issue #4 September 2016
On Vlad Troitsky
LGBT Rights In Ukraine
The Sinking Of Admiral Nakhimov
A Journal For The New Ukraine
In Memory Of Orest Subtelny
Odessa International Film Festival Portfolio
Peter Pavlenskyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Deadly Vist to Odessa
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From the Editor-in-Chief. Letter from the Publisher. Where Was I On August 19, 1991?
The Latest News from Odessa.
On Vlad Troitsky: Ukraine’s Great Cultural Impresario.
Odessa As Avatar. Remembering Babyn Yar.
Ethical Void In Ukrainian Politics. The Art Arsenal Scandal. LGBT Rights In Ukraine. Russian Refugees In Ukraine.
Architectural Strategy For Odessa. Brodsky Synagogue. Ernst Neizvestny’s Legacy.
The Burliuk Family In Odessa. Shevchenko And Ira Aldridge. Sinking Of The Admiral Nahimov. In Memory Of Orest Subtelny. His Legacy For New Generation.
Bringing IT Revenues To Odessa From All Over The World.
The Poetry Of Ilya Kaminsky. Facebook And Modern Literature. A Dialogue About Odessan Language With Boris Khersonsky.
Odessa International Film Festival Portfolio.
Stepan Ryabchenko’s Digital Paintings. Peter Pavlensky In Odessa.
The Scent Of Romance: Four Tales of Love In Odessa.
A date With Odessa, Back From Berlin.
Across Africa In 178 days: A Cycling Adventure.
The Belgorod-Dnestrovsk Fortress. The History of Plăcintă. Odessa Hotels.
ODESSA IN PHOTOS
Haute Cuisine: Central Bar. Odessa Restaurants. Trendy Cocktails.
Odessa Tales By Boris Khersonsky. Stand Up: The Old New Humor.
Where to Find the Magazine.
Daniel Salem On The Vorontsov Colonnade.
From the Editor-in-Chief By Vladislav Davidzon
As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Ukrainian independence, it is important to look into the future rather than into the past. The summer begins to wane and the leaves on the trees begin to transmogrify into a reddish shade — Odessa’s crisp autumn descends upon us. It is a good time to take stock of the events of the summer and to look forward to the beginning of the new cultural season.
Peter Culshaw also attended the festival and wrote a wonderful dispatch for us, as well as profiling Ukrainian theater legend Vlad Troitsky. Looking forward to late September, we will take part in the annual Odessa International Literary Festival, and we have decided to publish a poetry portfolio in this month’s literary section, focusing on Odessa native Ilya Kaminsky (we can not wait for his reading!) This is a time for new beginnings and so this issue is also more political than usual. A scandal has rocked Kyiv over the leadership of the Mystetski Arsenal. The Russian
The summer begins to wane and the leaves on the trees begin to transmogrify into a reddish shade — Odessa’s crisp autumn descends upon us The fourth issue of The Odessa Review is possibly our best one yet. We look back at the highlights of the 7th annual Odessa International Film Festival and the films that we watched. The festival saw the premiere of David Newark’s excellent Babel documentary, and our interview with the director is one of the most fantastic things we have yet published. The British composer and writer
conceptual artist and dissident Petr Pavlenksy’s mid-August appearance turned into a tragic debacle. In this issue we also speak to a Russian lawyer who is an expert on Russian political refugees and emigres in Ukraine. Odessa has just hosted its first LGBT march under the careful protection
of the authorities and we had the pioneering Ukrainian gay rights activist and journalist Maxim Eristavi interviewed by the well known American journalist Jamie Kirchick. Odessa and Ukraine are in the midst of conflict, but the city and the country both persevere and the general fervor of the cultural situation makes this a heady and intoxicating time to be living or visiting here.
Letter From The Publisher By Hares Youssef
indicates an unprecedented readiness for change and openness to the global community. The motto of The Odessa Review is that we are a “ journal for the New Ukraine”. It is our fervent hope that we are a publication that can become Odessa’s and Ukraine’s advocate and conduit to the world, especially in this new era of Ukraine’s development of a modern, multiethnic, Post-Soviet culture and identity. With the fourth issue of The Odessa Review out in the world, it is a good moment to stop and take stock of what we have accomplished. We think it is now reasonable to claim that as well as being the No. 1 English language publication in Odessa and indeed in all of Ukraine, we are on our way to becoming the leading English language print journal of culture in Eastern Europe.
The 25th anniversary of the nation’s birth also coincides with the summer Olympics, where the son of a Ukrainian mother and a Rwandan father, Zhan Beleniuk, who like the nation itself was born in 1991, has won the silver medal in the Olympics for Greco-Roman wrestling, bringing joy to the country as well as demonstrating the diversity and talent of modern Ukrainians.
This month’s literary portfolio focuses on a trio of swashbuckling literary travelers in the Odessa of the nineteenth century This issue comes right in time for Ukraine’s 25th anniversary celebration of independence, in the midst of a difficult but rewarding time in the history of the nation. Over the past quarter of a century, the country has made a remarkable journey, going through a social, political, economic and cultural evolution. The Ukrainian people are celebrating this anniversary as a significant milestone for the country, one that
I want to say that I have tremendous respect for The Odessa Review’s editorial team. The feedback that I have been receiving about the magazine (from Ukrainians as well as people from all around the world) is a well deserved reward for their highly intellectual work and discerning judgment. I have supreme confidence in their ability to continue to impress readers in Ukraine and well beyond its borders with the unmatched quality and relevance of this publication. Ukraine’s culture is developing quickly and in many interesting directions at once, and I am proud of my friends at The Odessa Review for the work that they are doing in making sure that the world will soon know this.
We will continue to fine tune and perfect the magazine’s aesthetic and content. While it is clear to me that it has entirely met and exceeded all expectations, there is always more work to be done and more effort to be made!
Where Was I On August 19, 1991? The Odessa Review’s three Soviet born senior editors were all children when the failed August coup against the Soviet Union took place. The breaking of the coup by Gorbachev and Yeltsin and the general refusal of the army to shoot into the crowds which has formed around parliament signaled the beginning of the final dissolution of the Soviet Union. Here are their memories of where they were when the tanks rolled through the streets of Mosocow and martial law was declared.
On August 19th of 1991 I was with my mother in Riga. It so happens that my mother is a graduate of the Riga Civil Aviation Engineers Institute. We had gone to visit her friends and while we were there, to buy some merchandise that was missing from Odessa’s stores, the Black Sea port was not a capital of a Soviet Republic (capitals had access to better goods in the system based on rationing).
For me, the summer of 1991 was an ordinary and quiet one in the town where I grew up: Ilyichevsk then, Chernomorsk now — its very recent name change just one of the million echoes that reverberate from the legacy of the events that took place that August. Whether it was because my family was not political, or because I was a sheltered child always immersed in my reading, but I was unaware of the turbulence taking place.
I vividly remember the adults speaking about the current events in a spacious kitchen in the heart of old Riga. Our hosts’ older son and I would go out to eat the most delicious ice cream in a large town square where people were gathering together with posters in Latvian. There were a lot of journalists. There was the adult’s incomprehension of the situation, which was keenly felt by the children. And of course, there was nothing but ballet playing on television. And also, my mother could not give an answer to my question of when we were returning home, which made me as a child very happy. Because the very delicious ice cream and Riga’s western architecture with signs in a language that I couldn’t understand gave me a feeling of being abroad, somewhere magical.
Perhaps it was difficult even for the adults to comprehend the magnitude and the implications of the situation. At the end of August my parents happened to be on a Mediterranean cruise and on the 19th the ship was docked in Italy. As soon as the Moscow news broke, the Italian port authorities contacted the liner and offered to grant everyone on board refugee status. Not one person took advantage of this offer. Many, like my parents, could not leave family members behind. Most probably believed that the gravity of the news was exaggerated. Almost certainly no one had the presence of mind to look ahead to the opportunities this situation could have presented for them and their families.
In August of 1991, my sister and I were living with our grandmother in Moscow. We were waiting to join my parents in immigrating to America. As it happened, the 18th of August was the day that we were due to fly to America, a year after our parents had gone off to test the waters of emigration. We had spent months preparing to emigrate. It was not apparent if the newly open door to the West would stay open or would suddenly shut tight for another ten years, as had happened during previous thaws between the Soviet Union and the West. So our parents knew that we had to go as soon as possible and they chose this opportunity.
When we did return home, a great deal had changed for my parents, but only one thing had changed for me. In school, Ukrainian became not just one subject among many, but the language in which all other subjects were taught.
I left Ukraine for the United States almost exactly one year later, in the summer of 1992. My parents did not disembark in Italy the previous August, but my family’s emigration journey must have been in the stars after all.
My aunt had taken us to the Sheremetyevo airport by taxi around midday, and the tanks were already rolling through the streets. We were getting on the last flight out of the Soviet Union to New York City as ‘The State Committee on the State of Emergency’ was being declared by the leaders of the coup. When we landed at John F. Kennedy airport in New York City we were greeted on the tarmac by television cameras and journalist demanding news of what was happening in Mosocow. The unsuccessful coup would last three days, and it would be a week before my ancestral Ukraine would declare independence from the Soviet Union.
August-September Calendar of Events Odessa Jazz Fest 2016
SEPTEMBER 23-25 The 16th annual international festival OdessaJazzFest will take place in Odessa between September 23rd to 25th. It will be open with a free gala-concert in front of the Opera and Ballet Theater. Performances will include the sympho-jazz project of Tamara Lukasheva “Cinema music of Yuriy Kuznetsov”, dedicated to the memory of the renowned pianist and OdessaJazzFest founder who passed on this year. Musicians from 11 countries will perform on the main stage of the festival at the Philharmonic. The festival format will also include evening jam sessions. ODESSA PHILHARMONIC HALL AND OTHER LOCATIONS
AUGUST 20-28 DOCU/HIT: The best documentaries of this year
Docudays UA: a DOCU/HIT festival project DOCU/HIT is a new festival project that plans on becoming full documentary distributor in Ukraine. “Documentary films are gaining more audience. People do not see them the way they used to: as simple event fixation or “talking
heads”. The viewer is surprised to see that a documentary film can be a genre, an arthouse or a fiction film, — says Katya Lachina, DOCU/HIT project coordinator, — Screenings in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv, Dnipropetrovsk and Mariupol have shown that the audience supports our initiative, and responds to the real stories about agents of changes. All these films tell us that life is changing here and now, that everyone is capable of changing something, whether it is themselves or the whole world. The most important thing is compassion and being able to see a little more”. These four documentaries are “Almost Holy” by Steve Hoover, “How to Change the World” by Jerry Rothwell, “Ukrainian Sher-
iffs” by Roman Bondarchuk and “Under the Sun” by Vitali Mansky. SCREENING SCHEDULE Green Theater at Shevchenko park Screenings start at 21:30 August, 20 - “Under the Sun” August, 21 - “Almost Holy” August, 22 - “Ukrainian Sheriffs” August, 23 - “How to Change the World” Vitalnya Hub (1a, Hretska st.) Screenings start at 20:00 August, 25 - “Under the Sun” August, 26 - “Almost Holy” August, 27 - “Ukrainian Sheriffs” August, 28 - “How to Change the World”
AUGUST 23 Gus Gus
This Icelandic band is now celebrating 20 years of making music. Their concerts are absolutely cosmic from vocals to audio and visual effects. Definitely a fun and unique night out. “IBIZA” NIGHT CLUB ARCADIA BEACH
AUGUST 24 Vyshyvanka Festival
else could sell out a full Chernomorets Stadium! Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy this great Ukrainian band. CHORNOMORETS STADIUM
AUGUST 25 Koktebel Jazz Festival 2016
AUGUST 24 AT 7PM The legendary Pavlo Virsky dance ensemble
A traditional celebration of Independence Day in Odessa! Anyone can become part of it just by wearing a vyshyvanka shirt to work or for an evening out. POTEMKIN STAIRS PRIMORSKY BOULEVARD AUGUST 24-30 #Freierfest 2016
The first annual international festival of modern art in Odessa, Freierfest is a unique socio-cultural project for the region. Ukrainian and international works in all styles and genres will be featured: video art, painting, graphics, 3d-painting, spray art, multimedia, installations, photography. The main goal of the festival is to familiarize Odessites with the work of famous Ukrainian and international artists and to demonstrate the high artistic level of the region. Festival locations include: ODESSA MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, #INVOGUEART GALLERY, HUDPROMO GALLERY, GREEN THEATER AT SHEVCHENKO PARK, DIZYNGOFF CAFE
AUGUST 24 Okean Elzy
The legendary Ukrainian Pavlo Virsky dance ensemble is giving a holiday concert in honor of Independence Day. The ensemble consists of 100 highly professional and inspired artists, whose virtuoso performances have conquered audiences all over the world. Symbolically, on August 24th they will perform their best dances, demonstrating the free spirit and indomitable will of the talented Ukrainian people. ODESSA NATIONAL ACADEMIC OPERA AND BALLET THEATER 1 CHAIKOVSKOHO LANE
Jazz Koktebel is not just an exciting music festival, it is an event with a unique atmosphere that releases human creativity and keeps a watchful eye on the contemporary alternative scene. Nu-Jazz is an open-air stage for performers with a certain drive. They may not fit the formal criteria for jazz, but it runs in the blood of these new-wave performers. Discover something new at this fantastic and innovative jazz festival. THE CITY BEACH CHERNOMORSK (ODESSA REGION) AUGUST 26 AT 10PM Felix Shinder and Den’gi Vpered!
AUGUST 25-28 Black Swing Fest
Enjoy swing dancing to some classy tunes? The Black Swing Fest might be the event for you. Besides the usual lindy dances, there will be master classes of Lindy hop, blues, solo dance, and African. Get excited for the jazz and blues parties with live music that will keep you dancing all night. The food court will feature some of the best Odessan restaurants and cafes. LINDY POINT 15 ZHUKOVSKOHO STREET
This Odessa Gangsta Folk band performs a mixture of Klezmer/ Balkan music with Odessa ‘hooligan’ folk songs. A wildly original atmosphere of old bandit times and a special feeling of Odessa humor well known in the world permeate the band’s concerts. Each performance of Felix Shinder’s band is a true show with a lot of interaction with an audience. “ITAKA” NIGHT CLUB ARCADIA BEACH AUGUST 26 AT 8PM Ivan Dorn “Jazzy Funky Dorn”
Summer sun and great music, and all this — at the Black Sea shore! Ivan Dorn and his dazzling Dornabanda will be burning up the stage in the style of jazz-funk. The evening program includes new arrangements of tracks from the albums Co’n’dorn and Random. GREEN THEATER SHEVCHENKO PARK AUGUST 27-28 Stand Up O’Fest
A super-fun two-day festival of stand-up comedy right on the beach. The participants come from all over Ukraine. In fact, last year’s 80 performers represented more than 12 cities. This year, they plan on expanding the participation and the number of funny performers. The festival features an opening ceremony on the first day and a gala concert with 12 of the best performers on the last. CONTEMPORARY CULTURE PALACE PORT 47/2 PRYMORSKA STREET AUGUST 27 Irena Karpa
A literary evening with a most interesting personage! Irena Karpa is a Ukrainian writer, singer, journalist and TV host. Since October 2015, also first secretary for culture at the Ukrainian embassy in France. GREEN THEATER SHEVCHENKO PARK
Okean Elzy does not need any introduction. They are a well-known phenomenon here in Ukraine and have been widely celebrated. Who
Odessa Calendar AUGUST 28 AT 8PM Searching for a husband for every day
The Odessa National Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Hobart Earle will perform in the Great Hall of the Odessa Philharmonic. ODESSA PHILHARMONIC HALL 15 BUNINA STREET SEPTEMBER 2 AT 8PM Kvartal 95
A fresh premiere, as always - about Love. An almost true story confirming that one of the main senses that a man and a woman stimulate in each other is the sense of humor! «BEIT GRAND» JEWISH CULTURAL CENTER 79 NEZHYNSKA STREET AUGUST 30 AT 7PM Stop. Photographed. Thank you.
SEPTEMBER 1,2 AT 7PM Symphonic music concert
SEPTEMBER 5 AT 7PM Concert in memory of Leonid Utesov “Favorite songs”
politics and wants to make a living and understand what will happen tomorrow. High time to erase the limits of old opinions, we live in the 21st century”, says the creator of the festival Alex Bogach. The festival supports and promotes the products and services of Ukrainian companies. BONO BEACH CLUB ODESSA 13 ARCADIA BEACH SEPTEMBER 10 Black Sea Summit 2016 — IT-conference in Odessa
The studio “Kvartal 95” is bringing an entertaining comedy performance to Odessa. They are best known for raw political humor. It’s a great show, with the laughter will continue long after the curtain falls. MIKHAIL VODYANY ODESSA ACADEMIC MUSICAL COMEDY THEATER 3 PANTELEIMONIVSKA STREET SEPTEMBER 2-4 Day of Odessa City
This is the entertaining premiere of the documentary film “Stop. Photographed. Thanks to all”, these are the words of the talented Vadim Kucher-Kutsan. He is known all over the world as a fantastic artist, making this an important premiere for Odessa. Other premieres will take place in Vildenburga, Germany; Lyon, France and Poland. Vadim died early, but his memory will remain with us for a long time. His pieces of dancing art will inspire artists and fans. Come take a closer look at his legendary life. ODESSA NATIONAL ACADEMIC OPERA AND BALLET THEATER 1 CHAIKOVSKOHO LANE
nies in original arrangements — this is a unique project that has no equal in Odessa or Ukraine. ODESSA PHILHARMONIC HALL 15 BUNINA STREET
The concert hall of the Opera and Ballet Theater will once again be filled with the songs of Leonid Utesov! Presented for the Day of Odessa City by the Distinguished academic ensemble of song and dance of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, under the direction of Dmitriy Antonyuk. ODESSA NATIONAL ACADEMIC OPERA AND BALLET THEATER 1 CHAIKOVSKOHO LANE SEPTEMBER 9 AT 7PM Anna Karenina
The conference will take place on the 10th of September in Odessa. It will bring together over 1000 participants from Ukraine, Eastern and Western Europe. The main objective of the conference is to promote IT-entrepreneurship, to establish cooperation between international funds, accelerators, business incubators and local institutions and organizations, as well as initiate a unified strategy for the development of IT-industry in the region. SADY POBEDY (VICTORY GARDENS) 10 APRIL SQUARE SEPTEMBER 10 AT 7PM Sergey Babkin Kvartinik
According to tradition, the Day of Odessa City will be celebrated on September 2nd. Planned events include the laying of flowers at the memorials for honored citizens of Odessa, the ceremonial raising of the flag on Dums’ka Square, the addition of new stars to the Odessa Star Alley, a gala concert at the Potemkin Stairs and fireworks accompanied by music.
A play based on Leo Tolstoy’s famous work, starring Olga Sumskaya in the title role. V. S. VASILKO ODESSA ACADEMIC MUSIC AND DRAMA THEATER 15 PASTERA STREET
SEPTEMBER 4 AT 7PM Jam Band and friends
SEPTEMBER 10-11 Revolution festival and fair
For the holiday of its favorite city, Jam Band will present its new compositions in concert. Ukrainian, Russian, Jewish, Moldovan, Romanian, and Greek songs, combined with modern rhythms and harmo-
Odessa is starting a revolution! No riots, slogans or takeovers. Instead, “a new vision of business in Ukraine. Everyone is tired of
Babkin is a musician, writer and performer of his own music as well as part of the band “5’nizza”. Above all, Babkin is an actor. Every one of his performances is inspired by theater. His concert in Odessa will be a real treat for fans of his work. This is part of his nationwide tour with Sergey Savenko and they will perform a limited number of “kvartirnik”s or house concerts. He reflects on his life with a fun program called “How it All Began”. TERMINAL 42 44 USPENSKA STREET
SEPTEMBER 15-30 AT 7PM Exhibition of Israeli sculptor Inna Nikolaeva
September 15th the Odessa Museum of Western and Eastern Art is opening an exhibition of sculpture by Inna Nikolaeva as part of the Israeli Culture Month. The main theme of the exhibition is the artist’s attempt to demonstrate the unique language of nature through 3D calligraphy. ODESSA MUSEUM OF WESTERN AND EASTERN ART 9 PUSHKINSKA STREET
SEPTEMBER 24-25 Gesheft Garage Sale
This event has become a beloved tradition in Odessa. It features the largest and most selective design market in Ukraine with more than 200 participants, gourmet street food, fantastic music performances, interactive zones and a special market and entertainment area for kids. GREEN THEATER SHEVCHENKO PARK
SEP. 28 - OCT. 1 International Literary Festival in Odessa
SEP. 28 - OCT. 22 2nd International Festival of Strings “Odessa Golden Violins. Fathers and sons.”
The Second International Literary Festival in Odessa will highlight modern world literature represented by 40 authors from Ukraine, Europe and beyond. The program includes literary readings, political, social, and cultural discussions. This festival takes a special approach to kids and young readers. Eight children’s authors will take part, with readings at the Odessa PUPPET THEATER AND IN CITY SCHOOLS.
Virtuoso violin players from all over the world will hold master classes (September 29th), perform at the Odessa Gorsad (September 30th), and conclude the festival on the stage of the Odessa National Academic Opera and Ballet Theater with a grandiose gala-concert on October 1st at 7.00 pm. Details at the event’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ OdessaGoldenViolins
What’s on in Kyiv Independence Day Celebrations
AUGUST 24 Festival “Heroes of an Independent Nation” beginning at 11.00 am. Features a volunteer fair, master classes, performances by Ukrainian rock groups and a Georgian dance ensemble. August 24th on Mihailovska Square. The theater “Cinema-City” will hold a movie marathon of modern Ukrainian film. Ukrainian Vyshyvanka parade in honor of Independence Day, official opening August 23rd, beginning of parade August 24th 12.00 noon at Kontraktova Square. An exposition of the battle flags of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Ukrainian National Guard, and the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, which had taken part in the anti-terrorist operation. August 23-25 on Sofiyska Square. “March for Independence” — August 24th on Maidan Nezalezhnosti and Khreschatyk, with the participation of 2000 members the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Ukrainian National Guard, and the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine. No military transport is expected to take part. The first annual borsch cooking championship is organized by Expocenter, near the 9th pavilion at 11.00 am. Restaurant chefs from all over the country will cook borsch according to their own recipe. Visitors can taste the culinary creations and cast their vote for the “Best Borsch of Ukraine”.
