Of course, as Mr Sergei Bobovnikov appreciates, one aspect will be missing. He will not be lying awake at night, listening to the few cars driving at high speed through the city, knowing who was in them; waiting to hear whether the lift stopped at his floor; and hearing that sudden ringing or knocking at dawn. For that is what happened to many of his predecessors in that flat.
Various Stalin-era officials did, in fact, call this building home, if not for long. One was Sergei Kirov, the prominent Bolshevik leader whose 1934 assassination marked the beginning of Stalin’s Great Purge, in which more than a million people were imprisoned or executed. Many other residents died during another wave of mass arrests known as the Leningrad Case of 1949.Mr Bobvnikov worked long and hard and spent a considerable amount of money to find the right fittings and decorations and to create the right atmosphere. People find it interesting, according to him, but would not like to live there. However, if his secondary aim of stimulating a discussion about the period in question, much good may come of the project.