During your stay elevator at the main staircase was under reconstruction. Hopefully i have the second entrance to the flat from the other staircase with working elevator. As you chose by yourself to use the elevator instead of walking seven flights of stairs at the main big and bright staircase, it is really strange for me to read your review. Especially that you are from Saint Petersburg by yourself and knows for sure that 95% of all staircases looks like mine.
As you defined my common hall - yes, it is small and with not so big windows, because the building was construct over 100 years ago, and this staircase constructed specially for and was used by servants in years before the Revolution.
Yes, people smoke near windows in common halls, that is absolutely usual thing in the whole country. Especially i know these neighbors from third floor and can not understand how you could meet them, if my flat is at 7th and you used the elevator.
The beds don't squeak any more as i fixed them.