Odessa Calendar SEPTEMBER 1-4 Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days
The upcoming season promises to be very eventful. The main program presents S/S 2017 collections by Andreeva, Anna K, Anna October, Anouki (GE), Bekh, FLOW the Label, Ksenia Schnaider, Marianna Senchina, RCR Khomenko, THEO, V by GRES, Vahan Khachatrian (AM), Vozianov. Among the new names in the main program are Litkovskaya, TAGO, Dafna May, SHUSHAN, Chakshyn, Leonid Zherebtsov (KZ), Proskurovskaya, Tasha Mano. As per tradition, Kyiv’s Prada boutique in collaboration with Vogue Ukraine will present its new collection. The international project Fashion Scout Kiev will showcase 27 designers from Ukraine, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Romania, Greece and Thailand. For details, mbkievfashiondays.com SEPTEMBER 9 AT 8PM PUR:PUR concert at the Caribbean Club
The cult indie group PUR:PUR will perform an exclusive acoustic concert at the Caribbean Club. The energetic and heartfelt program will include both old and new compositions, with the always bewitching vocals of Nata Smirina. Not just a concert, but a joyful reunion with favorite artists. CARIBBEAN CLUB 4 PETLURY STREET SEPTEMBER 10-11 Fashion Air Days
The project Fashion Air Days was founded in 2015 with the intention of elevating the culture of shopping in Ukraine. This is the first fashion fair where the level of service corresponds to the quality of fashions. The project features the best designer collections selected for participation by professional stylists, free personal shopping advice for every visitor, make up and hair in the beauty zone, a kids zone with professional animators, and a lounge zone. M17 CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY ART 102-104 GORKOHO STREET
Moderat are bringing their new album “III” to Kiev! It is the culmination of the ensemble’s artistic career, an evolution of the club and rave culture of Berlin, an electronic music journey of 25 years. Emotion and energy are weaved into colorful musical textures, and the rhythmic tracks will surely get you moving. The Moderat concert is a cult event that can’t be missed! CONGRESS AND EXHIBITION CENTRE PARKOVY PARKOVAYA ROAD 16A
SEPTEMBER 12 AT 7PM Nino Katamadze and Insight
This concert is a long-awaited event for all fans of quality music with philosophic and emotional depth. The bewitching voice of Nino is immediately recognizable and her songs are an embodiment of honesty, spontaneity and charm. The singer’s work is highly praised by critics and fans throughout the world. ROOF 37-41 SECHOVYH STRELTSIV STREET SEPTEMBER 15 AT 8PM Moderat
SEPTEMBER 16-25 Gogolfest 2016. Babylon.
SEPTEMBER 15-17 YES — Yalta European Strategy
SEPTEMBER 11 AT 7PM Yung Lean
For the first time in Ukraine! One of the most prominent hip-hop artists of modern time. BINGO ENTERTAINMENT 112 POBEDY AVENUE
Will he be able to get out or have to stay there forever? NATIONAL COMPLEX “EXPOCENTRE OF UKRAINE” AT VDNKH 1 AKADEMIKA GLUSHKOVA AVENUE
The festival is an enormous artistic research project that exploring the myth of Babylon from a new, unexpected point of view. You will be treated to the most contemporary and interesting art projects in the fields of theater, choreography, academic and alternative music, performance, film, literature and visual arts. ART FACTORY “PLATFORM” Yalta European Strategy (YES) is the leading public diplomacy platform in Eastern Europe to develop strategies for Ukraine and Wider Europe and promote Ukraine’s European integration. YES was established in 2004 by Ukrainian businessman and public figure Victor Pinchuk. The YES Annual Meetings, have brought together world leaders in Ukraine to discuss strategies for Ukraine and Wider Europe on a global level. The biggest event of the year for the political class. By invite only! SEPTEMBER 15-17 AT 3PM Mysterious House Adventure
“Mysterious House Adventure” is the new show from the creators of the mystifying “Warden of Dreams”. This is a unique experience, full of incredible special effects and tricks. The story is about a tourist who strays away from the path and accidentally wanders a mysterious house. There are many surprising things awaiting him inside: strange characters, hilarious obstacles and other adventures.
SEP. 30- OCT. 28 “Odessa Fridays” at Officers House
This fall, the Officers House will host the hilarious “Odessa Fridays”. This is the Velvet season of theater, bringing the best Odessa plays with well-known actors. You will be treated to musical comedies and touching tales from the humor capital, bringing with them the authentic Odessa spirit. September 30, 19.00. 7:40, or party Odessa style October 28, 19.00. Contraband from Odessa November 4, 19.00. Need a ride? November 18, 19.00. Odessa dachas CENTRAL OFFICERS HOUSE OF THE ARMED FORCES OF UKRAINE 30/1 HRUSHEVSKOHO STREET
Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s on in Lviv The 23rd Lviv International Book Fair and Literature Festival
The Lviv International Book Fair and Literature Festival, the most significant book event of the country and one of the greatest in Eastern Europe, takes place annually in September since 1994. The festival encourages the development of the Ukrainian society by increasing cultural, intellectual and professional potential of communities, promotes Ukrainian literature, creating favorable conditions for interaction between readers and publishers, and enables the public presentation of Ukrainian authors from different countries. The focus theme of 2016: Reading Without Borders. In the context of the festival, the Publishers Forum takes place from September 15-18. The main location of the Publishers Forum â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Palace of Arts and the court of Potocki Palace. The festival also features 60 participating locations in downtown. For details and program, BOOKFORUM.UA
Odessa Calendar AUGUST Exhibition “Atheism, communism, totalitarianism: the past”
The creators of the exhibition are trying to rethink, and possibly, once and for all turn the page on a difficult period of Ukrainian history — the dominance of the communist regime and its unfortunate legacy. In 1973, the communist party in Lviv created a Museum of Religious and Atheistic History, placing it in a Dominican monastery, an architectural landmark from the 14th -18th centuries. The purpose of the Museum was to promote Soviet atheistic ideology, but there was the unintended consequence of keeping the religious history and relics of Lviv alive. MUSEUM OF RELIGIOUS HISTORY 1 MUZEINA STREET AUGUST 11 - SEPTEMBER 4 Exhibition of Yavorivsk “zabavka” toys
The annual international music and art festival Zaxidfest is the biggest open air festival in Ukraine taking place in the beautiful countryside of Lviv from August 19th to 21st. The festivities will feature performances by well-known musicians: Noize MC, Vopli Vidoplyasova, Zdob si Zdub, Onuka, Brutto, Pianoboy, Panivalkova, Christina Solovіy, the winner of Eurovision 2016 Jamala and many others. RODATYCH LVIV SUBURB
The lavish festival program includes film screenings, theatrical displays, visual projects, literary meetings, discussions, musical performances and master classes. The organizers are planning a great holiday concert for Independence Day, and hope to establish a real flea market in Levandivsky Park, something Sergei Parajanov would have loved. 20 POVITRYANA STREET
AUGUST 19-21 Zaxidfest
The largest folklore festival of Ukraine, and the main event of the Independence Day celebrations in Lviv. The festival opens with a parade through the center of town, continues with performances by wonderful folkloric ensembles, master classes, friendship evenings, cuisines from various cultures represented in Rynok square, and a festive gala concert will mark
SEPTEMBER 20 AT 6PM A house of women (The price of love) This play by the Polish playwright Zofya Nalkovskaya tells the story
AUGUST 22-30 2016 World Championship in rocket modeling
AUGUST 19-28 Parajanov Festival in Levandivtsi
AUGUST 22-24 International folklore festival “Etnovyr” The exhibition introduces the works of master “zabavka” maker Semyon Tlustov and master toy decorator Galina Shumilo. The Yavorivsk “zabavka” toys are an important part of historic toy making in Ukraine and Europe. This ornamental tradition comes from the town of Yavoriv in the Lviv area and is unique among the regions of Ukraine. MUSEUM OF FOLK ARCHITECTURE AND RURAL LIFE 1 CHERNECHA GORA
the closing. The festival takes place under the auspices of International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Traditional Arts (CIOFF®) and International Organization of Folk Art (IOV) under UNESCO patronage with the support of Lviv City Council. RYNOK SQUARE
More than 1000 rocket launches, over 300 participants from all over the world, 19 countries, 8 days of master classes, games, great food, and competitions. The Ukrainian team took first prize at the European Championship last year. So who will become champion of the world? SPORTIVNE MISTECHKO (BETWEEN THE VILLAGES OF GRYADA AND VELIKIY DOROSHIV IN MLYNIVKA)
of three generations of women. Directed by Alla Babenko, this is a psychological drama with the elements of mystery about the way even the closest people can turn out to be an enigma for one another. LVIV NATIONAL ACADEMIC UKRAINIAN DRAMA THEATER SEPTEMBER 22-25 Lviv Coffee Festival
SEPTEMBER 1-11 Contemporary arts week
For two years now, the Ukrainian society lives in a state of war, uncertainty, rebirth, disappointment, and hope. Can this context bring about a new era in the development of Ukrainian contemporary art? The program includes original and curated projects, performances, installations, objects, lectures, discussions, master classes. More than 30 artists from Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain and Israel will participate. “DZYGA” GALLERY 35 VIRMENSKA STREET
We love coffee. For us, coffee is more than just a drink. It’s an art, a tradition, a mystery. Coffee is communication, awakening, energy, and pleasure — all the best things that make up life. Lviv Coffee Festival unites people. We will create a special atmosphere for your encounters with friends and loved ones. We will show you the true culture of coffee, with professional accessories and methods. The best baristas in the country will experiment and create masterpieces for your enjoyment. LVIV ART PALACE 17 KOPERNIKA STREET
Odessa Calendar MINISTRY OF CULTURE OF UKRAINE PHILHARMONIC HALL, 15 BUNINA St.
1&2 SEPTEMBER / 2016
7 PM ODESSA PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA HOBART EARLE CONDUCTOR
CITY DAY CONCERTS
KHACHATURIAN ADAMTSEVYCH TCHAIKOVSKY SKALKOTTAS BERNSTEIN PIAZZOLLA MILHAUD BRAHMS BARBER SKORYK ELGAR BIZET VAHL 21
A New Railway Branch Will Connect Moldova And Ukraine “Moldova is planning to build a 55 kilometer long railway branch between Marculesti and Soroki, bypassing Transnistria and shortening the journey to Ukraine by 235 kilometers” — announced Anatoliy Shalaru, the Minister for Transport and Road Infrastructure of Moldova. He also noted that the Moldovan authorities have already turned to the leadership of the European Union, the European Bank for Development and Reconstruction as well as to the European Investment Bank with a request for project financing in the amount of 70 million euro. Currently, trains that transit through the territory of Moldova are forced to make a long detour in order to bypass the Transnistrian region. The new branch is expected to be built parallel to an already existing roadway shortening the bypass. At this time, there are only two passenger trains with routes through Transnistria from Kishinev to Moscow and to Odessa. The rest of the passenger trains, as well as freight trains carrying Transnistrian and Moldovan goods travel through the north of Moldova. This makes the train route 500 km longer, thus increasing costs and decreasing the volume of transport since the carrying capacity of the “northern Moldovan way” is two times lower than that which goes through Transnistrian route. It was previously reported that the railways of Ukraine and Moldova are intending to implement this project as well as implementing a reconstruction of the Artsyz-Berezino section. This would help complete the railway communication bypassing Transnistria, thus creating a straight path from Moldova to the ports of the Odessa region.
A New Gadget Will Fix Your Posture Several Odessan students want to help people with their posture and have developed a gadget that can take care of it while one works. Mevics promises its users a feeling of wellbeing and vitality by the end of the work day. It is well known that a good posture contributes to the health of internal organs, encourages proper breathing and good circulation and prevents nerve pinching and fatigue. Mevics is to be attached under the clothes with a magnet or a velcro strap. When the user begins to slouch, the gadget vibrates as a reminder to stand or sit straight. Gradually, the muscles of the back are trained and a habit of good posture is formed. The smartphone app monitors the position of the back in real time and records data about the user’s posture in the course of the day. Currently, Play Market carries the Android app, and the iOS version should be released in mid-November. Mevics was created by students of the Odessa Polytechnic University: Viktor Latinate (CEO), Maksim Tribunskiy (hardware development), and Vladislav Morzhanov (software development). They completed the prototype in three weeks, creating the first version of Mevics. The startup has a website which takes preorders and already has 300 potential clients. The Mevics team is now conducting testing with unbiased users in order to gather feedback before the first production round. The gadget will be sold for between $70-75 but those who preorder will get a 30% discount.
Memorandum Signed Between The Odessa Commercial Sea Port And P&O Maritime FZE According to the press service of the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine, the parties have agreed to explore the possibility of investment into the port sector of Ukraine. They have also agreed to begin work on the introduction of international “best practices” in port asset management. The document evidences the intention of P&O Maritime to invest into Ukrainian port assets, primarily into the towing fleet. The Minister of Infrastructure Vladimir Omelyan commented that “today we signed a document which confirms that Ukraine is prepared and has assets that are attractive to international investors. It is no secret that Ukraine needs partners that can offer not only investment, but an effective system of management with high social standards. DP World and its subsidiary P&O Maritime are exactly that sort of partner”. P&O Maritime is a leader in maritime services for governments and organizations worldwide. The company was formed 179 years ago and continues to operate vessels in dozens of countries over all seven continents. Today P&O Maritime is a subsidiary of DP World, a prominent port operator with more than 60 terminals on 5 continents, owned by the government of Dubai.
A Ukrainian Finalist In The Google Science Fair 2016 Four young scientists from Ukraine became regional finalists of the Google Science Fair 2016. This year, the competition received thousands of entries from 107 countries. According to competition rules, participants have to be between 13 and 18 years old. The top 100 ideas were chosen from different regions of the world, with the awards ceremony taking place in Mountain View, California on September 28th, 2016. The main prize is an academic grant for $50,000. “All projects are impressive in their creativity and thoughtful approach to world problems — from the technology of water purification to the creation of eco-fuel,” — the company noted. Polina Hadeeva is a student at Odessa specialized school #117. Her project description notes that: “I have always been interested in the exact sciences such as physics and mathematics. Last year I began taking extra classes in astronomy. I went on a tour of the Odessa National Mechnikov Committee observatory that is located in the village of Mayaki in the Odessa region. There, a scientist named Vladimir Koshuba showed me images of the asteroid 2012 LC1. I became fascinated with asteroids, because there is always a danger of the Earth colliding with one. That is how I decided to do photometric research of the asteroid 2012 LC1.” Polina adds that she would like to become an astronomer, and to study physics at Oxoford University. Participating in the competition allowed her to share the results of her work and to obtain experience in the writing of research papers.
Body Of An American Air Force Pilot Found Near Odessa Since July of this year, a search for the remains of air force pilot John D. Mumford, shot down in the summer of 1944 above the Odessa region, had been carried out by the employees of an American agency responsible for those killed in action and prisoners of war, the Department of Civilian-Military Cooperation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and the National Military History Museum of Ukraine. The remains of the second lieutenant of the U.S. Air Force and the fragments of his P-51 “Mustang” fighter plane were discovered a few hundred meters from the Ukraine-Moldova border, by the village of Novye Troyany in the Bolgrad district. He was identified by his personal tags as John Mumford. Mumford had taken part in the Soviet-American operation “Frantic” in the course of which American bombers were making shuttle flights in the triangle formed by Great Britain, Italy, and Poltava, carrying out air raids on strategic military and industrial sites of Nazi Germany and its allies. The name of John Mumford is etched on a memorial for American soldiers in Florence, Italy. He was awarded the Air Medal, the Purple Heart, the American Campaign Medal, and World War II Victory Medal.
Odessa Sport News At the Olympic Games in Rio, the Odessa region was represented by 7 athletes: Yulia Paratova, Anastasia Lysenko — weightlifting; Andrey Yagodka and Elena Kravatskaya — fencing; Nikolay Milchev — shooting; and Yuriy Cheban and Anastasia Todorova — rowing. Nikolay Milchev, a forty eight year old shooting competitor, is rightfully considered to be one of the most experienced athletes. These Olympic Games are the fourth of his career. The Odessite already brought home gold in 2000, having set an “eternal record” in Sydney. He was rightfully given the honor of carrying the Ukrainian flag at the Olympic opening ceremony. The annual international cycling race “Odessa Grand Prix” took its route through the historic part of the city. The prestigious event is taking place for the second year in a row and is included in the European cycling calendar. 15 teams from 6 countries were competing for victory at a distance of 142 kilometers. Gold and silver went to Ukrainians from the team “Kolss-BDC”: Alexandr Prevara (with a winning time of 3:34:50) and Vitaliy Buts. The bronze was taken by Belorussian cyclist Alexandr Golovash, who arrived 14 seconds later. 16-year old Odessite Diana Yastremskaya had a successful debut at the Wimbledon championship in London. In the semi-final, our countrywoman beat the top junior tennis player in the world — Olesya Pervushina from Russia, but lost in the final to another Russian player. After the tournament, she rises to 6th position in the international junior rankings. At the Olympic games in Rio, Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina beat the top tennis player in women’s singles Serena Williams, with a score of 6:4, 6:3 in two sets.
Literature in Odessa: Waiting For The Second International Literature Festival It is worth mentioning that Ukraine will be amply represented this year by The Odessa Review’s Boris Khersonsky, children’s author Ivan Andrusyak and graphic artist Sergei Zaharov, as well as a pair of very accomplished Ukrainian women who now make their home in Germany: Katya Petrovsky and Julia Kissina. In honor of the festival The Odessa Review is publishing a sampler of poetry by the American poet (and Odessa native) Ilya Kaminsky. Also, The Odessa Review’s Editor in Chief Vladislav Davidzon will be hosting a panel with Russian writer Viktor Yerofeyev.
The second International Literature Festival Odessa will take place in the Black Sea Port town from September 28th until October 1st. Upwards of forty authors from more than a dozen countries in Europe and Asia will be traveling to Ukraine to take part in the festival. Last autumn’s iteration proved to be immensely popular, with world renowned writers such as Eliot Weinberger coming to Odessa after having read and dreamed about the city for years. Odessa’s place in the history of literature and as a setting for the modern production of literature is an obvious attraction for writers and the international literary community. This year’s festival will feature many more authors participating than was the case last year. Ulrich Schreiber, one of the festival’s organizers explained that “our main goal also for this new iteration of the festival is to underscore the cultural charisma and international character of the city and to contribute to strengthening its connections with other
cultural metropolises in Europe and on other continents. In the first year we saw, that this concept works in Odessa — everybody was happy about this new idea. Specially the internationality was and is important, which will in no way be restricted to (but will include) accents on Eastern Europe and the Black Sea region”. For the first time there will be two special themes in the program: the “Future of Odessa”, in which some architects and urbanists will speak with international authors about the restoration of the old town center, and “Living on the water” since a lot of the participants are living near the sea or the ocean. The festival’s program for kids and young adults is growing quickly as well. There is a particular emphasis this year on the authors of books for children and youth, with 8 writers participating. Among them is Irish novelist John Boyne, the star attraction this year. He is the author of the bestsellers “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” and “The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket”, and will present his new book “The Boy at the Top of the Mountain”. Another festival guest is Marci Schigelsky who wrote a book for children about the Holocaust “Ark for an Hour”, translated into Ukrainian.
The international group of writers who will read at the festival is slated to include: Ivan Andrusjiak (Ukraine), Milena Baisch (Germany), Zsofia Ban (Hungary), Azouz Begag (France), Meriam Bousselmi (Tunisia), John Boyne (Ireland), John Burnside (Great Britain), Artmen Chapeye (Ukraine), Boris Khersonsky (Ukraine), Sonja Danowski (Germany), Jevgenij Demenok (Ukraine), Viktor Yerofeyev (Russia), Zsuzsanna Gahse (Switzerland), Ines Garland (Argentina), Olga Grjasnowa (Germany), Alexander Ilitschevskij (Russia), Ilya Kaminsky (USA), Esther Kinsky (Germany), Julia Kissina (Ukraine), Yitzhak Laor (Israel), Pedro Lenz (Switzerland), Nikola Madzirov (Macedonia), Tanja Maljartschuk (Ukraine), Amanda Michalopoulou (Greece), Laksmi Pamuntiak (Indonesia), Jurko Prochasko (Ukraine), Katja Petrowskaja (Ukraine/ Germany), Vladimir Rafeyenko (Ukraine), Jaroslav Rudiš (Czech Republic), Ivana Sajko (Croatia), Ales Steger (Slovenia), Marcin Szczygielski (Poland), Raphael Urweider (Switzerland), Edward van de Vendel (Netherlands), Serhij Zakharov (Ukraine).
On Vlad Troitsky: Ukraine’s Great Cultural Impresario By Peter Culshaw
A profile of the artist, director, promoter, set designer who is arguably the most interesting man now working in Ukrainian theater as he prepares for the premiere of his opera “Babylon,” which is set to open this August.
I have come across very few arts visionaries who seem to alter the energy of those around them, and who, even with their outlandish ideas, change reality by the force of their imagination. What is now real was once imagined, in the words of William Blake. Some people I would put in this precious category are Malcolm McLaren, Joseph Beuys and Fela Kuti. I would not hesitate for a second however to add to that list Ukraine’s Vlad Troitsky as an important cultural catalyst for all of world culture full stop. Troitsky has been the director of Kyiv’s storied Gogolfest every year since its inception, showcasing hundreds of Ukrainian artists of all stripes. This year’s fest motto is “Don’t wait — do something”. He was also instrumental in turning the Arsenale in Kiev into the modern, dynamic art center it is today. He is always on the go, but believes that one of the secrets of happiness (“and I am a very happy man” he says) is to live in the present rather than the past or future. He has kept off Facebook and limits the negative feelings he gets from overexposure to media, but knows exactly what is going on politically.
VLAD TROITSKY. PHOTO CREDIT: IGOR GAIDAY
Troitsky holds a seductive and positive line on Ukraine’s cultural situation. For him, Western Europe is “tired and cynical”, a place where everyone feels things are always getting worse - but that is not so in Ukraine, where things are on the up. Russia is an authoritarian, backward looking place that wants to send women back to the kitchen — Ukraine is a dynamic cultural place that holds more possibilities than ever. It is,
His ideas would be interesting from a theoretical point of view, but what gives Troitsky his power is that he turns many of them into reality. Whoever it was that said magic is the correct combination of will power and imagination could have been thinking of Troitsky. There was a feeling that Ukraine needed more contemporary music — Troitsky essentially dreamed up and put together the wildly popular neo-folk Dakha Brakha (in a not dissimilar fashion to the way that McLaren put together the Sex Pistols). Since then, he has been art director to Dakha Brakha and the all female “freak cabaret” group Dakh Daughters.
