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Why doors in the USSR opened only inward: interesting reasons

Yulia PoteriankoLife
Some features of housing construction in the USSR still puzzle people

Some building codes that were common in the USSR are surprising today. For example, the fact that high-rise buildings were almost never higher than 9 floors.

One of these exotic features today is apartment doors that open inward. There are still whole buildings in which each apartment is equipped in this way. OBOZ.UA tried to figure out why it happened this way.

The version about security and the police

A fairly popular explanation is that such an arrangement of houses is linked to security requirements. Since the USSR was a totalitarian state where law enforcement officers had considerable control over people's private lives, it was believed that they should have easy access to citizens' homes. And breaking down a door that opens inward is supposedly easier than breaking down a door that moves outward.

Indeed, in the Soviet Union, everyone walked around under the risk that the police could come to their homes at any time. Yet this arrangement of doors was due to completely different circumstances.

Fire safety requirements

Construction standards in the USSR declared high requirements for fire safety. However, it had to be ensured at minimal cost, as construction, like everything else, was strictly economized. That's why not only apartments but also common areas, such as stairwells, had a reduced area in the Khrushchev buildings. If the doors in the apartments were opened outward, then in case of fire, when all the residents started to evacuate at the same time, they would greatly interfere with each other's ability to leave. Therefore, according to the standards, the doors in such apartments were installed so that they opened inward.

As soon as the Soviet construction industry began building housing with more spacious entrances, this practice was abandoned. After all, it is also problematic to evacuate through a door that opens inward. Therefore, in the Brezhnevs, the size of the stairwells was made to allow for the doors to be opened freely to the outside.

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