Rita Tikhonova is a concierge. About two years ago, she came to Moscow from a provincial town under a contract from a staff recruitment agency. Since then, the agency went bankrupt twice and eventually closed down, but Rita Tikhonova stayed. She lives year-round in a tiny room off the lobby of a high-rise building in Moscow, and once a month she goes home to visit her family. Rita Tikonova has taken the sullen Muscovites by storm with her cheerfulness, friendly demeanor, and dedication to her work.
You’ll rarely see her in her tiny room, where she has managed to fit a table, a cabinet, and a pull-out bed in only four square meters. She cleans the lobby, waters the flowerbeds, and walks some of the upstairs tenants’ dogs.
Rita Tikonova’s room is a traditional Russian countryside room in miniature: paintings of generals hang on the walls, a vase of flowers stands on the table, and the television is covered by a lacy, knitted doily.
Translated by Abby Preston