Troitsky isn’t a head-in-the-clouds sort of guy, but he does have a bracing grip on the big picture after all, the most fertile area of Europe, the place with the richest, darkest soil. A feminine country — with a strength that implies that there is “a lot of shit”, corruption, war and all the rest, but “step by step”, it steadily improves. “It’s not so cool for a bureaucrat to be driving a flashy car that he has afforded through taking bribes now”, he asserts. Troitsky isn’t a head-in-the-clouds sort of guy, but he does have a bracing grip on the big picture. His new opera “Babylon,” which will open this August, is his reaction to the rise of populist nativists embodied by Brexit, Trump and Le Pen. Countries and cultures don’t understand each other, and don’t want to anymore. It is typical for Troitsky to draw direct parallels between personal and state relationships. “The EU was a romantic idea”, he says “but like all romances there is the romantic phase and then…” relationship experts argue a power struggle phase and a “Dead Zone”, when you don’t know who is sitting opposite you at breakfast. Troitsky believes “Ukraine is at a romantic phase, which is why it is so powerful”.
Full disclosure if it can be called that: the first UK gig of Dakha Brakha, ten years ago, actually took place in my front room in Hackney, East London. It was attended by ten people. Now the ladies play to adoring crowds of thousands at the WOMAD and Glastonbury Festival, playing original and soulful music that is rooted not only in Ukrainian, but also in global culture. Likewise for the Dakh Daughters, whose video of them playing at the Euromaidan is a great introduction to their work. Now they too are touring internationally to critical acclaim.
is a married mother, and another who tells everyone she had an affair with an artist and his wife at the same time. That is a sort of freedom, perhaps. Troitsky might also say that in Western Europe there is a feeling that the sexual electricity between men and women is not what it once was — a diminution of the life force. For him, the “intellectual, sexual” Dakh Daughters on stage are the greatest ambassadors of the new Ukraine. Certainly, the two bands have inspired plenty of other groups to form, and if a Ukrainian musical renaissance is no longer a ridiculous or wishful idea, he is as much responsible for it as anyone. I first met Troitsky a decade ago, when he was about to bring a version of Macbeth to London’s Barbican Theatre. I was immediately struck by that inimitable sense of a positive vision allied with a steely will power. Soon I was staying at his place in Kyiv, and every morning, even if the river Dnieper was frozen over, he would go swimming. He talked of going to a shamanic retreat in Siberia where you would be buried in an ice hole for days. In fact, Troitsky was born in Siberia, but has lived in Kyiv for the last 35 years. At the collapse of the Soviet Empire, Troitsky built up a business which included shops on the main Khreshchatyk boulevard in Kyiv. Being an avant-garde theater enthusiast, he bought a building in downtown Kyiv twenty years ago and called it the Dakh Centre of Contemporary Theatre Arts. He set up a school for modern theater, enrolled himself in it
Troitsky has also been the director of Kyiv’s storied Gogolfest every year since it’s inception, showcasing hundreds of Ukrainian artists of all stripes Troitsky mentions that when Dakh Daughters played the Vienna Festival recently, a feminist gave them two reactions — she got a wonderful sense of freedom from the band, but was suspicious of Troitsky as a sort of patriarch daddy figure. The band replied that if she got this sense of freedom — why try and impose her ideas of feminism on them? It’s true that in this band there is a singer who
and invited directors that he admired, such as Igor Lysov, to come and lecture. In some ways his work aims to revive the theater milieu of the Soviet times, when Eastern European directors such as Tadeusz Kantor and Jerzy Grotowski produced idiosyncratic, physical theater that was among the most innovative in the world.
ater company was paid enough to keep them going for a few more weeks. Which is not beside the point, as it survives by performing these kinds of stunts. There was the opening of a nightclub called Guerrilla, where the dress code was Soviet military chic (though the notion of Soviet chic has declined understandably in the last few years).
I first met Troitsky a decade ago, when he was about to bring a version of Macbeth to London’s Barbican Theatre. I was immediately struck by that inimitable sense of a positive vision allied with a steely will power To return to my first night in Kyiv — we ended up at a fashionable restaurant which usually has a stylish, minimal décor. Except this time, the Dakh Centre for Contemporary Arts theater company covered the place with straw. There were live chickens everywhere, several actors were dressed as Ukrainian peasants, and a gang of musicians with drums and violins played in a music style that they described to me as “ethno-chaos”. Next, a dozen stunning girls arrived, dressed in bridal white. We went outside to an old amphitheater, where bonfires were lit and the brides began to rhythmically strike large sheets of metal with hammers. The movers and shakers of Kyiv’s fashion, media and business worlds were there in force and the event was judged to be a great success. The restaurant got lots of publicity and the the-
The company’s version of Macbeth loosely followed Shakespeare’s story, though with fairly little dialogue. Sometimes there were four witches and sometimes two — these were beautiful young sirens rather than old crones. Troitsky focused on the essential, archetypal elements of the play, and created a highly ritualistic piece using dance, masks and music to tell the story in an almost trancelike atmosphere. The mesmerizing music reflected his interest in the vocal traditional folk music of the Carpathian Mountains. It was also the first time that I heard the captivating music of Dakha Brakha. The play premièred in its original form a week before the Orange Revolution in November 2004, and the Macbeth tale of politics taken to extremes had obvious and striking contemporary resonance. Troitsky and his theater company were activists then, too, behind numerous ‘’happenings”. One of these was the act of delivering thousands of old shoes to the Russian embassy and keeping up the morale of protesters by performing for them. There have been many other theater productions, such as a take on the Biblical story of Job, that emerged in the last year. Troitsky talks intensely of his belief in a theater of “intellectual clowning, mystery, ritual and neo -baroque aesthetics”, theater as a vehicle for spiritual self-realization.
His health has suffered in the last few years and he said he had been on a two week Ayurvedic retreat in Kerala India. But “fine words butter no parsnips”, and Troitsky is a man of action and not merely of ideas, which is why he is to be treasured. In a TED talk he spoke of his belief that the old days of status and money politics were coming to an end. There would be a new politics of altruism where people recieved the most pleasure and status from giving things, such as attention, talent or money. All you would need to do is find people to accept your gifts. Crazily optimistic — especially in the new old Ukraine — but if anyone is likely to bring such a vision down to earth, it could only be Troitsky.
Peter Culshaw is a composer and writer who has been everywhere and knows everyone. He once got very drunk with Fidel Castro. He is the author of ‘Clandestino: In Search of Manu Chao’.
Odessa As The Avatar Of The New Ukraine On Ukraine’s Twenty Fifth Anniversary By Sergiy Dibrov One of Odessa’s most respected journalists writes about the progress that the city and the country have seen in the quarter of a century since independence.
Odessa is not an ordinary city and it possesses a magnetism which is impossible to describe. It inspires artists and photographers, singers and musicians. It knows how to love and to be loved. If Saint Petersburg was the “window to Europe”, then Odessa became a kind of “connector” through which the entire empire was linked to the rest of the world. Odessa’s proximity to Europe is not so much geographic (although that as well), but ideological, spiritual, perhaps even metaphysical. From the moment of its birth, Odessa has been a slice of Europe implanted into the steep shore of the northern Black Sea. It was separated from the Russian Empire by the “Porto Franco” line: a deep ravine with customs and an armed patrol. In contrast, Odessa’s communication with Europe was through the Black Sea and it was this closeness, or more exactly, this unbreakable unity with the rest of the world that formed the existential core of the city.
The Soviet government barely tolerated Odessa, in the same manner as one would tolerate an unloved foster child. The city and its port were indispensable to the Soviet Union, but only as loading and handling facility. Odessa’s historical and social nuances, and its openness to the world, were an annoying problem for a nation that separated itself from the rest of the planet with an “Iron Curtain”. Here were Soviet sailors coming back from abroad, foreign sailors with contraband goods such as chewing gum and tape recorders, forbidden literature by the likes of Solzhenitsyn and Nabokov and the no less forbidden Beatles and Elvis Presley recordings. The Soviet government remembered the port and the mighty Black Sea Shipping Company, but tried to forget about Odessa as a cultural phenomenon. “A great city with a provincial fate” — this was said about Saint Petersburg back when it was still Leningrad. Odessa was also part of the Soviet “provinces”, and its fate was even more disheartening — the city was gradually fading. The downtown streets, the city’s pride and the cradle of the unique Odessa spirit, were becoming desolated. For almost thirty years I lived near the famous Privoz market in a house built in 1837. It had seen Mark Twain and Balzac, but had never seen any repairs, and this was the case almost with all the historic buildings. In a similar fashion, not just physical but also cultural landmarks
of the Odessa mentality were allowed to fall into decline, or even deliberately destroyed. For example, the famous Odessa festival “Yumorina”, traditionally taking place on April Fools Day, was outlawed in 1976. Apparently, even as expressed in humor and satire, Odessa’s tendency to free thinking was dangerous for the Soviet regime. Odessa suffered greatly from post-war emigration. Thousands of people left the city, and in faraway countries they continued to think of themselves not as Soviet people, not as Jews or Russians, but Odessites. All over the world they created their own “little Odessas” because returning to their home city was an impossibility. Those who didn’t travel beyond the ocean, looked for a better life in the capitals. In the 1920’s, Moscow witnessed the emergence of “Odekolon”, an Odessan colony founded by great writers such as Eduard Bagritsky, Yury Olesha, Valentin Kataev, Ilf and Petrov. The flow of talent out of Odessa continued for many decades. It’s true that during Soviet rule the coastline was reinforced to prevent landslides. It’s true that wonderful sand beaches appeared, new sanatoriums opened, grandiose residential blocks were built and industries developed. However, at the same time, other things were happening — Odessa was losing its independence and spirit. Leningrad was the gate of the USSR, but our city was increasingly becoming the nation’s storehouse and back door.
Odessa supported Ukrainian independence — at the referendum on December 1st of 1991, more than 85% percent of the region voted in favor of independence. During the 90’s, the Ukrainian government lost a great deal of what it inherited from the USSR. The Black Sea Shipping Company, one of the greatest shipping companies in the world, faded out of existence. Odessites did not stop traveling the seas, only now they were doing so under all kinds of foreign flags. Nevertheless, the eminent “higher marine school”, now called the Odessa Maritime Academy, continues to produce graduates of the highest professional level, and any Odessan boy who dreams of the sea and oceans can make his dream a reality. Ukrainian sailors have a great reputation and are in demand all over the world.
Certainly life in Odessa has changed significantly after independence. Many large manufacturing plants closed because quite a few of them were servicing the military sector and after the end of the cold war, they became irrelevant. Instead, new businesses and entire commercial segments were created. A very important change also occurred in the status of the city and its role in the life of the nation. In the Russian Empire, Odessa was the fourth city in terms of population and significance, yielding only to the capitals — Moscow, Petersburg, Warsaw. In the Soviet Union, Odessa became a relatively provincial and obscure port town. Now in independent Ukraine, as a former mayor cleverly observed, Odessa is “not the first, but neither is it the second city of the country”.
It could be said that in the independent Ukraine, Odessa is returning to its roots and regaining its original essence. Just as 200 years ago, our port is exporting Ukrainian grain and importing “manufacture and other colonial goods”. The logic of the international market has put everything back in its place. Once in a conversation with a friend from Kharkov, I used the phrase “Odessan diaspora”. He did not understand me, to him a diaspora could only be an ethnic one. In response, I opened the website of the Odessa Mayor’s office, which has a department for “international relations, European integration and relations with the Odessan diaspora”.
No doubt, there are plenty of problems. The historic center, the heart of the city, still requires massive reconstruction and renovation. We are not living as well as we would like or deserve. But at least we already know that everything in life depends on ourselves, and I consider that to be the greatest achievement of our independence.
After Ukrainian independence, the large family of Odessites in the world could be reunited. The Iron Curtain came down, and Odessites from Israel, America, Germany and Australia became part of the Big Odessa once again. Today we are free to cross the border for a vacation, to obtain medical services, on a business trip, for educational purposes and even for a permanent change of residence — and then freely return to Ukraine. Though it is hard to imagine now, during Soviet times all that was impossible.
Has Odessa become ‘Ukrainized’ in the years since independence? Possibly. In the beginning of the 80’s, when I was in school, I learned Ukrainian from store signs and translations of classic European literature — books in Ukrainian were not so difficult to find as in Russian. Now you can purchase a book in any language, Russian, Ukrainian, English or Yiddish, and the signs come in all tongues as well. We have 36 local TV channels. In the Soviet Union there was one.
At the same time there is also a reverse process that could be called the “Oddessization of Ukraine”, although in truth it is a process of communication and mutual enrichment of two very close, similar and yet distinct cultures. Of course most importantly, Odessa still has the most beautiful women in the world. Although my wife is from Kiev, she fell in love with Odessa at first sight. “Kiev is great for work, and Odessa is great for life,” — she said soon after moving here, and now she lives in Odessa, just as all the most beautiful women always have. Odessa is still charming, it still knows how to love and be loved, talent is still born here, songs and legends continue to be composed in its honor — and that means that the true Odessa lives on. Happy independence day to Ukraine and Odessa both!
Sergiy Dibrov is a journalist for Dumskaya. He lives in Odessa.
Remembering Babyn Yar: A 1966 Speech And 50 Years Later By Natalia A. Feduschak The official 75th anniversary commemorations of the Nazi massacres that took place at Babyn Yar ravine in Kyiv will take place in Kyiv between September 23-29. The Ukrainian Jewish Encounter, a Canada-based non-governmental organization, working in cooperation with the World Jewish Congress, Ukraine’s government and other Ukrainian Jewish and diaspora organizations, will also sponsor a series of public events in memory of what took place. On a sun drenched Kyiv afternoon, September 29, 1966, the Ukrainian writer and dissident Ivan Dziuba addressed a crush of several hundred people surrounding him. “I want to say a few words — a one-thousandth part of what I am thinking today and what I would like to say,” he told the crowd. “I want to turn to you as people, as to my brothers in humanity. I want to address you, Jews, as a Ukrainian, as a member of the Ukrainian nation, to which I proudly belong. Babyn Yar, this is a tragedy of all humanity, but it happened on Ukrainian soil. And that is why a Ukrainian does not have the right to forget about it, just as a Jew [doesn’t]. Babyn Yar, this is our common tragedy, a tragedy first of all of the Jewish and Ukrainian people.” Fifty years later, Mr. Dziuba is expected to return to the place where he uttered those words, the ravine in Kyiv known simply by its citizens as Babyn Yar, to take part in a ceremony. It is here, in a wooded area of Ukraine’s capital, that one of the greatest single Nazi massacres of World War II took place: Over a two day period in 1941, on September 28-29, over 34,000 Kyivan Jews were shot to death. During the next two years of Kyiv’s German occupation, more killings and burials of peoples the Nazis deemed enemies occurred at the ravine. These included Ukrainians, Roma, Soviet POW’s and others. Yet
To commemorate Babyn Yar’s 75th anniversary, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko has launched a series of commemorative state events
of the estimated 100,000 victims at Babyn Yar, over two-thirds were Jews. Babyn Yar is the most potent symbol of what has become known in recent years as “the Holocaust by Bullets”. Between 1941 and 1945, some 1.5
million Ukrainian Jews were systematically shot in fields and ravines throughout the territory that makes up modern-day Ukraine. Because of its sheer magnitude, Babyn Yar survived in the collective memory of Ukrainians, even as first German, and then Soviet, authorities tried to destroy all traces of the crime. To commemorate Babyn Yar’s 75th anniversary, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko has launched a series of commemorative state events. In addition,
a series of non-governmental commemorative events are planned. Public events sponsored by the UJE include a youth conference that will bring together 200 young people from Ukraine, the United States, Canada, Israel and Europe to participate in a week-long program that will focus on Babyn Yar and the Holocaust, emphasize historical awareness, mutual respect toward ancestral heritage and civic responsibility; a symposium devoted to Babyn Yar as a signal event of the Holocaust; and a memorial concert that will feature works by Max Bruch, Yevhen Stankovych and Johannes Brahms. The UJE has also supported an international landscape
competition, recently completed, that will expectantly act as a first step in helping transform Babyn Yar, currently deemed a recreational area, into a memorial park that will honor those killed and buried beneath its grounds. In related events, the Pinchuk Art Centre is currently hosting the exhibition “Loss. In Memory of Babi Yar”, which features the works of contemporary artists Christian Boltanski, Berlinde De Bruyckere and Jenny Holzer. A cinema series and documentary photo exhibit will also take place in Kyiv that week. In his 1966 speech, Mr. Dziuba spoke not only of the importance of memory, but of the many factors that led to Babyn Yar: “This tragedy was brought to our nations by fascism. But do not forget that fascism does not start with Babyn Yar and it does not end there. Fascism begins with disrespect for a person, and ends with the destruction of a person, a destruction of nations — but not necessarily only with such destruction as in Babyn Yar.” He asked in those distant days of 1966 for Ukrainians to look within, to recognize similarities between the two peoples and to honor those Jewish figures rooted in Ukrainian lands. He expressed shame at the anti-Semitism he still saw among his own people, and asked that Jews also show understanding and tolerance. “As an Ukrainian, I am ashamed that among my nation — as among other nations — there is anti-Semitism, there is a shameful, unworthy human phenomena called anti-Semitism,” he said. “We, Ukrainians, should in our environment fight against any show of anti-Semitism or disrespect to Jews, a non-understanding of Jewish problems.
A memorial to the victims of Babyn Yar.
Belongings of the victims.
More than 300 prisoners of war are burying the bodies in a ravine.
You, Jews, should in your environment fight against those who do not respect the Ukrainian person, the Ukrainian culture, the Ukrainian language, who unfairly sees in every Ukrainian a hidden anti-Semite.” Mr. Dziuba, who recently turned 85, will receive during the commemorative week the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Award, which is conferred by the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine and UJE to an individual in Ukraine, Israel or the diasporas for work in fostering Ukrainian-Jewish relations. Previous recipients of the award were UJE board chairman James C. Temerty C.M. and Ukrainian businessman Victor Pinchuk. Mr. Dziuba’s most important message 75 years after the Babyn Yar tragedy and his address to those present at the ravine a half-century ago is about the danger of remaining silent. “There are things”, he said, “there are tragedies before which the enormity of any word is powerless and about which silence will say more — the great silence of thousands of people. Maybe for us here, it is fitting to do without words and silently think the same thing. But silence only says much there, where all that can be said has already been said. But when much still has not been said — when nothing has been said — then silence becomes the accomplice of lies and non-freedom. That is why we speak and must speak — where we can and where we can’t, using all opportunities which happen to us infrequently.”
Natalia A. Feduschak is Director of Communications at the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter
Kyiv, 1941. Photographs by Johannes Hähle, war photographer of the 637th Propagandakompanie of the Wehrmacht’s 6th Army. Hähle died in 1944. All photographs were captured on 36mm AGFA Color film. The signage “AGFA COLOR” is located beyond the perforation on the top of each frame, the numbering of frames is on the bottom. The first two frames are missing, possibly damaged during film loading or lost. There is a total of 29 color photographs.
The Ethical Void In Ukrainian Politics By Nick Holmov
Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada is famously dysfunctional and full of parliamentarians who engage in shady business practices and other assorted unethical behaviors. The parliament is badly in need of a well written code of ethics.
The Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, is (in)famous the world over for phenomena which include but are not limited to: fist fights, populist political showboating, and being the most exclusive business club in the country. It is however not known for possessing a robust sense of integrity, individual morality, or the group ethic that is commonly associated with democracy and good governance. There is a vast chasm at the center of the Verkhovna Rada where ethics should be. Since independence in 1991, no expeditionary force has ever been sent into that void with the hope of groping around in the darkness and returning with the building blocks of parliamentary ethics. The situation of Ukraine’s parliamentary ethics is one that has yet to be
interests in the politics of many Ukrainian parliamentarians, there may be tangible gains in tackling corruption. In this context, the creation, adoption and enforcement of a parliamentary ethical code of practice would seem to be a necessary compliment to anticorruption legislation and the national reform process. But what should such a code look like? No two nations have exactly the same code of ethics for their State institutions. All vary to take into account national peculiarities, and any Ukrainian ethical code could not be a simple carbon copy of another nation’s code. There are numerous areas of overlap between anticorruption legislation and any future parliamentary ethics code. Conflicts of interest, lobbying, advo-
There is a vast chasm at the center of the Verkhovna Rada where ethics should be confronted. The concept of parliamentary work is one that requires an ethical context and certain expectations of political behavior both within and beyond the office. A society that is light years ahead of its parliament in terms of democratic values cannot continue to endure legislators who feel no obligation to consider the moral and ethical outcomes of their actions. While this negative perception continues within the domestic constituency and among external observers, there is little chance of increasing trust in the drivers behind national legislature. Given the almost inseparable melding of business and personal
cacy, declaration of vested interests, and the receipt of “gifts” above a certain value are just the tip of a larger iceberg, and do not constitute an exhaustive list of issues where ethical and legislative lines can be smudged. For any parliamentary code of ethics to have any hope of being adhered to, several concerns need to be addressed, including the one of code enforcement when parliamentarians stray or deliberately choose to ignore it. There is a necessity for a body to hear the issues, and to decide upon clearly identified and meaningful punishment for infractions. How the representatives in this body are chosen, and how
they would identify a breach of parliamentary ethics would also have to be determined. An ethics committee with the power to discipline seems the simplest answer. All parliamentarians must be fully aware of what the code of ethics contains as well as the expectations set upon them. There would also have to be understandings about any possible exceptions. Perhaps a “handbook” could be issued to all parliamentarians, with a required signature upon receipt signifying not only familiarity with the contents, but also unquestioned agreement to abide by the code. A recurring issue with Ukrainian legislature is that too often it creates legal text that either heads into unnecessary microscopic detail, or is left so broad as to be almost unenforceable. When creating an ethics code, care needs to be taken for it to be neither too restrictive, nor too slack without meaningful consequences imposed for those that transgress. Approaching the issue of ethics for the Ukrainian parliament, simple yet pertinent questions need to be asked. What do Ukrainian parliamen-
It would seem foolish not to use an ethics code to try and force a wedge between the business interests and political duties of each parliamentarian tarians consider their role to be, aside from furthering personal interests? What does the Ukrainian constituency perceive their current role to be, and what could their role be instead? Where are the gaps between the former and the latter? Is there any point to having a parliamentary code of ethics when all the parliamentarians enjoy absolute immunity from the law? Whether absolute immunity should be retained or not, Ukrainian deputies will have to act according to the Constitution of Ukraine and to uphold the law at all times. Such things are generally included within the Oath when taking office, and equally generally ignored, but a reminder in the form of an ethics code with disciplinary consequences is entirely appropriate. Perhaps if the members of parliament are failing to find the courage to remove their own immunity en masse and permanently, then the ethics code could state that such immunity will not shield them against the just application of the law. Thereby immunity will be lifted as a matter of course unless it can be shown that the application of the law would be unjust. However, taking the events of Euro Maidan and the “Revolution of Dignity” as a guide, there may have to be room for a narrow caveat to exercise civil disobedience in support of democracy or human rights issues. An ethical code should also contain an imperative for each parliamentarian to insure that the national laws that they personally draft and vote for, comply with the obligations and commitments to international law and treaties to which the nation has entered. As recent Ukrainian history underlines, it would be wise to institutionalize certain attitudes regarding protecting and promoting democracy. In the usually fractious, dirty and nefarious Ukrainian political world, undertaking to accept legitimate democratic outcomes is a necessary condition. A duty to pluralistic and tolerant discourse both within and
without parliament is worthy of inclusion in the code — that is within the bounds of tolerance, for there are of course limits to tolerating the intolerable. Considering the Verkhovna Rada often resembles a Roman gladiatorial theatre, clearly an absolute ban on physical violence and intimidation will have to be included. There may be a need for a requirement that a parliamentarian condemns unconditionally any violent actions whenever they occur. Any such actions clearly bring the institution into disrepute and should not be suffered without meaningful recourse. There is currently little fear of the shrinking space for civil society returning to Ukraine as witnessed under the Yanukovych regime. Nevertheless, an ethical code should oblige parliamentarians to insure a broad and fertile space for civil society, because it is not a document written just for a particular moment in time. It is a code of somewhat eternal nature, albeit having to stay in step with societal ethics as they too change and evolve over time. It would also be wise, if not a necessity in Ukraine’s current state of development, to include a solemn undertaking not to undermine or nefariously influence the institutions of State. Phrasing it as a duty to advocate for and protect all democratic institutions would also cleverly put a positive veneer upon such an issue. Sadly, it would be quite necessary to include a specific reminder to deputies that they do indeed serve the public and not merely themselves. This could be framed as a public interest clause making it absolutely clear that their duties within the Verkhovna Rada are to create and implement effective governance. These duties could be fulfilled through the legislation they write and pass, through their participation in committee debate, through regularly turning up to work at the Verkhovna Rada (in far too many MP’s case this needs to be spelled outright). When absent from the Verkhovna Rada, unless
on sanctioned holiday or on official delegation visits, parliamentarians should be obliged to be engaging with, representing, and serving their constituents. There must be accessibility that goes far beyond having a Facebook page or a generic email address which always goes unanswered. It seems some consideration regarding interaction with the media will be required too. Neither Ukrainian parliamentarians, nor the Ukrainian media have much in the way of constituency credit when it comes to ethics. What level of political spin, halftruth and fairytale is acceptable before it becomes unethical? What of social media interaction when a parliamentarian’s Facebook seeks to cut out an equally unethical media conduit? The cleverer way may be not to deal with media interaction specifically within an ethics code. Rather, it might fall within a wider clause relating to transparency, good will, and good faith with regard to all public interaction. Theoretically, the more time filled with national politics and the more obligations contained within an ethics code, the less time would be available for furthering personal and vested interests. It would seem foolish not to use an ethics code to try and force a wedge between the business interests and political duties of each parliamentarian. However the absence of a codified ethics is addressed, it cannot be ignored indefinitely. If the Verkhovna Rada confronts this issue and adopts such a code, it could set an example that would seep into the regional legislatures and other State institutions as well. The Ukrainian policy arena will suffer if it does not do so.
