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It's dinnertime at Chez Zaichik. Only, it appears that it's not just Chez Zaichik, but Chez A Whole Lot of Other Peeps, Too. Sasha and his father live in a communal apartment ("komunalka") shared by forty-six other people. And you thought sharing a bathroom with your tween sister was hard?
On the upside, Sasha points out that everyone is happy because all of them are equal. There are no secrets, because everyone knows everything there is to know about each other: what they eat for dinner, what they say in their rooms, and what time they get up (2.1).
Oh, and the walls are way thin and some of them don't even reach all the way up to the ceiling. Hold on a minute... this is starting to sound not-so-great.
But the illustration shows a massive group of happy people all sitting hippie-style at a big kitchen table, with pots and pans piled up and a laundry line with drying clothes stretched overhead (2.F1).
The living situation, we learn, is a way to reinforce the "Communist 'WE'" (2.2). One perk is that the residents get to sing patriotic songs while queuing up for the bathroom in the mornings. Way to start the day off right, guys.