Russian Post Revolution and War Housing of the 20’s – A Rare Glimpse

Story and photos by Maxby Chan

The Second World War has caused humongous loss of lives and destruction of properties. Many countries engaged in the War began to pick up the pieces after this devastation.

In Malaysia and Singapore, our Government of the day enacted the Rental Control Act. An Act enacted to prevent the landlords kicking out the residents who rent their place. Before the enactment, the landlords were increasing their rentals periodically and rent it to the highest bidder.

In Russia, after the revolution, the rural population moved to the cities in search of employment. This has caused a lot of pressure on the supply of mass public housing. The Government at that time came up with a plan to convert the huge houses and public buildings into small tenements. A family of 5 or 6 would be allocated one room per family. All the families shared common toilets, baths, and kitchen. Some of these tenement buildings still exist till today but most of it were torn down to make way for commercial development or apartments. We visited a few of these buildings. There was a building converted that was into a hotel. We were able to view what life was like to stay in a tenement during those early days.

An exterior of a tenement.

An exterior of a tenement.

This used to be a public building before it was converted into a tenement.

This used to be a public building before it was converted into a tenement.

An air well has now turned into a car park. This place is still a tenement

An air well has now turned into a car park. This place is still a tenement

Some of the public spaces.

Some of the public spaces.

This tenement was converted into a hotel

This tenement was converted into a hotel

A common spiral staircase with a lift at the central core.

A common spiral staircase with a lift at the central core.

The lift core on the top floor.

The lift core on the top floor.

Inside the tenement

Inside the tenement

It must have been very cramped staying in a tenement.

It must have been very cramped staying in a tenement.

An air well.

An air well.

The ghost of the past.

The ghost from the past.

Forward looking back

Forward looking back

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