Nikolai Holmov is The Odessa Review’s political columnist. He is a writer, and consultant specializing in Ukrainian politics, civil society, local governance and security affairs. He is the founder of the widely read Odessatalk blog.
The Art Arsenal: What Happened When Culture Crossed Swords With Politics By Kateryna Smagliy An extended conflict over the leadership position of Ukraine’s preeminent art institution has opened up a vigorous debate on the issue of corruption. This article first appeared in a slightly different version in The Atlantic Council’s New Atlantcist publication. During his July 7 visit to Kyiv, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the United States would pour an additional $23 million in aid into Ukraine. Radiating sincerity, President Petro Poroshenko said this decision was a “vivid reflection of a deep trust that the United States has for Ukraine” as well as Ukraine’s “commitment to reforms.” Yet Ukraine’s reforms, particularly those addressing corruption, still have a long way to go. That was graphically illustrated by a small scandal simultaneously occurring in one of the country’s cultural institutions. As high state officials exchanged pleasantries, the presidential Administrative and Logistical Support Department (its Ukrainian acronym is DUS) began selecting a new director for Art Arsenal, Ukraine’s most significant and successful cultural center. This trivial episode could have easily gone unnoticed, had it not triggered a wide debate on whether the ap-
revival and national identity. When Natalia Zabolotna was appointed its director, the former military factory was nothing but an empty space crowded with piles of industrial debris. Wasting no time, Zabolotna rolled up her sleeves, cleaned up the ruins, and kicked off what Newsweek later called “Ukraine’s contemporary art revolution.” In 2011, The Day newspaper named Zabolotna it’s “Person of the Year”. Since then, she was regularly ranked the most successful art manager in Ukraine. Art Arsenal has hosted more than sixty high caliber projects and exhibitions, attracting millions of visitors who queued in long lines to see masterpieces by artists such as Kateryna Bilokur, Maria Pryimachenko, and Kazimir Malevich. As a civic activist, Zabolotna worked on cultural reforms and drafted legislative proposals to increase state cultural funding based on the UK’s Heritage Lottery Fund model. In short,
The Day newspaper named Zabolotna it’s “Person of the Year”. Since then, she was regularly ranked the most successful art manager in Ukraine pointment of a new art manager in Kyiv was yet another indication of the country’s political graft and corruption. Opened by President Victor Yushchenko in 2008, Art Arsenal stands as a symbol of Ukraine’s cul-tural
she proved to be an independent, talented, and charismatic woman — something that Ukraine’s male-dominated political establishment does not easily tolerate. Despite her outstanding performance, the DUS refused to
renew Zabolotna’s contract in May of this year, offering no official explanation. Unofficially, it was known that she had protested against the idea of increasing the Arsenal’s revenues by building business centers, shopping malls, and other leisuretime entertainments on its ten hectare territory, which is located across from an eleventh century national heritage site. Outraged, Ukraine’s artists, civil society actors, and international partners stood up in protest. The “I support Art Arsenal” initiative attracted hundreds of followers, all demanding transparency. President Poroshenko, whose ratings have been declining, asked the DUS to organize the position’s other candidates. Seven applications were submitted, but Zabolotna’s only real challenger was Olesya Ostrovska-Lyuta, a former manager of cultural projects for Rinat Akhmetov’s foundation and a former deputy culture minister. Known as an honest and professional expert, Ostrovska-Luyta has no experience managing large-scale art projects. Evgen Karas, founder of Kyiv’s Karas Gallery,
noted that she “never demonstrated courage and dynamism,” and that her approach was “that of a balanced bureaucrat, who... skillfully juggled the terminology of planning for the sake of planning, not... tangible and reality-weighted results.” Following the candidates’ interviews, Mirror Weekly reported that the president of the Ukraine 3000 Foundation, who was on the selection committee, voted for Ostrovka-Lyuta under pressure from the Poroshenko Bloc parliamentary faction. Ostrovska-Lyuta was chosen for the position, but she published a statement the day after the interview acknowledging that manipulations took place and proposed the the competition be reopened. She wrote,
cil. These include special hospitals, apartments, state dachas, catering services, motor pools and aviation parks, even drug stores and beauty salons. But the agency is one of Ukraine’s most corrupt institutions. For example, Kuchma’s DUS director, Ihor Bakai, ended up as a fugitive in Russia. Yanukovych’s appointee, Andriy Kravets, embezzled DUS funds and then fled, but returned six months after the Euromaidan, apparently given security guarantees from the highest levels of goverment. Poroshenko’s first director of the DUS, Serhiy Berezenko, is a native of Vinnytsia. After his election to the Rada, the position was inherited by his protégé, Serhiy Borzov, former manager of the Vinnytsia comedy club “The Vinnytsia Peppers,” which was rumored to be linked to Poroshenko’s charity
Outraged, Ukraine’s artists, civil society actors, and international partners stood up in protest. The “I support Art Arsenal” initiative attracted hundreds of followers, all demanding transparency “Having given it a second thought and having felt the weight of frustration, I must be honest and say that sometimes it is better to hold a repeat competition, than to carry this burden into the future.” It remains to be seen whether the president and his subordinates, who masterfully turned the transparent competition into a farce, will take Ostrovska-Lyuta’s words seriously. What is clear, however, is that the Art Arsenal story was not about the arts, but about power, politics, money, and land. It also uncovered a much deeper problem often overlooked by foreign governments and donors: the long overdue need for reform of Ukraine’s state privileges. Established by former President Leonid Kuchma to provide a variety of services to Ukrainians, the DUS has an annual budget of $50 million and supervises sixty state enterprises that serve staffers of the presidential administration, the Verkhovna Rada, the Cabinet of Ministers, and the National Security and Defense Coun-
fund. It is believed that Berezenko de-facto manages the DUS via Borzov. Ukrainian investigative journalists recently reported that Borzov is paid for his loyalty well. Having served the state for less thana year, last month he was given a 190-square meter apartment in downtown Kyiv worth $500,000. Berezenko had plans to “improve” Arsenal’s territory from his first day in office. In interviews, he said he fancied “building a modern cultural hub on Arsenal’s territory modeled on the George Pompidou Center in Paris.” And he has nurtured partnerships with real estate developers and other businessmen who appear to have similar motives. Soon after Berezenko’s “Pompidou” interview, Poroshenko decided to change the composition of the Arsenal’s advisory council, replacing its chairman Viktor Yushchenko with Presidential Chief of Staff Borys Lozhkin, an art collector. Yarema Kovaliv, then director of the Arricano Real Estate (the developer of huge shopping malls in Kyiv and Odesa), and Andriy
Myrhorodsky, who is business partners with Andriy Kravets, also joined the Arsenal advisory council. In 2008, Myrhorodsky and Berezenko served on the Kyiv municipal council; the civic platform “The Forum of Kyiv Protection” found them involved in massive land grabs in Kyiv. Although Myrhorodskyi makes no secret of his ties to former DUS chief Kravets and Yanukovych’s family, Berezenko nonetheless is currently lobbying for him to serve as chief architect of Kyiv. Two lessons can be drawn from the Art Arsenal saga. First and foremost, it is time to reduce the vulnerability of Ukraine’s cultural institutions and guarantee their independence from political influence. This is critically important for Ukraine’s democracy. Otherwise, Ukraine will be in line with Post-Soviet autocracies like Azerbaijan, Russia, and Turkmenistan, where the arts are inseparable from the state and only further its propaganda interests. That is one reason why it is a bad idea to create a new Ukrainian Cultural Fund under First Lady Maryna Poroshenko’s patronage, as Culture Minister Yevhen Nishchuk recently proposed. Second, the ardent fight for the Arsenal is a vivid demonstration that Ukraine’s civil society provides a powerful check on the government, and is still a real watchdog that is fighting to keep Ukraine on track. That’s something the US State Department should remember when it makes its next decision about providing financial support to Ukraine.
Kateryna Smagliy is the Director of the Kennan Institute’s Kyiv Office.
I Will Keep Coming Out: A Dialogue On The State Of LGBT Rights In Ukraine A co-founder of Ukraine’s path breaking Hromadske Internet television station, Maxim Eristavi is one of the most widely known openly gay people in Ukraine. The Odessa Review asked the well known American journalist James Kirchick, fellow with the Foreign Policy Initiative and author of the forthcoming book, The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues and the Dawn of a New Dark Age, to engage in a conversation with him about the situation of LGBT life in Ukraine. This conversation became especially timely after Odessa hosted it’s first LGBT pride parade and demonstration on August 13th, 2016.
Two years after the Maidan, I’m still the only openly gay journalist in this country of 42 million Odessa Review (James Kirchick): It appears that there has been a burst of LGBTI visibility in Ukrainian life post-Maidan; you are yourself an example of this new visibility. What was it about the Maidan that made LGBTI people more assertive?
Maxim Eristavi: I wouldn’t go as far as to call it “a burst.” Two years since the Maidan, I’m still the only openly gay journalist in this country of 42 million. Yes, local LGBTI activists are more outspoken, and gay Ukrainians now have more powerful allies — a number
of members of the parliament, the vice prime minister for European integration, Kyiv police chief and Kyiv mayor among them, we’ve just had the first ever violence-free Kyiv Pride, for which I secured the participation of EU parliament members. So I feel like the pivotal moment is already here, the conversation about denying equal rights to queer Ukrainians is transforming from marginal to mainstream. I’m sure our change of rhetoric among equality fighters has helped a lot: instead of lobbying on behalf of expanding civil rights for specific groups, we instead appealed to universal values, like freedom of expression, protection from violence, freedom of speech. The Ukrainian public has responded. This year I heard so many people saying that “maybe they still don’t understand the concept of queer rights”, but that they felt outraged when a peaceful civil rights march (Kyiv Pride) was threatened by Neo-Nazi thugs. This is not something that post-Maidan, the country will tolerate ever again. It fills me with pride to see how much of a difference
two years have done for this country after we were forced to cancel Kyiv Pride in the first post-revolution year amid violent threats and police indifference. Still, the end of the tunnel is years ahead: when it comes to openly queer Ukrainians, I can count them on the fingers of two my hands, with almost all of them are being LGBTI activists. Outside of Kyiv there is a land of fear and violence where almost nobody would ever dare to come out amid zero protection from violence and discrimination that this state can offer us. OR: Can you describe what the atmosphere was like before Maidan? How did Ukraine compare to other post-Soviet countries, and how would you say it ranks today?
There are plenty of people whom I know who have left the country in fear for their lives or at least in pursuit of a place where people will treat them as fundamentally equal human beings ME: Eastern Europe is a primary example of the constructed nature of homophobic hate. Obviously, during Soviet times a ban on homosexual relationships was ruthlessly enforced. But right after communism’s collapse in the region, queer culture quickly emerged with Moscow and Kyiv becoming massive hubs for gay people all around the former Soviet Union. Ukraine was the first country in the former communist block to decriminalize homosexuality. Unfortunately, progress is reversible. Things turned ugly in the mid 2000’s with the emergence of institutional hatred towards gay people in Russia, where the political elites used gays as a tool to deflect attention from increasingly authoritarian re-
gime. It is always easier to distract the public by cultivating the myth of “the enemy within”. International religious groups jumped on the trend very quickly. Feeling like they are losing the battle at home, many American evangelical groups supplied local churches with superbly crafted homophobic strategies. Their exported globalized homophobia took root in the developing world, exploiting the insecurities of local societies which were under increasing pressure of disruptive globalization. Moreover, Russia went “creative” by becoming the first state in human history to implement homophobia as part of official foreign policy. Through numerous political satellites all around the region, the Kremlin has implanted hatred based policies, such as the outrageous “anti-gay propaganda” laws. This provoked a spike in levels of homophobia from the Baltic states to the Caucasus. The Maidan revolution with its strong message of citizen equality was a promising development for queer Ukrainians. Unfortunately,
local LGBTI groups with their strong dependence on foreign donors and almost nonexistent grassroots links, failed to capitalize on the movement. Sadly, where Russian foreign policy left off, the cause of homophobia in Ukraine was quickly picked up by radical farright militias. Surging levels of violence and unrestricted hate speech in 2014-2015 made the situation with queer rights in Ukraine quite horrible. I’ve never seen anything like it before. It is not like Ukrainians suddenly became more violent or homophobic. Yet, I blame the reluctance of the state to condemn far-right violence in a tactical attempt to keep these groups as possible allies in the future. In recent months it has become quite obvious that many Ukrainian politicians are set to use homophobic tactics as an effective “electoral deflector” in these uncertain times. It is easier for them to divide the society along clear gaynon gay line, than to admit their lack of reformist agenda. Still the situation in Ukraine at the moment is promising, as many countries in the region (Moldova, Poland, Georgia) keep rolling back rights. At the same time, it is dangerously fragile, with empty promises sitting in the place of basic protective legislation. Continuing international pressure helps in withstanding the comeback of institutional homophobia in Ukraine, but with growing “Ukraine fatigue”, I’m not sure how long we can keep up our defenses. OR: Let’s talk more about the issue of international pressure with regard to LGBTI rights. How effective has it been in Ukraine and how would you rate Western governments and multinational institutions like the EU in that regard?
ME: The international support has been incremental for strengthening the equality fight in Ukraine over the past two years, but I doubt that our foreign friends understand the importance of this fight. I feel strong and
back in Ukraine, the LGBTI issue is not a side gig for foreign diplomats anymore. Still, the understanding of the problem’s scope is not really there yet. Ukraine is a massive frontline in the fight against globalized homophobia. Long gone are those times when LGBTI progress would depend on merely local historic
This year I heard so many people saying that maybe they still don’t understand the concept of queer rights, but that they felt outraged when a peaceful civil rights march (Kyiv Pride) was threatened by Neo-Nazi thugs growing support for LGBTI movement in Ukraine from a number of European governments. Three members of the European parliament marched together with Kyiv Pride people this year, for the first time ever. As a civil rights advocate I receive a very warm welcoming all around Europe and North America. Our relationships haven’t been an easy road, though. Two years ago the issue of rising LGBTI violence in Ukraine was completely ignored by both our American and European partners. In early 2014, all the anti-discrimination laws where completely scrapped from the EU — Ukraine trade and visa talks. Back then, amid intensifying hate speech and violence, most foreign governments (as well as international LGBTI groups) kept silent. “It is not as bad as in Russia,” some diplomats would brush me off. Step by step, meeting by meeting, story by story, broadcast by broadcast, I was relentlessly trying to push the issue into the mainstream. Honestly speaking, 90% of the time I didn’t feel like theres was any change possible. Two years later, thanks to joint efforts by our allies abroad and brave queer fighters
path-dependency. Homophobia all around the world has the backing of powerful international groups, which often include both governments and churches. Losing a country the size of Ukraine to them would surely open the door for institutionalized homophobia
ME: My coming out is still happening. Moreover, I’m not sure it will ever end. I came out to myself quite early, even before school. Later, I came out to friends and to my parents. But the country hated me and I hated it back. So I escaped. By the time I had moved out of Ukraine, I thought that was it, and it was the end of my coming out and it was now time to settle for a comfortable life as a gay man in some Western country where people would actually treat me as an equal human being. It turned out however that is not something that would bring me peace. Running away is not what I should do, I began to understand. So I stopped, turned around and started fighting back. First, I felt like it would be honest and crucial to come out to my audience — as a journalist covering a lot of LGBTI issues it wasn’t fair for me to keep my personal involvement out of the story. As for English-language journalists, that coming out was largely aimed at a foreign audience. After people started translating my stories into Russian and Ukrainian, the eventual public coming out at home hap-
Through numerous political satellites all around the region, the Kremlin has implanted hatred based policies, such as the outrageous ‘anti-gay propaganda’ laws taking over the whole region. We also desperately need to change development tactics as well: there is growing empirical evidence that the path to consolidated democracy and a vibrant and creative society lies through human rights and civil rights equality. We can not ignore that fact when trying to build a better Ukraine. OR: Can you tell us about your own coming out process as a public figure? How have your fellow Ukrainians responded? Any surprises?
pened as well. At the moment I work a great deal on building up international support for Ukraine and specifically for queer Ukrainians, but back home I also tried to speak out about my own struggle as a gay man hoping that it would help someone to avoid that toxic loneliness and alienation I went through as a kid. Of course, by doing so I opened myself to a torrent of hate messages and even death threats. So many people, driven by hate, try to deny that my journalism and foreign policy
work as a part of my sexual identity. But what surprises me the most is the level of support that I have gotten as well. Sometimes people write me from places like Afghanistan and Oman, saying that my struggle resonates with them. But most importantly, I receive moving messages from fellow Ukrainians. Once
anything better or worse, it just magnifies and exacerbates already existing communication trends. The trick is to know how to exploit the perks it offers and mitigate the risks that come with it. So for example, together with expanding support and networking, social media also brought a much easier access to me for haters and bullies. Some days it is overwhelming. On the other hand, many
The international support has been incremental for strengthening the equality fight in Ukraine over the past two years, but I doubt that our foreign friends understand the importance of this fight a young kid wrote me telling me that my text had helped him to come out to his parents. I cried for maybe half of that day. As long as there is that one kid somewhere in provincial town or village in Ukraine for whom my story helped to find a bit of courage and hope, I will keep coming out over and over again, sharing my story and fighting for equality. Coming out is a state of mind for me. OR: You have been a pioneer in using new media to tell the Ukrainian story. How would you say that it has impacted LGBTI visibility and acceptance? ME: Twitter has made me into who I am. It has been a crucial force behind all my attempts to spread the Ukrainian story, to help me find allies and reach out to new people all over the world. I think quite the same dynamic is happening between Facebook and other equality fighters in Ukraine. Utilizing social media networking, they’ve been able to dramatically expand the reach of their message. At the same time social media is just a tool, it doesn’t fix core issues, doesn’t make
Ukrainian civil society activists and young politicians surround themselves with what I refer to as the “Facebook bubble.” They spend so much time and energy in communicating between themselves over social media, having debates, launching digital campaigns and protests. I find it to be a horrible waste of time in a country that has merely a 60% internet access rate, with Facebook or Twitter not being even the most popular social media networks. If you are a Facebook user in Ukraine, names like Mustafa Nayem, Serhiy Leschenko or Svitlana Zalishchuk (editor’s note: all are reformist MPs) are iconic. But recent polls show that those names don’t ring a bell for the general public. The same is true with equality fighters. I have a substantial number of followers on Twitter. Not Rihanna levels, but more than 21,000. Despite being moderately known abroad in media, political and diplomatic circles, I know for sure that 99% of Ukrainians haven’t heard my name, yet. That’s something that I have just began fixing. Others young leaders in Ukraine should abandon that ‘Facebook bubble’ as soon as possible if they want to remain effective agents of change.
OR: Is homophobia so bad in Ukraine that LGBTI people need to seek asylum elsewhere? Do you think that your decision to stay in Ukraine is an indication of your willingness to “fight” for the cause rather than flee from it? ME: There are plenty of people whom I know who have left the country in fear for their lives or at least in pursuit of a place where people will treat them as fundamentally equal human beings. We have no right to judge them, as living in fear or in an environment full of hate is not something a person should settle for. If they decide to seek asylum, I always try to help them in any way that I can, providing useful information and connecting with the right people. Moreover, some of the most supportive and tightest knit communities of Russian and Ukrainian queer people have formed abroad, which is something that we lack back at home. These are our strongest allies, providing us with all kinds of help and a great deal of inspiration. Very often these people become an incremental part of change back at home, despite being forced to flee the country. So no, I don’t see any difference between those who left and those who, like myself, have stayed. I would never allow myself to blame queer Ukrainians for quitting their country when it has been refusing them basic rights since forever. That’s why, despite all of this, I always marvel at the energy and willingness of Ukrainian asylum seekers or queer emigrants to continue to contribute to the equality fight in their former home.
