Kudakwashe Ndlova, a 25-year-old student attending Lomonosov Moscow University of Fine Chemical Technology, shares this obshaga with one other student from Russia.
Ndlovu, who attends the university on a scholarship, pays $10 a month for his room. “It’s cheap. That’s for sure,” he told Dumont.
Ndlovu worries that water leaks from the ceiling could potentially cause an electrical fire at any moment.
Nigerian students Christopher Onoja, top, 22, and Issac Ismaila, bottom, 24, both came to Russia on a scholarship. “Honestly, I don’t like anything about this place because the rooms are full of roaches and bedbugs. We renovated — the lighting, the wallpaper, everything — but it was a mess when we arrived,” Onoja said.
Issac Ismaila stands between the two stoves of the floor’s communal kitchen. It’s commonplace for entire floors to share kitchens.
Dinara Vafina, a 26-year-old music student at the Moscow State Pedagogical University, told Dumont, “I don’t have a problem living with roommates, but I would like to get my own place someday.” According to Dumont, rooms shared between three and four people are generally around $50 a month a person if the students are not on scholarship.
Yang Zhao, a 25-year-old student from Beijing, tried to find an apartment when coming to Moscow for school, but she encountered what Dumont calls “xenophobic landlords.” “I made phone calls for two months, and when someone would hear my accent and discover I was Chinese, they would say ‘nyet!'”
Just like in any dormitory, Dumont notes that Russian university students “will tell you that dorm life is replete with formal and informal rules that everyone must learn to live by.”
Elena Gasyukova, a 24-year-old student at the Higher School of Economics, reads a sign in the elevator that says, “The general cleaning days are on Saturday and Sunday.”
Common chores at the dormitories include washing windows, floors, walls, kitchens, and bathrooms.