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Soviet Housing Essay

Since the 1917 revolution toppled the Romanov Dynasty, which had ruled Russia for three hundred years, the country would face massive problems and issues. One of those problems following the beginning of the Soviet Union dealt with housing. Housing or the lack of housing became one of the biggest issues throughout the Soviet Union. Housing is a sanctuary, a place to live, eat and sleep as well as a need. The status of housing would not improve throughout the Soviet Union and would only get worse. In this paper, I will argue that throughout the years of the Soviet Union, the role of housing that help shape the Soviet system’s domination came from the government with little say by the people.
In the late 1890s industrialization came to Russia. When industrialization came to Russia, millions of peasants flocked to the city looking for work and to pay off the Redemption payment. The Redemption payments was a way of collecting money from newly freed serfs, to help pay for the land. One of the cities that experienced the flock of peasants was Moscow. Prior to the arrival of industrialization, Russia’s economy relied on the Serfs. The serfs were a group of people bound to the land until the emancipation of 1861. With the peasants coming into the city, housing became a priority. Not surprisingly, a majority of the housing was built out of wood instead of brick or stone and were not big enough to house the people. To make matters worse, conditions of housing in Moscow were horrible. “They are marked with limited spaces and by poor sanitary standards.” Disease spread rapidly in these housing sections. Cholera, tuberculosis, and even typhus contributed to the most common disease that spread. The situation only got worse when the population grew. However, this was only temporary because a number of peasants coming into the cities would be there for seasonal work. Little did the population know, that this was just the beginning of what would be the biggest issue facing the upcoming Soviet Union, and the population.
After the revolution the house situation went from bad to worse. After the revolution and after the bolsheviks seized power, housing became part of the government. Wealthy landowners’ homes became property of the government to allow room for people who were transitioning to the city. Moreover, private ownership got abolished, and the government took control of who would be eligible to live in government housing. The only people exempt from the government control were the wealthy. Moscow and St. Petersburg were the two cities facing the largest housing shortage. However, old towns such as Leningrad, Moscow, and Kiev consisted of housing divided by districts. Communal apartments came into term following the revolution. The apartments consisted of a tiny room building, with numerous people. Multiple families would occupy a majority of these rooms. Consequently these families were a majority of the population and did not have a say in where they lived. There were also people waitlisted to get into those apartments. However, certain requirements had to be meet before, an individual could be place on the list. Furthermore, the government issued these placed based on the square meters of the room and based on the individual. Throughout this small rooms and apartments multiple fights broke out. One example is a woman sitting in the kitchen, cleaning a stove with a brush, when another woman comes in and accuse her of stealing her brush. All of a sudden, a fight breaks out. Fighting was just one of the issues taking place in the apartments. Privacy became the biggest concern. Since multiple families occupied a tiny room, many people had to get dress in front of strangers.
When Lenin died in 1924, Joseph Stalin succeed him. Under Stalin, the Soviets went from bad to worst, as no one would expect what was to come. Stalin ruled the Soviet Union from 1929-1953, and he increased fear and horror in the Soviet Union. Under his reign “The Great Famine,” “The Great Terror”,” and World War ll, faced the Soviet Union, and became the biggest issues, while he sat in office. During Stalin’s reign a newsreel portrays the apartments and the conditions. One room displayed how dirty it was while the other displays the family living there and how small the room is. Stalin urged the labor force to increase production in the 1930s. In 1929, Stalin policy of rapid industrialization drove millions of peasants from the farmland to the city. Due to the amount of the people coming in, many newcomers resided in housing of barracks, shacks, or if fortunate enough in communal apartments. Capital investment played a significant role, as it had two factors including the total investment of the Soviet Union, which was poor and limited, and Stalin’s issues of low priority to any housing construction. However, due to the Second World War, the nation and Stalin faced their attention on rebuilding, given the fact that major cities such as Leningrad and Stalingrad’s building collapsed and had to be rebuilt due to the chaos of the war. This cause even more chaos as millions of people became homeless following the destruction of cities. Needless to say, the situation of the housing did not get any better until Stalin’s death in 1953, when a new leader took on the role.
Stalin’s death in 1953, ushered in a new era for the Soviet Union. Following the Stalin era, the Khrushchev reign began. Under his reign, he addressed the housing situation and fix the problem by building new apartments where more living space would accomplish the population problem. According to Khrushchev, the solution to solving the housing shortage was to build as many urban units as possible and for not being expensive. The construction on housing in the Soviet Union began under the fifth five-year plan, when it invested twice the amount of preceding plan period. This process was due to erase the housing shortage. Whole villages and farmlands were demolished to make way for new housing, but only for the Moscow reign. By 1961, construction on apartments began with new districts. With this in mind the new Party Program of 1961, reassured the population that the housing shortage would be eliminated, and everybody living in the Soviet Union would have a place to stay. Needless to say, Khrushchev also bought the housing situation of construction of building material being consisted of brick, steel, and lumber. Furthermore, Khrushchev’s plan was trying to improve the housing shortage by offering more space and buildings to the population. Yet, little did anybody know, that the population would continue to grow and grow, thus causing lack of housing.
Throughout the Soviet Union, housing has been the biggest concern. Ever since the revolution the population only grew and grew, causing housing to be a shortage, a problem never seen in history, in the Soviet Union. Unlike the United States where have a choice in where they can live, the Soviet Union was different, with no say by the people. The Stalin reign caused more and more problems as the nation focused their attention on rebuilding the nation, due to World War Two, instead of addressing housing. Khrushchev reign and so forth bought the issue of housing to a solution. With more and more housing built throughout the nation, no one would have predicted what was to come. Look for observation topics? You can find tons of samples of various academic assignments on this website. They are free to use.