Assisting Russian Refugees And Emigres Living In Ukraine Without Legal Status By Grigory Frolov Over the course of the events of the past three years, as the democratic situation in Russia has degraded numerous Russians have relocated to Ukraine. Increased pressure on those who disagree with the Kremlinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s policy, a resurgence of nationalism and isolationism, and just the simple discomfort of living in an aggressive undemocratic environment forced an enormous number of Russians to leave the country. The Odessa Review speaks with Grigory Frolov, Development Director of The Free Russia Foundation about the EmigRussia project. EmigRussia is a project missioned to help Russian political emigrants and asylum seekers become legalized in Ukraine and become a part of Ukrainian society.
GRIGORY FROLOV. PHOTO CREDIT: MERIEN MOREY
Since the return of Vladimir Putin to the Kremlin, Russia is seeing a large new wave of emigration. People have been leaving Russia for many years in several waves, but this current one is different in that it is organized. People who leave Russia right now are often the bright and creative, and represents the class of the people who care about such European values and rule of law, human rights and free market. These people are leaving because they simply don’t see a future for their families under the current Kremlin’s regime. There has never before existed such an influential Russian diaspora, and we at the Free Russia Foundation in Washington, together with our colleagues from the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom, the association For Free Russia in Warsaw as well as people in Brussels, Berlin, Paris and the Scandinavian countries, we are building a community for recreating a democratic Russia. We have an age of the massive construction of a strong Russian diaspora abroad right now. Russians go to other countries because of political persecution and because of the atmosphere of fear and a lack of freedom in Russia. While some Russian political emigrants are moving further to the West, many Russians see Kyiv as the most ideologically appropriate and economically affordable place to move to. For many political emigrants with limited funds, without knowledge of a foreign language or relatives in the West, Ukraine has become the only possible direction to flee. However, after their emigration, people face numerous problems with issues of legalization, adaptation, and integration into Ukrainian society.
Ukraine has seen a huge wave of Russian Emigration primarily because it is a country which is very close in terms of culture to Russia, where one can speak Russian. It is easy to reach the border for educated middle class people who are part of a movement for a better society. A society in which there is no place for the current Kremlin regime. These Russians are able to build a community and an infrastructure for emigrants so they do not only have to become French or American, but can also remain Russian. They can stay Russian and influence the situation back home. For example, there is the Ukrainian diaspora, which had a big influence on the adoption of the Ukrainian Freedom Act in the United States. Our project’s mission is to provide structure and support to a similar movement, and to help people settle their living status here, to become legalized and thus become part of a community. A community of Russians who are making a communal effort for the “offshore” development of Russian democracy. Of course, Russian people are moving to Ukraine for different reasons. Some of them because of the political repressions — they have to leave or go to jail. Some believed in Maidan, the Revolution of Dignity, and they feel their place is here because if they were not able to build a better Russia, they can become part of the change in Ukraine. Others are moving here to work on implementing projects, creating businesses, taking part in reforms and so they become a positive influence. After a month of working on our project, after hundreds of talks and hearing different opinions, it’s easy to see that there are two visions of Ukraine right now from the point of view of the local people. The first vision is that Ukraine should become a melting pot of the Post-Soviet territory. That is a vision of bringing together people who now live under repression, but could move here to impact the future of Ukraine so it can become the freest and most economically developed country of the region. The other point of view is that Ukraine should become a country for Ukrainians. It doesn’t mean that people who think like this feel that Ukraine should not evolve or become
more developed, but it is a different philosophical approach. I believe, it’s impossible to build a more European kind of country without multiculturalism, open markets, and the efforts of the best specialists. There is a need for qualified people in Ukraine because there are so many good projects here, but it will never be filled up if the country is not open to people from abroad. For the last 20 years, Russia was the richest country in the region and specialists from the other former Soviet republics were moving there to work in the Moscow offices of giant Western companies. That trend is changing, because the Russian economy is in decline and many feel that Moscow is no longer the best place to live. Kyiv could be however if it was easy enough to move here! Regarding legalization issues, we distinguish between two groups of people. The first is refugees, and Ukraine is a very bad country for refugees right now. In the last two years, there have been 300 applications from Russians for refugee status in Ukraine and less than 10 percent of them were successful. The numbers for refugees from other countries aren’t much better. The migration system doesn’t seem to work very well in this situation. We have seen several cases of people who were denied refugee status, and in one case, the official letter from the migration agency said that it was denied because Russia is a democratic country where political repressions do not, and persecution does not exist. If you have multiple fines for participation in mass rallies or public demonstrations, that means you are a hooligan and Ukraine doesn’t need hooligans here. That was the actual answer in the case of the Russian asylum seeker Alexey Vetrov, who as of now hasn’t received refugee status, has lost all his court instances, and is now staying here without any rights.
There is the well known case of Peter Lubchenkov, one of the most public, and also one of the most ridiculous cases. He was one of the three key organizers of the March for the Federalization of Kuban. When the war in Eastern Ukraine began and there was a lot of public propaganda on Russian state TV saying that Ukraine should be federalized because of the interests of local Russian communities, many activists in Russia responded that maybe first we should make Russia into a real federation. Several groups, in Siberia, Novosibirsk, Nizhny Novgorod, and Kuban were organizing marches for federalization. These marches were prohibited by the local authorities, and in the case of Kuban, one organizer was prosecuted as an extremist and is now serving a two year sentence. The two others are in Ukraine, one of them was granted political asylum, and the third is Lubchenkov. He has been in the process of getting political asylum for a few years now. It was repeatedly denied to him as several times the Ukrainian court ruled to take his case back to migration authorities, to be denied again. There is a number of people living in such a situation right now. Just recently the higher court ruled that the migration authority must give asylum to Lubchenkov, but this the first such resolution of a case related to a Russian citizen that we have seen in the last couple of years. Another example is that of Sergey Anisiforov, who is supposed to receive yet another answer from migration authority after several attempts, and he is not expected to get a positive response. This man is a Russian with some Ukrainian roots, either his father or mother is Ukrainian. He moved to Ukraine before the Maidan, seeking to become legalized under the law which provides this possibility for people of Ukrainian origin. When the Maidan happened, he participated in it from the beginning to the very end, and as a result lost out on the legal deadlines for his application. He received a medal from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church for his love for Ukraine, yet he is not able to get political asylum here. We understand that there are some con-
cerns in Ukrainian society about Russians who move here as an issue of national security. Of course we totally agree that Ukrainian secret services should make thorough background checks. We are aware of what is happening between our countries right now, that the Russian FSB is doing a lot of work, so there is no reason for the Ukrainian authorities not to do that work. But for people who have been fully checked out, who have documented proof of political persecution from respected human rights organizations in Russia, there is no reason why they shouldn’t receive asylum here. I don’t know if we should address this question to the chief of the State Migration Service or to someone else, but what I know for sure, and what my Ukrainian colleagues working with refugees would surely agree on, is that the law on refugees in Ukraine is not being processed very well. There is another group of Russians who move here and don’t have any political persecution, but are making that choice because of their political and ideological views. That is because they want to live in a freer society, or because they believe in Ukraine. For this group, there are laws that provide legal status to people who have Ukrainian relatives, who work in Ukraine as volunteers or have a permanent job here. There is a procedure for this, but it’s not complicated to obtain permanent residency or citizenship if you know how it works. In those cases, we are providing assistance, such as the public step by step instructions on our website. We receive dozens of inquiries from people still living in Russia, or those already in Ukraine, in regard to certain steps in this procedure. We’re advising them on what to do, how to stay legal, how not to miss the deadlines, how to find proof and documents for some specific issues. Some of these issues are very specific indeed. Let’s say my grandmother has a different surname from me. To prove that she is my grandmother, I have to show my birth certificate, my mother’s birth certificate, the certificate of the marriage between my mother and my father, and my grandmother’s birthday certificate. You have to present all these original documents to the Ukrainian migration authority, but even if someone doesn’t have all the originals, that is still solvable.
Here I should mention another important issue which was extremely surprising for me — that Ukrainians in many cases don’t really understand what’s happening in Russia. We have received a lot of support from people who understand the political realities and the human rights situation in Russia, who are looking at this issue from the multicultural and pro-European point of view. But we also have seen a lot of local concern about who these Russian refugees are, doubts that they had been in any actual danger or subjected to any persecution. Obviously, I know that there are many people who have been jailed, killed, and living in fear in Russia because of their political views, but I just recently figured out why there is this misconception. Vladimir Putin’s propaganda machine, the product which they made for Russia and the entire world, is horrifying to many Ukrainians, but also kills any interest in the actual events that are taking place in Russia. Every piece of news includes some kind of made up or ridiculous story or maybe a bit of news from the moon, so Ukraine lost interest and in many ways became more isolated from Russia. Many people ask me, what is the first thing Russians should understand when they move to Ukraine? The answer to that question is that they should behave here like they have moved to a foreign country. Many Russians don’t realize that they are moving to a different society with different rules. The first thing that makes and unites a country is its political agenda, and for me it is becoming clear that the social and political agendas in Ukraine and Russia right now are completely different. Of course, we have the occupation of Crimea and the war in Donbas, so the only things which are uniting us are horrifying, and Russians don’t know what’s happening in Ukraine
besides it. On the other hand, Ukrainians don’t pay attention to what is happening in Russia apart from the conflict, and they don’t understand that Russians who move here do so out of fear, because of the possibility of criminal prosecution, or even of physical abuse. It’s very important to remember that not all of Russians are or like Putin, and Putin is not Russia, and is not representative of Russia. I believe that insight is going to become a very big part of our mission in Ukraine — speaking to people, providing more information, showing why Russians move here. Putin is the wall in our path on our way to a better future, standing not only in front of the Russian people, but in front of the Ukrainians as well. Many people in Russia are working towards democracy and justice, including justice for Ukrainian Crimea and for the Donbas. Ukrainians need such allies on the international stage and in the region, and we want to show that they do have such allies, they are still with them, but they also need their support. Russian activists need to have some safe harbor available close to home, so that they can fight up to the most dangerous moment, and know that if something happens, they can always move to Ukraine. A lot of people would say: first you should bring back Crimea, second you should take back all of the military from Donbas, and then we can talk about how we can become allies. But working for a common cause, for democracy and freedoms, for the economic development and stability of the region, could also become a common ground for Ukraine and pro-democracy Russians right now. More than a year ago, a bill went up to the Rada, one that focused on simplifying migration conditions for Russians who were fighting in the Ukrainian military forces or volunteer battalions and who were criminally prosecuted because of
their public support of Ukraine. Yet after going through the first hearing it stalled and we are not sure why. A year ago, President Poroshenko gave out Ukrainian passports to several Russians, like Maria Gaidar and Katerina Sergotskova, and publicly stated that Ukraine will help pro-democratic Russians. Recently, Katerina together with some Ukrainian colleagues from the center Socialna Diya and the No Borders project submitted a petition to President Poroshenko about keeping his word in this regard. We are now on a long process of advocacy and negotiation for making the procedure of receiving refugee status and resident permits more clear and transparent. There is already a law on refugees in Ukraine, and the only problem is that the State Migration Service is not following it. In terms of advocacy, the issues can be divided into two parts. The first is one of defining a clear procedure, and the second is to gain the Ukrainian people’s support for this issue. There will be no political will on the issue of refugees until there is clear public support for it. This is a complicated and important effort, and a long term mission of the project. We need to tell the stories of the Russian people who are coming here because of political persecution or to make a positive impact on the development of the country, and we need to communicate with all the actors in this “market”: the government, the Ministry of Foreign affairs, the Migration Authority.
to talk with migration officers to find out about the general standards for processing requests, and what information people usually fail to provide. Sometimes people come into the migration authority without any paperwork at all, which can happen to political activists in Russia who leave the country urgently. If someone does dangerous work, it is advisable to keep papers with you, or on a cloud. This is simple advice, but it is part of the general work of this project. So first of all, EmigRussia is a service for facilitating the migration process. Secondly, EmigRussia is a project about the dialogue between pro-democracy Russians and Ukrainians. In the future our countries may choose different ways to live — it’s the right of nations to self-identify. But at Free Russia, we believe that we need to work together to gain stability for the whole region which would lead to sustainable democracy for all of us.
We are guests here, and it is not a part of our mission to influence state policies. We want to establish a kind of green corridor, helping the people and the authorities make the process work smoothly. For background checks, we have our colleagues in Russia, organizations like Memorial who have records of political persecutions in Russia and can provide information that a person is a victim of the Russian regime. We are ready
An Architectural Strategy For Odessa: A Dialogue With Ruslan Tarpan By Katya Michaels The builder and restorer Ruslan Tarpаn is a prominent figure in the Odessa business world, but has a media reputation of being a private person. He is widely respected for his association with the restoration of Katerynynska Square, an emblematic architectural landmark in Odessa, whose facades and interiors were both burnished by his company “Incor-Group”. The Odessa Review conducted this interview in his office, which is symbolically located in a historic building beside the iconic Potemkin Stairs and looking out at the Duke de Richelieu. In a book lined office once occupied by the most successful mayor of the city in the 19th century Grigory Marazli, we spoke to Ruslan Tarpan about Odessa and architecture.
The Odessa Review (Katya Michaels): Tell us how you choose the buildings that you will work with? Ruslan Tarpаn (RT): I can say with certainty that we never purchase a building without having full information about its history. Starting with the allotment of the land on which it stands, its first owner 100-200 years ago, and even considering the “energy” of the location — if we have any doubts on such points, we decide against purchasing. OR: What kind of research do you conduct in the process of restoration? RT: For historical references, we turn to the “Archive of the building committee” which holds all the permits and licenses since 1803. Odessa is incredibly lucky, in comparison to other cities, that this archive has been completely preserved. In 1941 it was evacuated on two barges. One barge, containing communist party documents from 1920 to 1941, had
01 / Implementation stage of the engineering project for marine wastewater release: pipeline laying at a depth of 16 meters
burned down, but the other, holding archives from before 1920 survived. After the war this archive returned to Odessa. We have a dedicated team of researchers working with these records, one of whom is the famous historian and ethnographer Oleg Gubar. In fact, Gubar’s study of the archive led to the publishing of the monograph “The History of City Planning in Odessa”, a fundamental work spanning two centuries of development.
(Biography) Ruslan Tarpan is an investor, businessman and philanthropist. He was born in Odessa, where he continues to live and work. His construction investment holding company “Incor-Group” was founded in 1997. It acts as a general contractor for infrastructural, social, and reconstruction projects on the municipal and national level, and implements engineering projects abroad. Mr. Tarpan holds a doctorate degree in economics. He has been involved with the socio-economic and infrastructural development of Odessa, as a deputy in the city council in 1994-2010, and as the creator of an ecological project involving the deep water release of treated wastewater to a distance of 4000 meters from the sea shore. Mr. Tarpan is married, raising three children. OR: It is a widely held opinion that Odessa suffers from the absence of a definite development strategy. Do you have your own vision, in terms of architecture and generally?
RT: Architecture is a mirror of the socio-economic environment of any moment in history. First we have to decide exactly how we want to see the city evolve for the next 50 years at least. Once we have that answer, it will be easier to find solutions. Odessa has a number of priorities for development, among these are its industrial and academic potential. Tourism, on the other hand, will never be the main source of income for the city. We should understand this, we are not Nice where the active tourist season runs for eight months a year. The architectural image of the city will be shaped by the general strategy of development.
sions for palaces. Another great building is Hotel and Shopping Arcade Passage designed by the Polish architect Lev Vlodek. According to his plans, the building was supposed to be much wider, spanning from Deribasovska to Hretska street, but the owner was unable to buy the neighboring buildings for these purposes. Thus we see the “unfinished” design of Passazh, it came out in the shape of an “L”. Remarkably, the construction of Passazh took only two years from 1888 to 1889. Finally, the third is one of the apartment buildings of industrialist Russov on Sadovaya Street. It can no longer be restored, but it can surely be re-created. My company is prepared to invest into this signature architectural landmark of Odessa. To get to that stage, first we need to resolve some paperwork formalities with the authorities. OR: What are the issues that you feel are most pressing for the development of Odessa infrastructure? RT: The lack of adequate engineering networks like sewage, storm drains, and electrical power is a major obstacle to the development of the city center. In Odessa, we were pioneers of finding alternate financing for city projects — such as the reconstruction of 35-50 year old city blocks — in the absence of a state budget. For example, the issue of waste water
OR: Which buildings in Odessa are of the most historical and architectural interest to you? RT: There are three that I find especially fascinating. One is the building of the first Odessa hospital for marine officers at Pastera street 5/7 — where the Hospital for Infectious Disease is located now. The empire invited a famous french architect Jean-Francois Thomas de Thomon who was tasked with demonstrating his talents. He constructed a number of buildings that have high national significance today, including this hospital in 1806 and warehouse buildings on Mytna Square. It is interesting to note, at that time it was believed that larger volumetric dimensions of a room would prevent the sick patients from cross-infecting each other, so Thomas de Thomon took an unusual approach by planning a ceiling height of eight meters. In short, after this practice run with the hospital, he began receiving commis-
02 / Aleksey Botvinov’s open air festival “Odessa Classic”
by the Vorontsov Colonnade
runoff is a very long-standing one for Odessa, involving ecological risks, health risks, and the destruction of the environment of the Hadzhibeevsky Bay. We have developed project documentation for marine release of treated wastewater that is implemented to the highest ecological professional standards and would provide a solution for all these problems. Problems with bureaucracy and corruption prevent this from happening, even though the project is 90% complete and could have been launched 4 years ago.
OR: What meaning does the word “euro-integration” carry for you? RT: For me, it’s clean water in the sea, aesthetically pleasing buildings and a comfortable city. OR: In this case, what does this city still lack from the standpoint of your personal comfort?
03 / One of restoration works completed by “Incor-Group”, a 19th century building on Sofiivska Street
OR: How does your travel experience inform your thoughts and plans on reconstruction and restoration? RT: If we want to see an attractive city that tourists want to visit, we can’t ignore the situation with building facades in the historic center. The city government should address two issues — the roofs and the facades. If you find a high point in the city and look at Odessa from that perspective, you can immediately feel how it should look. The residents themselves should remember that air conditioners and outside cables do not improve the look of the city. During the restoration of one of the Russov houses, we took off kilometers of entangling cables, and this happens at every restoration site. OR: There is a well known axiom that Odessa is a European city. What does that mean to you?
RT: European traditions. Architects and merchants from Italian, French, Jewish, Polish, Greek, Albanian and other cultures successfully mingled here. These traditions are now reflected in historic street names, for example. The uniqueness of living in Odessa is this multicultural legacy, multiplied by a distinctive entrepreneurial streak. Right now we are financing a research project conducted by historians of the Odessa University. It is called “The many faces of Odessa” and involves research into the life of Odessites of various nationalities and diasporas since the time of Odessa’s origin as a city. I have great respect for what eminent musicians like Hobart Earle and Aleksey Botvinov are now doing for Odessa culture. Through supporting the efforts and events organized by such people, we can prevent Odessa from being reduced to an ordinary provincial town in Ukraine. OR: Could Odessa become the beacon city leading Ukraine in the direction of the European way of life? RT: Yes, but to achieve this we must actually practice a European approach to business and politics, instead of declaring our grandiose intentions while retaining a parochial mindset.
04 / Architecture students sketching on the roof of
Hotel Bolshaya Moskovskaya reconstructed by “Incor-Group”
RT: Tolerance toward each other, the understanding that there are different points of view and ways of life. That is something we still have to learn, instead of saying “my opinion is the only correct one, and everything else is false.” For example, I really dislike the Ukrainian tendency to berate the Russians, but on the other hand I’m proud of having a Ukrainian passport. We just have to keep from lowering ourselves to the level of abuse. They are our neighbors, and we have to learn to communicate with neighbors for the benefit of our nation. OR: What is “beauty” to you? How does it affect your work with facade restoration? RT: Beauty alone is insufficient — it must be accompanied by comfort and purpose. I advise you to visit Starokonniy Rynok. We were able to turn the horror that was there 16 years ago into what you see now, at the same time retaining traditions and sentimental value of the place. Through these kinds of transformations we are changing the DNA, we are bringing about an evolution of the way people think about living in this city. OR: Your birthday is August 14th, and this year it falls on Builder’s Day, your professional holiday. How do you feel the significance of this day? What would you wish for your colleagues? And for yourself? RT: Every human being wishes for two things — for peace, and to have an occupation that pays the bills, of course on the condition that one is already in possession of family happiness. So I wish for stable jobs for the workers of the construction industry, and for all Odessites — to live in a peaceful city. And for myself… To learn to appreciate and enjoy the things I have.
MUSIC THAT ISNâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;T JUST PARADE OF HITS
ILLUSTRATION BY IEVGEN VELYCHEV
Brody synagogue Liberal Jewish Synagogue (currently contains Odessa archives) Address Year Architect Style
18 Zhukovskoho Street 1863 F. Kolovich Florentine Gothic
The synagogue received its name from the community of immigrants from the Western Ukrainian town of Brody (then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire). The synagogue was built with the funds of the Jewish community of Odessa. The Brody synagogue served not only as a house of prayer, but also as a cultural center for the Jewish intelligentsia of Odessa. The first synagogue organ in Russia was installed there, and the famous Nissan Blumenthal (he worked in the synagogue
for 55 years!) and Pinchas Minkovskiy served as the cantors. In 1863 it was placed under reconstruction and starting in 1870 the new building was open for prayer. In 1925 the synagogue was taken from the Jewish community. The entire second floor is occupied by the Odessa regional archives. In 1998 the building was declared to be in a state of emergency condition and has remained so since then.
In люay of 2016 the City Council voted to turn the building over to the usage of one of the Jewish communities in the city. What they are planning to do with it is yet unknown.
Ernst Neizvestny’s Legacy In Odessa
Ernst Neizvestny [April 9, 1925 — August 9, 2016] The great Russian-American sculptor Ernst Neizvestny’s passing in New York City at the age of 91 truly brings an epoch to a closing. The sculptures of Neizvestny (his last name means “unknown” in Russian) were pivotal in bringing Western style modernist techniques to Soviet Union sculpture and architecture. Neizvestny was born in 1925 in Sverdlovsk (modern day Yekaterinburg), and became highly decorated during his time fighting in the Second World War. He studied art in Moscow and Riga.
His first great brush with history came with a now infamous argument with the Soviet Union’s Premiere Nikita Khrushchev. Attending Neizvestny’s 1962 break out show near the Kremlin, Khrushchev was outraged at the work and referred to it as “filth” and “dog shit”. “Why do you disfigure the faces of Soviet people?” the Soviet leader demanded of Neizvestny. The two became embroiled in a yelling match during which Neizvestny impressed Khrushchev with his character. However, after Khrushchev died in 1971 — following the coup that ousted him in 1964 — the family of the Premiere had approached Neizvestny with a request to design a tombstone for his grave at Moscow’s Novodevichy Cemetery. The sculptor forged a brutalist bust of the Premiere surrounded by colonnades of black and marble slabs to each side. These symbolized the dueling forces of good and evil within him.
