Voice of Russia Radio interview

I recently had a chance to discuss my book with Rob Sachs of Voice of Russia Radio on his program, The Culture Report, right here in Washington, DC.

Woman in KK Kitchen

A Soviet housewife wasting precious time and energy in the disorganized space of a large kitchen.

Woman in SA Kitchen

The very same Soviet housewife working efficiently in the perfectly organized space of a khrushchevka’s small kitchen.

We talked about some of the fundamental differences between the communal apartments (kommunalki) of the Stalin era and single-family khrushchevki that followed, as well as some of the ideological underpinnings of the latter. We also discussed the implications that Soviet mass housing has for present-day discussions about sustainable housing here in the US. To listen to the interview, go here. The khrushchevka‘s small kitchen and its IKEA-like furniture also came up. I briefly mentioned a couple images in my book that feature a Soviet housewife in an unorganized kitchen and then her transition to the hyper organized (and small) confines of the khrushchevka‘s kitchen. These striking images appeared in a Soviet advice manual, What New Residents Need [Boris Merzhanov and Konstantin Sorokin, Eto nuzhno novoselam (Moscow: Ekonomika, 1966)]. They have always impressed me as a powerful representation of the move to the separate apartment and how it was written on the body of the Soviet housewife.


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