Posted 4 февраля 2021, 10:22

Published 4 февраля 2021, 10:22

Modified 24 декабря 2022, 22:37

Updated 24 декабря 2022, 22:37

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Alina Vitukhnovskaya: how communal apartments formed the Homo Soveticus

4 февраля 2021, 10:22
The Soviet communal homunculus, for the most part, was not only adapted to this discomfort, but also recreated it around itself again and again, even when the possibilities were conducive to a normal life.

Alina Vitukhnovskaya, writer

There are many studies confirming the fact that socialist existence with its communal overcrowding gives rise to neuroses, depression, sexual and other disorders. In socialism as such there is something deeply anti-aesthetic, mangling, creating discomfort, refuting the person as such.

Since childhood, I remember endless travels, cold, strange relatives, what is called an "alienated family". Moving older relatives to younger ones, forced and painful communication, conflicts, scandals, tragedies... Sometimes it seems to me that this feeling of childish discomfort has eaten into my subcortex, into the structure of the body, I want to throw it off myself, but I can't.

The Soviet communal homunculus, for the most part, was not only strangely adapted to this discomfort, but also recreated it around him again and again with a kind of frantic ecstasy, even when the possibilities were conducive to a different, normal life.

Now, when people already live, albeit relatively, but still secure, the post-Soviet communal mutant from old memory drags all sorts of rubbish into the house, washes and puts bags in bags (batch recursion as a symbol of bad infinity), stores quickly foul water in dirty three-liter cans... I have seen such types that they lock the refrigerator with a chain, fearing that the neighbors will spit in the soup. The sacralization of the mausoleum womb of the refrigerator is a separate chapter in the life of each red termite.

All that the doomed subject longs for on a subconscious level is to get rid of these inconveniences, but he cannot say this, because having said it will certainly hurt someone's feelings. But make him talk, he will be forced to say that at the death of even close people, he experiences unspeakable relief - "The space has been freed!". And having said this, it seems, he will immediately set off to a nightmare swanky dance, a bloody inferno-mother. Sit down. In a communal apartment. By quadmetrics.

The local love of death, all of Soviet necrorealism - is also from the inner laziness of unawakened, subjectless consciousness. It's easier to crawl to the cemetery than to start analyzing, making decisions, taking responsibility for your life. And - to die in battle - also from here. There is no heroism in death for someone else's (domineering) gesheft.

Energy fluids emanate from the dead person. More than living. Abuse of someone else's energy - this is the whole (simple) Russian "metaphysics". Formulated in the simplest form - "Die today you, and tomorrow I".

It is not surprising that the madness of these collective insects, like the Kafkaesque characters, only pretending to be human, progresses with each year of life and is especially aggravated in old age. Then the vampiric natures cling to more energetic relatives, literally driving them to exhaustion.

There is one common Chinese torture when a drop of water falls on a prisoner's head at regular intervals. And there is mental torture when you are in a confined space with a madman who talks to himself. There are many of them - talking to themselves - in the metro, at train stations. This is probably such a special kind of "philosophy".

In general, what happens to the post-Soviet is what they feared most of all - poverty, illness, loneliness, insanity, "I wouldn't go crazy." Get off all at once - civilization will freshen up. The fear of going crazy is one of the most important social socialist complexes. Behind which lies the obvious - the primordial madness, which the Homo Soveticus was taught to hide in every possible way, feigning normality.

There are strange "Bulgakov" apartments, but this is a bit vulgar, a common place, near-Soviet mysticism, rustic images, pseudo-infernal feuilleton. And there are really monstrous places that suck a person's insides, turn him inside out, depersonalize to a necron-insect in a totalitarian insect.

This metamorphosis of the twisting of the human essence, its fatal irreversible changes is perfectly shown in the film "The Tenant" by Roman Polanski based on the work of the same name by Roland Topor.

This, if you like, is genuine totalitarianism - half-hints, half-touches, strange phrases, suspicious glances, unstructured absurdity, chaotic plot, which nevertheless has a certain secret (latently perceived by the victim) basis - so a certain person, a certain pseudo-subject already knows about that that he will go mad or die, but he knows in a different way that some inhabitant is irreparable, every second, fatal. It is like an execution that has neither end nor beginning, proceeding in absolute awareness, with "eyes wide open".

But back to Soviet apartments and spaces in general. In them, as if on purpose, everything is done to aggravate melancholy. Design. Colors. Plus the local mentality. Petty-aggressive. As you know, Soviet people often have children for the purpose of small profit or seizing square meters. He later gets rid of these same children.

He treats the apartment, well, like an old woman's coffin. Something like this. Necrophilically vile. It will invest, it will plow from dawn to dawn, for example, to exchange something there, profit, repair. And so it will die in it. In the dull sweet mustiness. Whispering at last - "Mine!".

The local reality is becoming more and more viscous, swampy, exhausting, space shrinks like pebbled skin, time has completely slipped away like a dumbfounded oyster into the black hole of Khokhloma oblivion.

In such a strange, surrealist-depressive rhythm, some phenomena seem to disappear for good, whole layers of reality fall into the cracks between the worlds, dragging the characters along with them - where, for example, are Fashionable People, and fashion as such? There is no more fashion. After all, there is no structure that creates it - there is no bourgeois peace, there is no drive of modernity, there is no modernity as such. Unless, somewhere on the peripheral horizon, a lonely hipster tied in a checkered scarf like in a noose, in anticipation of poverty - a kind of Neogogol type...

In the space of illegality and illegitimacy, not so much legally as ontologically, mentally, we observe a monstrous disparity in prices and fees. Talent here costs nothing (or costs little), consistency and logic get stuck in the marshy Eurasian soil, always stumbling over non-compliance with agreements. Things (surprisingly - the things themselves, the apotheosis of inviolability!) - under the existing economic model (if it is generally appropriate to talk about the economy here) are rapidly falling in price, literally melting before our very eyes - the Building has already floated and dissolved in the landscape, symbolizing the fall of the real estate market in general.

To summarize, all there is is expensive. And even that is almost gone. A space of total gesturelessness. Emptiness, consuming emptiness.