Ernst Neizvestny’s “The Golden Child” sculpture was erected in Ukraine in 1995. It was designed by the artist on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the founding of the city and along with the efforts of sculptor Mihail Reva and architect Vladimir Glazyrin it was inaugurated on May 9th. The sculpture is emblematic of a tree giving birth to a baby and was dedicated to all the genius children of Odessa. The initial idea to create the sculpture came to the artist after his visit to Odessa during the Second World War five decades previously. He had been struck by the ravaging of the city by warfare and was amazed by the unbroken spirit of the Odessites who had survived two years of occupation. This contrast stayed in the memory of the sculptor for many years.
The four-meter tall monument of the baby became the world’s largest monument representing a child. The inauguration of the sculpture, attended by Ernst Neizvestny, also coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Second World War. Odessa is one of only a handful of cities in the world to be home to one of his masterpieces.
“The Golden Child” sculpture at the Odessa port
02 / Ernst Neizvestny with his “Tree Of Life” 03 / Fragment from “Tree Of Life”
Making Modernism: Tracking The Burliuk Family In Odessa by Yevgeniy Demenok
The Burliuk brothers are well known as exemplars of high Modernism, but the story of the rest of their very talented family is less known. This is the inaugural article in Yevgeniy Demenok’s new column on the history of the Modernist movement in Odessa and Ukraine.
Odessa Modernism Through the miraculous workings of fate, nearly every significant figure of Russian and Ukrainian Futurism was somehow connected to the city of Odessa. The archetypal futurist poet Alexey Kruchenykh, who was the “father of Zaum poetry”, graduated from the Odessa Academy of Arts. Velimir Khlebnikov visited the city twice and his mother’s family lived here. Vladimir Mayakovsky visited Odessa four times, and it was his infatuation with the Odessan beauty Mariya Denisova that inspired him to compose the poem “A Cloud in Trousers”. The painters Mikhail Larionov and Nataliya Goncharova visited the city yearly throughout the span of a decade, and it was where Larionov created the bulk of what came to be considered his best works. A panoply of Ukrainian Futurists lived and worked in Odessa in the 1920’s, many associated with the Odessa Film Studio which was widely known as the “Hollywood on the Black Sea”. These included such figures as Mikhayl Semenko, Yuriy Yanovsky, Mikola Bazhan, and Geo Shkurupy. When it
01 / The daguerreotype with the portrait of Nikolay Burliuk was made in Saint Petersburg.
comes to the “Father of Russian Futurism” David Burliuk, almost his entire family — six in all — lived, studied or painted in the “Southern Palmyra”. David Burliuk himself attended the Odessa Academy of Arts, in 1900-1901 and 1910-1911. In 1911 he received his final degree, obtaining the diploma of a draftsmanship and drawing teacher. In 1906 and 1907 he participated in the annual exhibits organized in Odessa by the Southern — Russian Artists’ Society, as well as both of Vladimir Izdebsky’s historically important
02 / The house in Odessa where David Burliuk lived in the years 1900-1901 and 1910-1911. Vladimir Burliuk also lived here in 1910-11. They were visited by Wassily Kandinsky, Aleksandra Ekster. Photo by the author. 03 / Main entrance of the Burliuk house. Photo by the author. 02
“salons”. In January of 1914, together with Vladimir Mayakovsky and Wassily Kamensky he took part in two performances at the Russian Theater during the infamous “Cubist-Futurist Tournament”. Many members of the Odessan beau monde could be found among Burliuk’s friends — these included such figures as Isaac Brodsky, Benedikt Livshitz, Vladimir Baranov-Rossine, Mi-
following exhibit, David and Lyudmila participated without their brother. David exhibited six works, and only Lyudmila one. The middle sister, Nadezhda Burliuk, also left her mark on the Odessa art world. Her drawings (created when she was only 12) were exhibited in the children’s section of Izdebsky’s second “Salon” in February of 1911. The mother of this exceptional family, Lyudmila Iosifov-
When it comes to the “Father of Russian Futurism” David Burliuk, almost his entire family – six in all – lived, studied or painted in the “Southern Palmyra” trophan Martyschenko (who was also known as “Grekov”). Vladimir Burliuk studied alongside his brother at the Odessa Academy of Arts in 1910. His works were presented at the October 1906 “XVII Exhibition of Paintings of the Southern-Russian Artists’ Society”, as well as at Izdebsky’s “Salons” where they elicited a scandalous response. Lyudmila Burliuk — the oldest sister in the family — also had her works included in the XVII and XVIII Southern-Russian Artists’ Society exhibitions. According to the Catalogue of the XVII Exhibit, Vladimir had one work in it, David — six; and Lyudmila four. At the
na, also participated in both of Vladimir Izdebsky’s “Salons” under her maiden name, Mikhnevich — her works were hung alongside those of her famous sons. Nikolay Burliuk is the only member of the family who was brought to Odessa through business dealings which were unrelated to art. From 1918 to 1919 he served as signals operator. First for the forces of Hetman Skoropadsky, afterwards Petlyura, then the White Guard, and he finally ended up serving in the Red Army. This entire inconceivable career trajectory took place over just half a year. After serving in the radio division, Nikolay entered the
Navy border guard. In June of 1919, Nikolay was discharged and returned to Kherson, where he would die tragically within a year. And so, we know that six members of the Burliuk family actively participated in the Odessa art world. However, indisputably, the biggest and most unforgettable mark was left by the elder David Burliuk. In 1994, the St. Petersburg publishing house “Pushkin Foundation” finally got around to publishing David Burliuk’s memoirs under the title “Fragments from the Memories of a Futurist”. The work was submitted to USSR authorities for publishing by the author himself long ago, back in 1929. An excerpt illustrates the excitement Burliuk experienced during his first encounter with Odessa: “In 1902, I was already studying in the Odessa Academy of Art on 25, Preobrazhenska St. (editor’s note: the author made a mistake here — he actually studied at the academy from 1900 to 1901).
The mother of this exceptional family, Lyudmila Iosifovna, also participated in both of Vladimir Izdebsky’s “Salons” under her maiden name, Mikhnevich — her works were hung alongside those of her famous sons
form of a hand-typed copy, dictated to Mariya Nikiforovna Burliuk, who would go on to edit it. Most recently, it was published in Nobert Yevdaev’s book “David Burliuk in America”: “My second winter in Kazan (19011902). I had spent the previous winter, which was also the second one I dedicated to painting, in Odessa. My father, having received a wonderful place, the estate on the Dnieper — advised me not to go too far away but rather to relocate to the Odessa Academy. I decided to take up his advice. I went to Odessa. I lived in house number 9 on the Preobrazhenska Street — right across the street from the school. Ten years later, having re04 / Left to right: Top row: Vladimir Burliuk, Anton Bezval, Nikolay Burliuk, David Burliuk. Bottom row: A. Bezval, N. Bezval, Ludmila Iosifovna Burliuk, David Fedorovich Burliuk. Photo from the ar chives of Syracuse University Research Center, USA.
Mikhail Larionov. Portrait of Vladimir Burliuk. 1910. Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon.
turned to the Odessa Academy to “receive my diploma”; I went into that same house, went up to that same floor and rented that same apartment because I wanted to fully feel like a student again in that room with embrasure windows where the Vorontsovky lighthouse cast its rays across the ceiling. The floor was crooked — the dumbbells we used to exercise would roll with a great clattering sound across to the opposite wall. Odessa is a port city, all the streets in one way or another lead to the port. It is there where I learned to love the sea.” The dumbbells referred to belonged,
The summer of 1902 became life-changing for me. I began to paint — once I started, I could not stop. My father David Fedorovich found a good place for me at the “Golden Baulk” estate belonging to Sviatopolk-Mirsky… My father gave me one hundred rubles: I went to Odessa and returned to the “Golden Baulk”; to the shores of the Dnieper with an entire basket of beautiful paints. The night guard would wake me up when the glint of the Ukrainian stars began to fade and a pale mist would flow through the cold of the icy twilight air; and I would run to the shore with my box of paints to paint the spring dawn, the Cossack huts, the
distant blue willows, the poplars and the barrows in the steppe’’. The Odessa State Archive contains some remnants of David Burliuk’s personal file, which states that he is the son of a reserve soldier residing in the Kherson area, an Eastern Orthodox Christian by faith, and that he took and successfully passed the Odessa Academy of Arts entrance exam on the first of September, 1900. The archives further reveal that his grades were mostly average and that he missed exactly 17 class sessions, for which he was disciplined by being transferred to a lower class. He ultimately received his diploma on May 24th, 1911. David’s diaries also reveal the address of his Odessa residence. Previously, this fragment of his memoirs which was titled “My time at the Kazan Art School” only existed in the
attempt to get into the St. Petersburg Art Academy in 1902 (his sister Lyudmila sucEvgeniy Demenok and David Burliuk, great-grandson of the artist. Photo by Lidiya Pinkas.
07 / David Burliuk “Odessa”. (1926-1928)
Benedikt Livshits, Nikolay Burliuk, Vladimir Mayakovsky, David Burliuk, Aleksei Kruchenykh.
ceeded), and studies in Munich and Paris. It was also together with Vladimir that David returned to study at the Odessa Art Academy. Both brothers had good reasons for returning: Vladimir needed to somehow escape military service, and David desperately needed to receive a diploma which would grant him access to teaching jobs. David understood that without his completed arts degree, he would never have any professional status and it would be very difficult for him to make a living. The proceeds from selling his paintings were very modest and so he made a firm decision to finally complete his degree. “…Volodya and I spent the winter of 1910-11 studying in Odessa, where I finally received my diploma from the Odessa Academy of Arts which gave me the right to teach art in
In 1994, the St. Petersburg publishing house “Pushkin Foundation” finally got around to publishing David Burliuk’s memoirs under the title “Fragments from the Memories of a Futurist” of course, to Vladimir Burliuk — the brother who was almost as well known as he was. David often complained about having to carry his brother’s weights home after he had finished exercising. Vladimir is even depicted holding his dumbbell in a portrait painted by Mikhail Larionov, which is currently located at the Fine Arts Museum in Lyons. In the fall of 1910 David Burliuk once again enrolled in the Odessa Art Academy. Behind him were years of studying at the Kazan Art Academy (1899-1900 and 1901-1902), an unsuccessful
intermediate educational institutions. In Russia, earning money without a diploma was unthinkable” — David wrote in the 55th edition of the “Color & Rhyme” magazine. David also frequently mentioned his acquaintanceship and collaboration with Wassily Kandinsky in his writings: “In 1911, I finally graduated from the Odessa Academy of Arts. It is here that my connection with Munich was forged: “Der Blaue Reiter” and Wassily Wassiliyevich [Kandinsky].” In his book “Fragments from the Memories of a Futurist”, he wrote: “The summer of 1910 turned out to be far more radical. The best Neo-impressionist studies of the Dnieper have already been painted here. Mikhail Fyodor-
ovich Larionov, as well as Lentulov, came to stay and work with us for a while… A similar style of work is reproduced in Kandinsky’s “Der Blaue Reiter”. In the fall, here in Odessa on 9 Preobrazhenska St., Wassily Kandinsky briefly visited us — after that we joined him in proselytizing the new art in Germany”. The Odessa house in which David and Vladimir Burliuk lived remains in almost pristine condition to this day. A memorial plaque will soon be placed on its façade, marking it as the former residence of the “Father of Russian Futurism”.
Eugene Demenok is a writer, journalist, and cultural historian who has authored five books. He is a winner of the Paustovsky Municipal Literary Prize for his 2014 book ‘New, on the Burliuks.’ He is a founding organizer of the Odessa Intelligentsia Forum and a member of the Presidential Council of the Worldwide Club of Odessites.
A Symbolic Friendship: Taras Shevchenko And Ira Aldridge In Odessa and Ukraine By Vadim Goloperov A newly staged play in New York City focusing on the unlikely friendship between Ukraine’s national poet Taras Shevchenko (1814-1861) and the African American actor Ira Aldridge (1807-1867) provides a good opportunity to revisit this remarkable story and its illustration of the symbolic relationship between Ukraine and the United States of America.
GRIGORY FROLOV. PHOTO CREDIT: MERIEN MOREY
New York City’s East Village has always been a mecca for experimental theater, a place where theater goers with the most varied tastes could find represented whatever sort of work they cared for. The Yara Arts Group, led by Ukrainian-American Virlana Tkacz, is the resident company at the La MaMa Experimental Theatre and is particularly intriguing in that it often grapples with a complex and historically contingent idea of Ukrainian culture. Tkacz is well known in the New York downtown theater scene as well
as for her collaborations with the broadway legend Andre DeShields. The company’s focus is on adapting original theater pieces based on “eastern” (however broadly defined) historical materials that may be little known outside their own culture. The original pieces are often rooted in extensive research and documentation of folk or traditional historical culture, often inspired by epics or epic historical events which are than transformed into theater productions.
Often the group’s work is quite political and topical, as was the case with the theater piece “Dark Night Bright Stars”, crafted in honor of the birth bicentennial of the great Ukrainian poet and painter Taras Shevchenko. The presentation of the play was noteworthy for having mostly dodged the obvious pitfalls of a subject that was somewhat pedantic in character. It is noteworthy that Aldridge is now himself getting more attention in the US after having been an ideologically based sensation in the USSR — which would often attack the failures of America’s relationship to its black citizens as part of its propaganda. “Dark Night Bright Stars” was performed twice in the United States, once at the Ukrainian Gogolfest festival, and was also brought to Ukraine by the U.S. Embassy as part of the American Festival in Odessa. It had also been presented by experimental theaters in Lviv and Kyiv (notably enough, right after the events of the Maidan), making it a rare instance of truly international cultural exchange. The legendary African American actor was beloved in Europe and continued to garner a cult following in the former Soviet Union. The two great artists, who bove rose up against serfdom and slavery, could not speak to each other directly because of the language barrier, so they had to find a common language in art
and song. Their meetings were documented in the memoirs of Count Tolstoy’s 15 year old daughter, Katya (Ekaterina Tolstoy Yunge), who sometimes acted as their translator. In fact the communication between the two was relatively brief — it lasted only two months, and took on very unusual forms. The African American actor did not speak a word of Russian — much less Ukrainian. He could not even pronounce his new friend’s name, instead referring to him as “the artist”. In turn, the Ukrainian poet and artist knew only a handful of English words — but this did not impede them from communicating and even developing a true affection for each other. Utilizing gestures, body language, and at times an interpreter, they succeeded in communicating feelings and thoughts across the language barrier. Within only a few hours, they bonded over their shared artistic nature, love for Shakespeare, and lives that turned out to hold striking parallels. Aldridge was in Europe as a sort of “internal” exile — and Shevchenko had only recently returned from exile. Their art and artistic interests were also similar in many ways. Ira Aldridge gained renown for his tragic roles, while Shevchenko is known mostly for his lyrical tragedies.
USA at the time. Today, the entire world praises and enjoys the talents of actors such as Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, and Samuel L. Jackson; but it is only a relatively short time ago the appearance of a Black actor on the stage would shock and infuriate the public. It was mostly for this reason that Ira left the country of his birth and moved to London. Once there, he soon gained wide European fame for his brilliant performances in Shakespeare’s tragedies “Hamlet”, “King Lear”, “Othello” and the “The Merchant of Venice”. However, his ordeal was not over — even in London Ira was often subjected to persecution by racists and proponents of slavery. To escape this hostile atmosphere, the actor would often spend time in other European cities where people were less prone to judge him on the color of his skin. Aldridge was popular in Prussia and in the Russian Empire, where he received several prestigious awards. In fact, it was after one of his performances in St. Petersburg in 1858 that the fateful meeting between the actor and the poet Shevchenko took place. Taras Shevchenko was so overwhelmed by Aldridge’s performance that after the play, he
It is believed that it was Shevchenko who finally convinced the American actor to tour Ukraine — Aldridge visited Kyiv, Odessa, Kharkiv, Poltava, Zhitomir and Elizavetgrad during the years between 1861 and 1866 Ira Frederick Aldridge, the first great African American theatrical actor, was born on July 24, 1807 into the family of a preacher. Already in childhood Ira dreamed of becoming an actor, but many obstacles stood in the way of his dream — not least among them the harsh racial segregation which was instituted in the
literally barged into the actor’s dressing room and kissed him! Later, the two artists would spend a lot of time communicating during their visits with Count Fyodor Tolstoy — during this time, Shevchenko painted the well-known portrait of Ira Aldridge (which now resides in Kyiv). What did the two geniuses talk about? History retains only excerpts of their dialogues recorded by Ekaterina Tolstoy Yunge. Of course, one of the main topics of their discussions was the oppression
of Black Americans and its parallels with the treatment of serfs within the Russian Empire. Much has been written about their touchingly close friendship — Aldridge was the descendant of slaves, Shevchenko a former serf. Both men carried a deep understanding of the tragedy of the oppressed individual as well as that of the oppressed nation — and the knowledge of this pain served as a basis for their friendship. Aldridge recounted his childhood experience of covertly sneaking into a theater on the doors of which hung a sign reading “Dogs and negroes forbidden” and his memories of establishing the first black theater in Baltimore (it would later be destroyed by a racist mob). Shevchenko spoke about his grim childhood, including the degrading experience of buying his own freedom from a landowner. The two artists served as perfect representations of their respective nations’ struggle for freedom. In Shevchenko’s case, his legacy was silenced in the Soviet Union long after his death — when books spoke about him, they mentioned only his disdain for and struggle against Russian feudalism. Only in European literary accounts can Shevchenko’s passionate fight for Ukraine’s freedom and self-determination be found. After 1991, when the Soviet Union fell together with its legacy of censorship, Shevchenko’s life and work gained a new context and readership. Ekaterina Tolstoy Yunge’s memoirs contain many other interesting details of their conversations. For example, Aldridge did not approve of Shevchenko’s admiration of George Washington, saying that the president “…did not rise above his time and did not end slavery”. Aldridge himself was fond of the nineteenth century liberals Radischev, Chernyshevsky, Dobrolyubov and especially Herzen (they had met in London). The two often discussed art and creative matters. For example, Shevchenko was not fond of the performance given by a German actress who played the role of Desdemona in a St. Petersburg production of Othello, in which Aldridge also participated. “You should have killed her in the first act already!” — he joked sarcastically.
Aldridge was the subject of rumors — gossipers claimed that some actresses refused to work with him because he would get so possessed by the role of Othello that they feared he could really suffocate them. Aldridge had a sense of humor about this, once remarking to a Russian theater critic: “These rumors are gross exaggerations. I have played Othello over 300 times, and in all that time I have murdered only four or so actresses. You must agree, the percentage is negligible — your Desdemona from Moscow had no reason to be afraid”.
not simply a stingy and dishonest Jewish caricature, but also an intelligent and suffering man as well as a loving father. This speaks to the actor’s capacity to deeply understand the complex personas of Shakespearean characters. Interestingly, the complexity of Shylock’s character was noted by writer Aleksander Pushkin in his “Table Talks”: “Shakespeare’s characters, unlike those of Moliere, are not representations of some specific passion or flaw; they are living creatures filled with multiple passions and multiple sins — their circumstances betray their multifaceted and many-layered natures. Moliere’s stingy merchant is just
Both men carried a deep understanding of the tragedy of the oppressed individual as well as that of the oppressed nation — and the knowledge of this pain served as a basis for their friendship We also know that Aldridge often asked Shevchenko about his homeland. It is believed that it was Shevchenko who finally convinced the American actor to tour Ukraine — Aldridge visited Kyiv, Odessa, Kharkiv, Poltava, Zhitomir and Elizavetgrad during the years between 1861 and 1866. He was met by an adoring public in each city. Even though Aldridge performed exclusively in English, a language many in the Russian Empire did not speak or understand, his mastery of acting was so ineffable that words receded into the background and the audience was emotionally captivated by the great Shakespearean actor’s mere stage presence. His success in Ukraine reached epic proportions. “Odessa News” reported that after one of his Odessa performances, a young woman tossed him a bouquet of flowers — as well as her golden bracelet! Besides his “trademark” role of Othello, audiences in Odessa and Zhitomir greatly enjoyed his interpretation of the Jewish merchant Shylock in Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice”. Perhaps the city’s Jewish population appreciated Aldridge’s nuanced portrayal of the character as
that, whereas Shakespeare’s Shylock is greedy, clever, humorous, a doting father — all at once”. Thus, the famous negative Jewish stereotype, frequently portrayed onstage in a one-dimensional, primitive manner was portrayed in an entirely new light through Aldridge’s skillful acting — which was warmly received by viewers in Odessa and Zhitomir. However, the actor’s visit to Odessa was not without unpleasant moments. Aldridge sometimes had to deal with expressions of his colleagues’ petty jealousy: the actress whose family name was Mochalova, who played Desdemona alongside Aldridge, recalled that when she lay down on the prop bed during the performance she realized that the boards supporting the bed frame had been sawed down. Thankfully, she was able to warn Aldridge in time and the performance went off without a hitch. Aldridge was furious, but was able to keep his composure and finish the play. Another interesting episode from the artists’ friendship was recounted by the Jewish Soviet writer Yechiel Falikman in his short story “Black Brother”. In it,
while posing for a portrait, Aldridge tells Shevcheneko a story of how he — already a well-known actor — was thrown out of a train by one of the railroad owners because the latter “did not wish to travel in the same train car as a Negro”. The story ends dramatically: the train that Aldridge was forced to leave crashes, the racist owner dies but the conductor — who treated the actor with compassion — survives. Shevchenko was moved by this tale, but still remarked that it is better not to rely on accidents or God’s wrath. He was convinced that the time when the oppressed and enslaved would gain their freedom — both in his country and across the ocean — was at hand. That hope would indeed soon come true. Ira Aldridge lived to see slavery abolished in his homeland in December of 1865. Aldridge was so affected by this news that despite being firmly established in London, with a wife and several children, he decided to return to America. Tragically, he would never make it home — Ira Aldridge died suddenly in 1867 in Poland, en route to perform in St. Petersburg. By that time, his Ukrainian friend was also no longer alive — unlike Aldridge, Shevchenko did not live to witness his people gain their freedom. In a cruel twist of fate, he died in 1861 mere days before feudal law was revoked in the Russian Empire and the serfs were freed. His dearly beloved homeland of Ukraine would only gain independence more than a century after the poet’s death. The memory of the two great men and their friendship lives on in their home countries of Ukraine and the USA to this day. Aldridge and Shevchenko did much to popularize each other’s work with their respective audiences. According to the accounts of some Ukrainian immigrants in the USA and Canada, many AfricanAmerican families had a portrait of the theater pioneer Ira Aldridge hanging in their homes, and in some households, a portrait of the actor’s Ukrainian friend — the mustachioed man with a similarly broad forehead, sorrowful gaze and complex fate — hanging alongside him.
