of the dental industry.
Or something like that.
Here’s the view from the window on the ground floor. Can you see Uncle Che looking out over the courtyard? He’s making sure everything’s OK. Just keeping his quiet eye on things.
If I’m feeling energetic, I can walk up to the third floor. Most of the time, I’m not feeling energetic. So, I catch the lift. The lift is about 80cm by 80cm, and when I get a takeaway pizza, I have to balance the pizza on my head in order to fit both me and the pizza in the lift.
I never enter the lift without my mobile phone. The lift is a bit creaky and emits a thud between level two and level three. The only emergency mechanism this lift has is this intercom. Somehow, I don’t think there’ll be anyone on the other end.
The alternative to the lift is walking up the stairs. They go up and up. Especially challenging when you’re carrying 20 kilos of groceries on your back. It’s often hard to fit both myself and my groceries in the lift. I don’t want to send them up alone in case they get pilfered.
The stairwell has very nice tiled floors, and the stairs are made out of concrete. When it’s dark, it’s hard to unlock our front door because someone has stolen all the light globes in the stairwell.
They don’t bother to replace them anymore.
Here’s the view out to the courtyard from the second floor. There’s still a bit of snow, and you don’t go there in the dark. Because the dark, under the watchful eye of Uncle Che, is where the bad people lurk.
The new door, you see on the right. It’s iron reinforced and bulletproof. That’s so the bad people can’t get inside and steal money. Or man hole covers.
On the left is an old door. This is where the old babushkas and dyedushkas have lived since they were granted this flat in the 1950s. The government gave them this piece of the motherland, and they’re not letting it go. And they can’t afford a bulletproof door.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this tour around my flat building. It was just as interesting for you as it was for me.
And if you’re wondering about the black and white – I took these photos in colour. Black and white is the colour of Kyiv.