Some excerpts form the fascinating working paper "To owe is not to own: why Russians reject mortgages (and why Americans accept them)" by Jane Zavisca:
"In the US a mortgage provides a sense of ownership, but in Russia, mortgages are labeled “debt bondage” and Russians insist that the bank, not the borrower, owns the home. Whereas borrowing to buy a home is seen in the US as a virtuous investment compared to credit cards, in Russia, a mortgage represents unconscionable hubris"
"In any economy, housing is a special type of commodity, one of the most significant and expensive acquisitions of a household. It is the market bar none that must be created by the state. This special status has made home loans more legitimate than other types of credit in the US, but less legitimate in Russia."