30 Years After The Sinking Of The Admiral Nakhimov For Odessa the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Ukraineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s independence on August 24th correlates with another anniversary, albeit a sad one. Thirty years ago, on August 31st, the passenger ship Admiral Nakhimov sank into the Black Sea only a short distance off the port of Novorossiysk, taking with it 423 lives. It was a tragedy that struck all of the Soviet Union to the core and still haunts Odessa today
Despite the warm waters of the Black Sea in the summer and the proximity to shore, the scale of the accident and the senseless loss of life was staggering. It was a symbol of the teetering and even decrepit quality of the regime, which could put men, women and dogs into space, but was not capable of safely navigating a large ship in a busy shipping harbor. Typically for the Soviet Union at the time, news of the tragedy was not reported for 48 hours and even then, its magnitude largely downplayed, the media and the victims unable to piece together the details or to speak out about the experience. Many Odessites of an older generation still remember the catastrophe. The event was widely seen as a harbinger of the collapse of the Soviet system. 01
The four-deck ship, the Admiral Nakhimov, could accommodate about 1,000 passengers, but it being the summer season, it was packed far over capacity with vacationers. Launched in March 1925 and originally known as the SS Berlin III, the ship was initially a passenger liner serving the German Weimar Republic. Later, the vessel was converted to a hospital ship for use by the Nazi regime until it was hit by a mine at the end of the Second World War. The sunken vessel had been refloated and salvaged by the Soviet Union in 1949 and was renamed the Admiral Nakhimov in honor of the 19th-century Crimean War Russian naval commander Pavel Nakhimov.
As a Soviet passenger ship, Odessa was its home port, running a coastal service route to Batumi with stops in Sevastopol, Yalta, Novorossiysk, Sochi and Sukhumi. Around midnight shortly after leaving Novorossiysk, it collided with a freighter and sank so quickly that passengers who had gone to sleep in the cabins probably had little chance of escaping. "Admiral Nakhimov": Soviet passenger ship. Served the Crimea-Caucasus line for 29 years. On August 31, 1986 at 11:20 p.m. sank 15 km from Novorossiysk and 4 km from the coast. Length: 174 meters Width: 21 meters Launched: March, 1925 Port built: Vegesack, Bremen, Germany Home Port: Odessa, Soviet Union 02
SS “Admiral Nakhimov” length = 174m width = 21m draft = 9m
August 31, 1986 Moscow time
22:47 TH=160° v=10’
Kabardinka 23:00 TH=160° v=12’
Doobskiy 23:05 TH=155° v=12’
Point of collision
356° D= 2’3 D= 11
359° D= 4’2
D = 7’ 2
23:07:30 TH=150° v=12’ 23:09 TH=140° v=12’
23:20 23:10 v=7’ 23:07:30 TH=36° v=9’
Full astern Stop
23:05 TH=36° v=12’
SS “Pyotr Vasev” length = 183.5m width = 26.65m draft = 10m © Andrey Leonov, 2006
44° 36’15”N 37° 52’35”E
Sinking location 44° 35’98”N 37° 52’90”E
23:00 TH=36° v=12’
22:47 TH=36° v=12’
Passenger liner “Admiral Nakhimov” leaves the Port of Odessa
02 / Memorial in the village of Kabardinka
One of the first voyages of “Admiral Nakhimov” in 1957. Yalta
03 / Liner “Admiral Nakhimov” at the dock in Yalta
Vacationers on the upper deck of the liner
Map of collision of passenger liner “Admiral Nakhimov” with freighter “Pyotr Vasev”
by Cape Doob
An amateur photograph taken by a passenger on the liner
“Admiral Nakhimov” at the dock on a summer evening
In Memory Of Orest Subtelny (1941-2016) — Founding Father Of Modern Ukrainian History By Taras Kuzio The Canadian academic introduced millions of post-Soviet Ukrainians to formerly suppressed aspects of the Ukrainian national story and helped lay the foundations for a growing sense of national identity. This article first appeared in Business Ukraine Magazine. history that had long been taboo. He was in many ways the founding father of modern Ukrainian history.
On July 29, 2016, well-known Canadian historian and Ukrainian community activist Orest Subtelny was laid to rest in Toronto. He died at the age of 75 after battling for a number of years with Alzheimer’s disease. Subtelny will be best remembered as the author of “Ukraine. A History” — a ground breaking book that appeared on the eve of Ukrainian independence and allowed a generation of newly liberated Ukrainians to gain familiarity with a Ukrainian perspective on
Orest Subtelny’s departure is a great loss to Ukrainian scholarship. For more than a quarter of a century, Toronto and specifically the University of Toronto Press has led the way in the modern writing of Ukrainian history. The first important work published was Orest Subtelny’s “Ukraine. A History”, which appeared in 1988 during Glasnost. It went on to enjoy three additional editions in 1994, 2000 and 2009. The 1988 original made a truly enormous contribution to Ukrainian nation building. Republished in the Ukrainian language in 1991 in Kyiv when Ukraine was still part of the Soviet Union, it represented a major departure from official Soviet texts. The book was published in Russian in 1994. Subtelny told me both versions were subsequently reprinted — unofficially as was the tradition in the often lawless 1990s era — with an overall print run totaling over one million copies. This unauthorized republishing of his masterpiece certainly cost Subtelny in terms
Subtelny could not have known that Ukraine would become independent or that his book would have such a strategic impact upon the country’s nation building process
of unpaid royalties, but it helped cement his place in Ukrainian history. The impact of this book simply cannot be overstated. Working for a USAID consultancy project in 1994 in Donetsk, I remember being stunned at seeing Orest Subtelny’s “Ukraine. A History” already being used as a standard text at the university.
Ukrainians literally snapped up Subtelny’s “Ukraine. A History” because it met the widespread post-Soviet hunger for Ukrainian historical perspectives supressed for decades by the Kremlin. If a million copies really were printed, one has to assume that millions of Ukrainians read it in both Ukrainian and Russian languages. We can assume the book was also a popular source for the writing of the new generation of school textbooks that appeared following the Soviet collapse.
Subtelny will be best remembered as the author of “Ukraine. A History” — a ground breaking book that appeared on the eve of Ukrainian independence and allowed a generation of newly liberated Ukrainians to gain familiarity with a Ukrainian perspective on history that had long been taboo When beginning the research and writing of his “Ukraine. A History” in 1985-1986, Orest Subtelny could not have known that Ukraine would become independent or that his book would have such a strategic impact upon the country’s nation building process. In many ways, he was literally in the right place at the right time. When the USSR disintegrated, there was a scholarly vacuum in independent Ukraine and it took the best part of the following decade for new histories and school textbooks to appear. Paul R. Magocsi’s widely acclaimed “A History of Ukraine”was first published in English in 1996, with the Ukrainian language edition appearing a year later. Other important works followed at around the turn of the millennium. None has been able to recapture the potency or immediacy of Subtelny’s well-timed tome.
Orest Subtelny and Paul R. Magocsi, both worked in Toronto and both of their most celebrated history books were published by the University of Toronto Press. Nevertheless, these two titans of modern Ukrainian historical studies approached their subject matter in strikingly different ways. Orest Subtelny began writing his “Ukraine. A History” when Ukraine was not an independent state and therefore his work follows the same logic as the doyen of Ukrainian history, Myhaylo Hrushevsky, of a history of a stateless Ukrainian people. Paul R. Magocsi, on the other hand, began writing his “A History of Ukraine” when Ukraine was an independent state. He therefore followed the traditional Western approach of writing the more compartmentalized history of Ukrainians and other ethnic groups living within the borders of Ukraine.
This traditional Western approach to history was also multicultural in that “A History of Ukraine” includes information about ethnic Ukrainians and also Russians, Poles, Crimean Tatars and Jews. The histories of Ukraine written by Orest Subtelny and Paul R. Magocsi actually complement each other by providing two parallel approaches to analysing the historical past of Ukraine. The last time I worked with Orest Subtelny was during the 2010 Ukrainian presidential elections when I organized a two-day forum of 40 leading Western academics and think tank experts in Kyiv. It was no secret that the forum was tied to the Yulia Tymoshenko election campaign, as among Western experts there was no support for her main challenger, Viktor Yanukovych. Orest Subtelny attended the forum and was warmly greeted by Yulia Tymoshenko, who had been one of the millions in the 1990s whose Ukrainian national consciousness had grown through reading his “Ukraine. A History”. He did not mince his words about Yanukovych, who he described as a “thug” and “mafia don”. This kind of talk was typical of Orest Subtelny. He was not an ivory tower academic. He was an internationally acclaimed historian and community activist whose roots in the Ukrainian community meant his focus was on Ukrainian national identity, the struggle for independence, and impact of achieving statehood. His death is a huge loss but it also provides the nation with the opportunity to reflect on Subtelny’s role in helping to shape today’s Ukrainian national identity. Taras Kuzio is a Senior Research Fellow at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta. His most recent book “Ukraine: Democratization, Corruption and the New Russian Imperialism” (Praeger, June 2015) surveys modern Ukrainian political history from 1953 to the present.
In Memory Of Orest Subtelny (1941-2016) — His Legacy For The New Generation of Scholars By William Risch Orest Subtelny, who passed away at the end of July, was perhaps his generations most prominent historian of Ukraine. His work reinvigorated the discipline and influenced a generation of East European historians and practitioners of Slavic Studies. William Risch was inspired to enter the profession after reading Subtelny’s seminal 1988 work Ukraine: A History. He remises about the way in which his encounter with Subtelny’s work set him in the direction that saw him ending up writing about Lviv and volunteering on the Maidan.
Civil War. In part, it was because Eastern Europe and Russia were taking center stage in the world news. Communism had abruptly ended in Eastern Europe. The Berlin Wall had come down. In the Soviet Union, the Baltic state of Lithuania had declared independence, Latvia would soon follow, and the Communist Party was about to relinquish its monopoly on power.
WILLIAM RISCH, KYIV IN 2014
It was May 1990. I was in my third year at Hiram College, a college of some 800 students in a village outside of Cleveland, Ohio. I was an English Literature major and I had plans of attending graduate school to become either a professor of English Literature or perhaps to do something else.
That “something else” to which my interest was increasingly turning was Russia and Eastern Europe. That whole academic year, I was drawing closer to that part of the world. In part, this was due to my family history. In September of 1989, my father, who had been born in Latvia before World War II, and had been given up for adoption in Germany, met his biological mother. She had been born in St.Petersburg, Russia, during the Russian
I decided to focus on Russia and Eastern Europe’s history. My college did not have any courses in Slavic languages. Nor did it have any professional historian who specialized in Russia, but in the spring of 1990, I took a fascinating course in Soviet political history with a Ph.D. student temporarily lecturing at Hiram. We had a retired historian of modern Germany who read the Russian language and whose survey on Modern Russia I had taken in my first year. He agreed to tutor me in Russian for reading knowledge once I took a beginning level course in Russian at nearby Kent State University over the summer. My college also had no one who specialized in Ukrainian history or Ukrainian studies. In my first year, the Harvard historian Ihor Shevchenko came to give a guest lecture, but it was on Byzantine studies. At the end of the 1980’s, Ukraine simply did not exist for some faculty members. I remember that in my Modern Russia class in the winter of 1988, someone had written “UKRAINE” in white
chalk across the southwest part of a map of the Soviet Union hanging in the corner. The rumor was that an English Literature professor who taught a class in the room had scoffed at the graffiti: “Some Ukrainian nationalist did that!” I only started considering Ukrainian history as a subject when, in May of 1990, I saw a new book, Ukraine: A History, by Subtelny. It was a large book with a dark blue cover, decorated with a modernist painting of a Bandura player at his instrument. It was on the book shelves for new books near the circulation desk. Most likely the Byzantine art historian who had invited Ihor Shevchenko had bought it for the library.
this idea that nations were historical, that as in other parts of Europe, identities shifted from those held by specific social estates - the nobility, clergy, commoners - to those of the coherent nations.
of the Soviet Union were signed by the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. One of the students in my seminar, a man of Russian descent said “Forgive me if I’m biased, but I always thought of Kyiv as our city.”
The emergence of a social and political movement cobbled together out of diverse cultural developments in the Austrian and Russian empires fascinated me. I distinctly remember reading those chapters on the nineteenth century Ukrainian national revival on an American Independence day trip July 4th, 1990, that my friends and I took to the Blossom Music Center for a performance of the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra that was followed by a fireworks show. The Ukrainian writers and historians’ calls for greater rights
By that time, I was sold on the idea of doing my Ph.D. in Soviet history, specializing in Ukraine. It meant there were many years of hard work ahead. I had to master Russian, and then Ukrainian, before I could do any research in Ukrainian history. Eventually I got my Ph.D. in 2001. My dissertation became my first book, The Ukrainian West: Culture and the Fate of Empire in Soviet Lviv, published by Harvard University Press in 2011. I taught at the Lviv National University for two years before getting a permanent job in the United States. At the end of 2013 I became involved with the Euromaidan protests as a participant-observer in Kyiv, Donetsk, and Kharkiv. I witnessed the last day of peace for Ukraine, January 19, 2014, on the Maidan, and found myself just up the hill from the violence on Hrushevsky Street that had changed the trajectory of Ukraine’s history in a single night. When the war broke out between Russia and Ukraine, I spent a semester without pay helping the Ukraine Crisis Media Center and Euromaidan Press spread the news about Ukraine in English. I also began working on a book on the history of the Euromaidan protests and their aftermath.
The emergence of a social and political movement cobbled together out of diverse cultural developments in the Austrian and Russian empires fascinated me I was tempted to read it right away. My Soviet political history class had turned me to questions about the Ukrainian Famine and Nikita Khrushchev, one of Soviet Ukraine’s Communist Party leaders. Still, I had not given up my plans to go into English Literature. When summer came and I started studying Russian, I borrowed the book and began reading it. I had pangs of guilt. Shouldn’t I be reading The Norton Anthology of English Literature, as I had originally planned to do? There was the GRE graduate exam in English Literature that I needed to do well in. Subtelny’s book was one that I could not put down. It put Ukraine’s development into a comparative framework. It talked about Ukraine being the size of France. It saw its industrial might as being equal to that of West Germany. Most importantly, though, was the story it told about the emergence of the Ukrainian national ideal. Having little background in history, I was greatly intrigued by
for their oppressed people reminded me of the struggle of African Americans for greater cultural diversity on college campuses, another important development taking place during my third year at Hiram. Movements such as the Ukrainian national revival challenged the stability of states and empires in the modern world. I felt that I had to study the history of Russia and of the Soviet Union through the lens of a particularly European empire of nations, not merely because of my Baltic heritage, but because the Ukrainian national movement had critical implications for an empire that was literally in its last full year of existence. By the end of the summer of 1990, I had made up my mind. I had decided to go to graduate school in Russian and Soviet history, and I was going to look at the politics of empire. I began my graduate studies at The Ohio State University in the fall of 1991. At the end of that first quarter, the Soviet Union had crumbled. Our last class in our graduate seminar in Russian and Soviet history met on the day that the accords negotiating the end
I only had occasional contacts with Orest Subtelny, the man whose work would shape the trajectory of the rest of my life. I called and emailed him several times regarding my research and the publication of my Lviv book. The only time I spoke with him was in late August 1999, after attending his presentation of a paper on Ukrainian collaborators and the Final Solution at an international conference of Ukrainianists in Odessa. Yet it was his great book that turned me on to Ukrainian history and which physically drew me into Ukraine’s current events, to observe history in the making, with my own eyes.
William Risch is an Associate Professor of History at Georgia College in Milledgeville, United States of America.
Bringing IT Revenues To Odessa From All Over The World by Yuri Warczynski
Odessa’s place within the Ukrainian IT sector is a very important asset for the city as it continues to develop as a prime destination for European business. Yuri Warczynski, the Executive Chairman of HYS Enterprise, a company that has been helping Dutch businesses with their software development needs for a decade, explains just why Odessa’s position is fantastic.
Strong Reputation on the Global IT Market
The European Union is actively working on improving the business climate for startups, and Ukraine is catching up very quickly. According to the 2016 Startup Nation Scoreboard, the current European leader for startup business climate is the Netherlands, but the lack of tech talent that the country has been facing over the past few years remains a major obstacle for most startup owners. Odessa could offer itself as the solution for this kind of problem, helping Dutch companies complete their projects quickly and efficiently, and bring much needed revenues to Odessa at the same time. The global tech community values Ukrainian programmers very highly. Due to a number of factors, Odessa is quickly becoming an especially attractive IT hub, and smart deployment of its resources could bring ever greater benefits to the city and country.
It is not news that the Ukrainian IT market numbers are truly impressive. Ukraine now boasts around 100,000 working IT professionals, 50,000 software engineers, over 36,000 technology graduates annually, more than 1,000 IT companies, and 2,000 startups. According to the European Business Association, this industry is one of the main drivers of economic growth. In 2015, Ukraine earned over $2.5 billion from the exports of software and IT services. Ukraine’s tech industry shows accelerating growth, year after year. It is in 3rd place after agriculture and metallurgy, and is on par with the export of chemicals. The world’s most innovative countries keep displaying a strong interest in Ukraine as a highly favored investment destination, particularly for the setup of R&D centers. Global tech companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Deutsche Bank, UBS Bank, eBay, Apple, Corel, Motorola, MySQL, TDK, BOSCH, and Skype have all chosen Ukraine as an IT outsourcing location on numerous occasions.
Odessa IT Industry Success Factors Odessa has grown into one of the biggest tech cities in Ukraine. It offers a large IT talent pool, which is one of the main factors that have made the city so attractive for outsourcing. In fact, local IT companies employ more than 8,000 IT professionals. The academic potential of Odessa is strong as well. Five universities train highly skilled specialists in Computer Technologies and produce around 1,000 graduates annually: Odessa National University, Odessa National Polytechnic University, Odessa National Academy of Telecommunications, Odessa State Academy of Refrigeration, and Odessa National Environmental University. Interestingly, the number of technology graduates per 1,000 citizens is higher in Ukraine than in Japan, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, or Belgium.
zones that neighbor it. The time difference between Odessa and Amsterdam is only one hour, Odessa and London — two hours, and Odessa and New York — seven hours, which is significantly less than with Asian outsourcing locations. This makes Odessa really convenient for Western European and American companies. When it comes to international business trips, Odessa is exceedingly well connected with the Odessa International Airport that is currently being built a new terminal. A number of excellent airlines operate here, including Austrian Airlines, Georgian National Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Aerosvit Airlines, Ukraine International Airlines, Malev Hungarian Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Czech Airlines. Yet traveling to Odessa is more than just a business matter — the city is a nice place to live, more com-
When it comes to international business trips, Odessa is exceedingly well connected with the Odessa International Airport that is currently being built a new terminal Ukraine’s location almost exclusively in the Eastern European Time Zone makes it incredibly well-placed for remote software development, as it enables smooth communication and workflow between the two time
pact and cozier than Kiev. It is the only IT center in Ukraine on the shores of the Black Sea, and its quality of life has the potential to attract talented programmers from all over the country to its tech community.
Odessa was also listed by Forbes in 2015 as the most business-friendly city in the country. The Pearl by the Black Sea has all the advantages it needs to emerge as the frontrunner of the Ukrainian IT industry, and the benefits to the city would be tremendous. Technology professionals living in Odessa are forming a new middle class social group that will foster the development of the city. By 2020, the number of Ukrainian developers will have reached 200,000. This solvent audience will be of interest to local businesses, significantly decreasing the impact of seasonality that is characteristic of all tourist destinations. Often, IT professionals tend to have progressive mindsets and support democratic values. The support of IT industry is essential to the development of Odessa and its transformation into a truly European city.
Yuri Warczynski is the Co-founder and Executive Chairman of HYS Enterprise and a Supervisory Board Member of IT-Cluster Odessa.
Becoming Ukraine’s Top IT Hub Odessa isn’t the largest IT hub in Ukraine, however, the city is often proclaimed to have the best quality of life according to the Analytical Research Center “Institute of the City”, which puts it ahead of the top Ukrainian tech city Kiev.
Dancing In Odessa: The Poetry Of Ilya Kaminsky
Ilya Kaminsky was born in Odessa 1977 and left the city in 1993 for the United States. He is the author of the critcally acclaimed poety volume â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Dancing In Odessaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; which garnered numerous awards and distinctions and have been called the Best Book of the Year by ForeWord Magazine. He is also the editor or translator of many other books. His books have been translated into various languages and published in Turkey, Holland, Russia, France, Mexico, Macedonia, Romania, Spain and China-where his poetry was awarded the Yinchuan International Poetry Prize. Kaminsky is a lyrical poet who combines the sounds of Russian and English in his poetry.
Dancing In Odessa In a city ruled jointly by doves and crows, doves covered the main district, and crows the market. A deaf boy counted how many birds there were in his neighbor’s backyard, producing a four-digit number. He dialed the number and confessed his love to the voice on the line. My secret: at the age of four I became deaf. When I lost my hearing, I began to see voices. On a crowded trolley, a one-armed man said that my life would be mysteriously linked to the history of my country. Yet my country cannot be found, its citizens meet in a dream to conduct elections. He did not describe their faces, only a few names: Roland, Aladdin, Sinbad.
In Praise of Laughter Where days bend and straighten in a city that belongs to no nation but all the nations of wind, she spoke the speech of poplar trees— her ears trembling as she spoke, my Aunt Rose composed odes to barbershops, drugstores. Her soul walking on two feet, the soul or no soul, a child’s allowance, she loved street musicians and knew that my grandfather composed lectures on the supply and demand of clouds in our country: the State declared him an enemy of the people. He ran after a train with tomatoes in his coat and danced naked on the table in front of our house— he was shot, and my grandmother raped by the public prosecutor, who stuck his pen in her vagina, the pen which signed people off for twenty years. But in the secret history of anger — one man’s silence lives in the bodies of others — as we dance to keep from falling, between the doctor and the prosecutor: my family, the people of Odessa, women with huge breasts, old men naive and childlike, all our words, heaps of burning feathers that rise and rise with each retelling.
Maestro What is memory? what makes a body glow: an apple orchard in Moldova and the school is bombed when the schools are bombed, sadness is forbidden — I write this now and I feel my body’s weight: the screaming girls, 347 voices in the story of a doctor saving them, his hands trapped under a wall, his granddaughter dying nearby- she whispers I don’t want to die, I have eaten such apples, he watches her mouth as a blind man reading lips and yells: Shut up! I am near the window, I am asking for help! speaking, he cannot stop speaking, in the dark: of Brahms, Chopin he speaks to them to calm them. A doctor, yes, whatever window framed his life, outside: tomatoes grew, clouds passed and we once lived; a doctor with a tattoo of a parrot on his trapped arm, seeing his granddaughter’s cheekbones no longer her cheekbones, with surgical precision stitches suffering and grace: two days pass, he shouts in his window (there is no window) when rescue approaches, he speaks of Chopin, Chopin. They cut off his hands, nurses say he is “doing OK” — in my dream: he stands, feeding bread to pigeons, surrounded by pigeons, birds on his head, his shoulder, he shouts You don’t understand a thing! he is breathing himself to sleep, the city sleeps, there is no such city.
