A flat in Moscow

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Still today the flats in Moscow are rather on the small side when we compare them to Belgian standards. My Moscow friend Irina lives in a typical apartment for four people with her daughters Stasya and Alisya and grandma - бабушка (babushka) - Lyudmila, on the seventh floor of a block in Snayperskaya ulitsa. The total surface is about 65 square metres. Stasya and babushka share the small sleeping room, while the living room is turned into a sleeping room for Irina and baby Alisya for the night.

But the Russians are very creative when it comes to the use of limited living space. Despite of the small dimensions of the accomodation they succeed to store all their belongings - clothes, household goods, linen, books and much more - in built-in cupboards and other storage places showing great ingenuity. Because, in spite of the limitations, the flats have a cosey hominess and are fully equipped to embody the legendary Russian hospitality.

When I was living in Moscow myself, I was more lucky. I lived in a three rooms flat of some 120 square metres, close to the Moscow river, between Taganka and Paveletskaya. At a rather huge rental price though, and with a стандартный московский вход or a standard Moscow entrance. The latter is often a euphemism to indicate that the entrance is very small, not clean, and that the mailboxes are heavily battered.

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