Aunt Rose In a soldier’s uniform, in wooden shoes, she danced at either end of day, my Aunt Rose. Her husband rescued a pregnant woman from the burning house — he heard laughter, each day’s own little artillery — in that fire he burnt his genitals. My Aunt Rose took other people’s children — she clicked her tongue as they cried and August pulled curtains evening after evening. I saw her, chalk between her fingers, she wrote lessons on an empty blackboard, her hand moved and the board remained empty. We lived in a city by the sea but there was another city at the bottom of the sea and only local children believed in its existence. She believed them. She hung her husband’s picture on a wall in her apartment. Each month on a different wall. I now see her with that picture, hammer in her left hand, nail in her mouth. From her mouth, a smell of wild garlic — she moves toward me in her pajamas arguing with me and with herself. The evenings are my evidence, this evening in which she dips her hands up to her elbows, the evening is asleep inside her shoulder — her shoulder rounded by sleep.
My Mother’s Tango I see her windows open in the rain, laundry in the windows — she rides a wild pony for my birthday, a white pony on the seventh floor. “And where will we keep it?” “On the balcony!” the pony neighing on the balcony for nine weeks. At the center of my life: my mother dances, yes here, as in childhood, my mother asks to describe the stages of my happiness — she speaks of soups, she is of their telling: between the regiments of saucers and towels, she moves so fast — she is motionless, opening and closing doors. But what was happiness? A pony on the balcony! My mother’s past, a cloak she wore on her shoulder. I draw an axis through the afternoon to see her, sixty, courting a foreign language — young, not young — my mother gallops a pony on the seventh floor. She becomes a stranger and acts herself, opens what is shut, shuts what is open.
American Tourist In a city made of seaweed we danced on a rooftop, my hands under her breasts. Subtracting day from day, I add this woman’s ankles to my days of atonement, her lower lip, the formal bones of her face. We were making love all evening — I told her stories, their rituals of rain: happiness is money, yes, but only the smallest coins. She asked me to pray, to bow towards Jerusalem. We bowed to the left, I saw two bakeries, a shoe store; the smell of hay, smell of horses and hay. When Moses broke the sacred tablets on Sinai, the rich picked the pieces carved with: “adultery” and “kill” and “theft,” the poor got only “No” “No” “No.” I kissed the back of her neck, an elbow, this woman whose forgetting is a plot against forgetting, naked in her galoshes she waltzed and even her cat waltzed. She said: “All that is musical in us is memory” — but I did not know English, I danced sitting down, she straightened and bent and straightened, a tremble of music a tremble in her hand.
Dancing in Odessa We lived north of the future, days opened letters with a child’s signature, a raspberry, a page of sky. My grandmother threw tomatoes from her balcony, she pulled imagination like a blanket over my head. I painted my mother’s face. She understood loneliness, hid the dead in the earth like partisans. The night undressed us (I counted its pulse) my mother danced, she filled the past with peaches, casseroles. At this, my doctor laughed, his granddaughter touched my eyelid — I kissed the back of her knee. The city trembled, a ghost-ship setting sail. And my classmate invented twenty names for Jew. He was an angel, he had no name, we wrestled, yes. My grandfathers fought the German tanks on tractors, I kept a suitcase full of Brodsky’s poems. The city trembled, a ghost-ship setting sail. At night, I woke to whisper: yes, we lived. We lived, yes, don’t say it was a dream. At the local factory, my father took a handful of snow, put it in my mouth. The sun began a routine narration, whitening their bodies: mother, father dancing, moving as the darkness spoke behind them. It was April. The sun washed the balconies, April. I retell the story the light etches into my hand: Little book, go to the city without me
Facebook’s Role In The Paradigm Of Ukraine’s Modern Literary Process By Alexandr Topilov It should be no surprise that Ukraine’s political revolution has also given birth to a literary renaissance, one that is firmly connected to the the forces of contemporary technology.
BORIS KHERSONSKY. PHOTO BY PETER KOCHERGA
One of the main causes for the recent explosion in modern Ukrainian literature is the political tension that the country is currently going through. This is a natural process. The surge in national conscious-ness, the torturous process of a society building a new identity, the emergence of the country’s intellectual elite to the forefront of the culture — these are all contributing factors. All of these events have transpired rapidly within the past two years and Ukraine has attempted a total overhaul of its system and society. The efficacy of this attempt can be debated, but one thing is certain — the publishing in-dustry in
Ukraine is experiencing a true revival. Many new publishing houses have opened, and even new talented authors have appeared on the literary scene. Some of these names have faded into the literary background, while others have been making an unprecedented impact, breathing fresh air into modern Ukrainian literature. Even looking at Odessa alone — which is not to imply that Odessa is not an important city in the context of writing — it will become quite obvious that we are witnessing the rise of a veritable “New Wave” of Ukrainian literature.
In these circumstances, it becomes especially important to differentiate between quantity and quality. On one hand, the revival of the literary community, its influx of diversity and the life it brings to the city is indisputably a positive thing. On the other hand, due to the sheer volume of creative output, we are bound to see a lot of mediocre attempts at poetry, shallow analytics and simply untalented writing. The popularity and omnipresence of the “blogosphere” and the social media in general are increasingly a defining factor in the production of literature just as they are in every aspect of contemporary culture. In particular, Facebook — a platform with enormous mass appeal — has become not only an arena of free speech for the city’s intelligentsia and creative spheres (such as Odessa opinion leaders Aleksander Roytburd and Boris Khersonsky), but has now began to “manufacture” heroes on its own, dragging new names from obscurity and into the sudden spotlight. In fact, Facebook is turning into a veritable foundation of literary potential, and serves as fertile soil for emerging young authors to draw from. Of course, in the case of an established writ-
“This was a time that broke me apart… but did not manage to break me finally. From the fragments, I was able to construct a new meaning, a new identity. Facebook made this process transparent — maybe even too transparent, but what’s done is done. I understood this clearly once again, looking at the pages of my journal.”
PHOTO BY ELENA PAVLOVA
er such as the poet Boris Khersonsky, Facebook cannot be said to have influenced his writing in any significant way. Khersonsky (a regular contributor to The Odessa Review) is one of the major figures in today’s literary Odessa whose first poems were published back in the late 1960s. His prose and poetry have appeared in many renowned publications throughout the years, including in the Russian expatriate press. Starting in the 1990s, he has been putting out new material regularly. In the early 2000s, Khersonsky became a laureate of several international awards, including the Austrian Literaris award for his masterful 2010 book “Family Archive”. For him, Facebook is just another platform for the dispersal of his poems, editorials and his notes as a psychiatrist as well as his historical and cultural investigations. A distinction must be made here between Facebook and other internet platforms with a similar purpose, such as LiveJournal, which has been fading from popularity in the Russophone world. Facebook provides one vital asset to creators which other media platforms don’t — the capacity of instant two-way communication. The author can gauge the public’s reaction mere moments after publishing his work. Discussions arise instantaneously, both on-topic and tangential ones. After all, this is the main purpose
of creative works — to stimulate thought, to encourage the exchange of ideas, to hone the dialectic of a critical argument.
At that point, during the “Revolution of Honor”, the Facebook page of another Odessa intellectual was garnering a lot of popularity: Aleksander Roytburd. Probably the most important modern Ukrainian painter, Roytburd’s approach to his blog was entirely different from Khersonsky’s. He did not shy away from satire and ridicule. The writing style was intentionally flawed — no punctuation marks, drastically shortened and simplified semantic structures, a generous amount of profanity. Roytburd positioned himself as especially close to “the people” — and the people responded favorably. He discussed extremely complex topics
Everything changed two years ago as a result of the tragic events that swept the country. This was a watershed moment for Ukraine’s self-determination, and the support of the Ukrainian and international intellectual community was needed more than ever. During this time Khersonky’s personal Facebook, regardless of his intentions, became a battlefield of opinion for Odessa’s intelligentsia. It should be noted that it also made an impact outside of Odessa as well — his essay on the hypocrisy of Russia’s “brother nations rhetoric” made quite an impression in Russian literary circles. Khersonsky on the other hand was very guarded about his Facebook page. He saw it first and fore-most as a sort of interactive writers’ diary. It can be said that the platform helped him solve certain creative issues. In 2015, after the release of Khersonsky’s “Open Journal” the nature of this problem-solving process became obvious. It is doubtful that Khersonsky would have been able to collect the distinct texts comprising the work into one book if it was not for the fact that his Facebook entries from 2014 gave a clear and complete image of Odessa’s thoughts and reactions to the Euromaidan events. Khersonsky says about his book:
PHOTO BY ANDREY RAPHAEL
in simple and down to earth terms, many of his points conveyed through his characteristic cynical, dark sense of humor. A public demand for a book by Roytburd arose. Of course, the public wanted this to be another collection of Facebook and blog entries, as
this medium was proving to be a ruthlessly clear way of conveying a message and Roytburd’s posts were unique, insightful and politically biting. However, true to his individualistic nature, Roytburd refused to satisfy this demand. He would still release a book, which was presented at the 2016 Book Arsenal. His work is not a book in the conventional sense — rather, it is an exten-
serious impact on their art rather serving as a conduit. But today’s literature is rife with bona fide “internet heroes”, whose rise to fame was facilitated by social media such as Facebook. Some of them have already been able to publish collections of their works, while others are still waiting for their moment in the sun.
VITALIY GRINCHUK. PHOTO BY ANDREY RAPHAEL
sive catalog documenting his entire creative path as an artist. Texts make up a significant portion of the book. They deal with modern Ukrainian art, Odessa art schools and artists, Roytburd’s autobiographical sketches and memories, an analysis of the city’s (and the country’s) current cultural situation. The text is of a high quality, characterized by the author’s bold use of metaphor and allegory, drawing parallels between his writing and painting style. The book makes for very interesting reading, and it is fairly evident that Roytburd honed some of its incisive, direct style from his writings and exchanges on Facebook. Boris Khersonsky and Aleksandr Roytburd are merely the most famous and obvious examples. Their creative legacy was established well before the era of Facebook, and the social internet platform did not have any
Stas Dombrovsky’s example perhaps illustrates this phenomenon best of all. Praise of Dombrovsky is not often heard in Odessa. His world is a bleak place where thieves, addicts and other rejects of society are illustrated with supremely powerful writing and complex language reminiscent of Andrei Platonov. It is a world totally devoid of romanticism, even in its trite “criminal” variety. A world that promises a future that will surely only get worse. The Odessa publishing company Stellar took a risk when they released a collection of his poetry and prose, most of which was taken from the author’s Facebook page. However, that risk paid off. Presented in book format, Dombrovsky’s gritty observations took on a kind of sophistication and a deeper meaning. The bare nerves, the high tension of his writing created a startlingly powerful — if often dark and unflattering — image of the author’s worldview.
Another writer to come to prominence out of social media is Vitaliy Grinchuk, who appeared in Odessa’s literary community recently and unexpectedly. It was after seeing his writings on Facebook that Sergey Bakumenko as well as Stas Dombrovskiy started inviting him to their literary evenings, during which Grinchuk easily outshone all the other authors. The audiences loved him: his texts had an attractive way of addressing unpleasant realities while retaining a subtle Odessa charm. Stories about the working class Moldavanka neigborhood, old ladies, trams and neighbors were delivered with exceptional humor and an awareness of hidden aspects of life. Grinchuk’s tales are alive with real characters the likes of which have not often been seen in Russophone literature since the time of Maxim Gorky. But the most distinguishing feature of his prose is his wonderful philosophic rumination, as well as a signature tendency toward innuendo that gives the text the quality of a parable. Grinchuk’s writings have been published in periodicals and a complete collection of his stories would become a literary event of national significance. The literary merits of social media platforms can certainly be debated. But one fact remains indisputable — it was the internet, and Facebook in particular, which has given us an entire lineup of new, vivid and gripping authors: Odessa’s Stas Dombrovsky and Vitaliy Grinchuk, Kyiv’s Lembit Koroedov, Gorky Luk, Pavel Belensky, and Yuliya Batkilina from Kharkiv, among many others.
Alexandr Topilov is a musician, critic, and author of the book “That’s All There Is”.
A Dialogue About That “Infamous Odessan” Language With Boris Khersonsky By Igor Pomerantsev and Boris Khersonsky This interview is based on a transcription of a radio interview that took place between Igor Pomerantsev and The Odessa Review contributing author and well known poet Boris Khersonsky several years ago. Pomerantsev, a legendary broadcaster has been working for RFE/RL’s Russian Service for more than 25 years. In addition to his work as a broadcaster, he has also authored more than 10 books which include collections of poetry. The satirist and publicist Vlas Doroshevich once called the language of Odessa “the language of the straight-forward people — free as wind’’. Khersonsky does not relate to this language with that sort of irony free romanticism, but he does still retain a keen interest in it. This interview appeared in a slightly different form on the RFE/RL’s Russian Service.
of people who began speaking Russian to use the language’s template. One would say “I saw you go to a bar,” but, my grandfather from 1930’s Bessarabia would say “I saw 100 people stand in a queue for a drink. Their eyes showed that they wanted to kill somebody for standing in this queue.” He would also say something like “he died of 80 years.” All of his rumination I would consider to be part of the Odessa language. It seems that this is a language of a people who can’t assimilate into the mainstream community. They already left their foreign-language communities, whether they were in the city or out of the country, but they can’t replicate the new community. And this Odessan language, in my opinion, is the language of those people, that is a historical language. ILLUSTRATION BY LISA BIRGAU
Igor Pomerantsev (IP): Boris, you’re an Odessan and a Russian poet. As a poet, does the Odessan language and its unique texture concern you? BH: I seldom use it. I never use the Odessan language owing to the fact that it is as dead as is Latin. It is a language used to enter readers into a time and a specific context. Also there is a huge number of those who want to
be Babel today or Ilf and Petrov. And that is just impossible. But, sometimes I do use the expressions that I have heard before. One can say that the Odessa language existed, and today there are reprintings or copies of it. I mean, there is some hope to keep this language alive artificially, when it cannot actually be kept alive. The Odessa language is a certain mix of dialects; it is the attempt
IP: You focus on German and Yiddish influence in the Odessan language. What about Greek, Ukrainian, Russian? What are their influences, their evolutions onto the language?
BH: Ukrainians have an important influence on the Odessan language. A little example is that Odessans often call a stork (it is “aist” in Russian) a “lelekа”. I even call a stork a “leleka” in some poems when I am speaking about Gogol. Even with the Ukrainian influence on Odessan language, it is not as significant as the Yiddish influence. It’s not even difficult to track the influence of Greek on the Odessan language, and that’s the same with German, English, Italian; everywhere you can find the similar infinitives.
IP: Stylistically refined writers — like Valentin Katayev or Yury Olesha — did they write in the Odessan language?
BH: Yes, of course.
BH: I do not think so. Katayev tried to write in the Odessan language, he used it in his early works. Well, it was in the same “The lonely sail grows white” style which he used all the time. Yes, I still remember when this language was everywhere in his writing. Then in his late works, he transitioned to a kind of intentionally bad writing style. I do not see the Odessan language in these works any more. The humorist Zhvanetsky, of course, uses the Odessan language. Or rather, not the language, but the prototypical Odessan intonations. IP: Do you love your native dead language?
IP: Are there any writers and poets who, unlike you, do not consider the Odessan language to be dead?
BH: It is hard to say. I mainly do love it. I love it as a certain memory from the past, but there are other feelings attached to this
IP: In English, that’s called the complex object.
I never use the Odessan language owing to the fact that it is as dead as Latin BH: Well, of course, there are. All those who write the so-called “Odessan humor” always use it and will always use it. For example, Valery Smirnov writes detective stories, but has also made Odessan language dictionaries. This dictionary expands from edition to edition and is, in fact, quite popular. There is a writer, Alexander Bilstein, who has written an infinite amount of short stories about Odessan court yards and, of course, the characters of these yards speak the Odessan language.
love. I have a dual relationship with Odessa. I love it and it is my city, though it is not what it was like before. Over time it has become less “mine”, but I have one important claim to this city — Odessa loves its swindlers too much. If we speak about Odessa, then we must speak about Benya Krik, Ostap Bender, Sonka the Gold Handle. The popularity of magnificent scientists, great writers and poets from Odessa will, nevertheless, al-
ways be compared to Mishka Yaponchik, Benya Krik — Benya always had to speak in an Odessan way. The main issue is that it is widely thought that this is the language of Odessan criminals, this is also what Babel was taught. Actually, I read an interesting article not so long ago about the writings of Odessan criminals, Babel’s famous intonations are not there. They are instead vulgar, extremely primitive notes and texts. I am afraid that this language was not thought up by thieves, but actually by Isaac Babel. IP: Boris, you called the Odessan language dead. Is loving it a form necrophilia? BH: No, by all means, because I don’t love this dead language, I loved it when it was alive. And now the usage of it causes me strong irritation. I love this language in an environment of the past and in the old Odessan yards. I loved the way it sounded from the lips of old people because that’s all they knew. IP: As a psychologist, does your knowledge of the Odessan language help you speak to some of your patients? BH: Of course not. Practically nobody speaks in this language in Odessa. It is possible to hear it sometimes in the remarks of old people on the minibuses, reminding me of those typical Odessan speech patterns. Also I hear it from lips of writers, of course, which infinitely prolongs the Odessan myth and the Odessan tradition.
Christopher Hampton Goes To Odessa: An Interview With The Head Of The Odessa Film Festival Jury By Regina Maryanovska-Davidzon Christopher Hampton is a British playwright, screenwriter, translator and film director who is best known for his play based on the eighteenth century Pierre Choderlos de Laclos French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses, which he turned into a celebrated film adaptation in 1988. Recently, Hampton has also garnered acclaim for his film adaptation of Ian McEwan’s critically acclaimed novel Atonement. Hampton served as the head of the jury for the 7th annual Odessa Film Festival. This interview took place in the Bristol hotel on Pushkinska street.
Odessa Review (Regina Maryanovska-Davidzon): Thank you for joining us at the Odessa Review, sir. So, tell us what is it like to be the head of the Jury? CH (Christopher Hampton): Well, it’s very enjoyable, I mean I love watching films, especially films that I’m not likely to see very easily anywhere else. I’ve been on several film festival juries. The first time I’ve been chairman, would say it’s an added sense of responsibility. We’ve had a couple of meetings and I respect my colleagues very much, and I feel confident we are going to come to a series of good decisions. OR: How has the crop of films been this year so far? CH: Variable, but one or two really really good ones. That’s what you expect the spectrum to be. I mean, even in Cannes, you see some great films and some terrible films.
OR: That is true. CH: I actually think the percentage is rather better here than is often the case in general. OR: I mean this is not one of the three big international film festivals, not one of the top three or four. So the films that we get are more interesting because they come from smaller countries or because you get to actually see the Ukrainian national program?
CH: Yeah, I liked it, yeah. It’s very interesting how the muse goes from one country to another, and it’s been that way all through my lifetime. So I remember, suddenly Chinese films were the best films being made, and then Iranian films, and then Korean films, and now, as you say, Romanian films are very strong, very good. And I think Polish films are very good at the moment as well. But it’s very capricious. OR: It is capricious, but perhaps the ferment here of the war and the strife... CH: I think that’s right, that kind of domestic event does focus people’s minds in a certain way, and does make people conscious that it’s really part of their responsibility to produce films that reflect complex situations. OR: We have a very complex situation here, for the good and the bad. Much bad has happened, but much good has come out of it. CH: Well, I’m an outsider, but clearly you’ve had a very tumultuous period that you have gone through. I suppose what’s great is that you’re still your own people, and that Ukraine is forging ahead as Ukraine. OR: What has been your reception here? No doubt very warm.
OR: Was it the Fanny Kaplan film?
CH: Very warm, and I love the city, I’ve been able to spend a little time wandering around. I had a really interesting excursion yesterday around various places that Isaac Babel had lived. I’m particularly interested in Isaac Babel, I adapted one of his plays once, a play called “Maria.” We did a version of Maria in 1967, a long time ago now, nearly 50 years ago.
CH: No, it was Nest of the Turtledove.
OR: It’s only been put on in Paris no?
OR: And you liked it? Do you think Ukraine can become the next Romania in terms of the new wave?
CH: No, we did it at the Royal Theatre, and then we did it on British Television. The stage version was in 1967, and then we did it on television in the 70’s directed by a director called Jack Gold, who died very recently. He did the television version for the BBC. And then we did the play again at the Old Vic (ed: a well known theater) in the late 80’s, 89 I think.
CHRISTOPHER HAMPTON WITH HIS WIFE LAURA DE HOLESCH PHOTO BY OKSANA KANIVETS
CH: Yes, that’s right. On our program there’s only one Ukrainian film which we saw last night, and which was indeed very interesting.
OR: And what do you think of the British reception of Babel, our home town hero? CH: Well, I know that when we first did the play the interest was enormous and people came, and it was very hard to get tickets. When we did the play again, although it was directed by a man you may know as a film director, Roger Michell, and it was very very well reviewed, the audiences were not so interested, the audiences were smaller at the end of the 80s. I think, generally speaking, the audiences for unusual, or previously unknown, or adventurous choices in the theater. OR: So, do you still feel the spirit of Babel on the streets of Odessa today? CH: Well, I did yesterday, certainly. I said to one of the people we were with, I wish we had come here when we were making the TV film, because the TV film didn’t look like this, and it would have been better if it had looked like this. These little courtyards, and low houses, the staircases, I was really fascinated. The only other time I’d been to Ukraine was when I went to Chekhov’s house in Yalta. And you feel, whether you imagine it or not, an infusion of the spirit of the writer. Which is very moving.
Regina Maryanovska-Davidzon is the Managing Editor of The Odessa Review
On Finding Babel: An Interview With By Vladislav Davidzon The American documentary film maker David Novack has been coming to Odessa for more than twenty years in connection with his interest in the work of the great Odessa born writer Issac Babel. This year saw the release of his long awaited film about the life of Babel. ‘Finding Babel’ presents a journey through history as Babel’s grandson searches for the writer’s legacy. The film has garnered very good reviews and has been very successful at Film Festival screenings. This interview took place the day before the film’s Odessa premiere (the second screening in Ukraine) as part of the 7th Odessa International Film Festival, the morning after the The Odessa Review hosted a Babel conference along with Novack.
Odessa Review (OR): Hello and thank you Mr. Novack for speaking with us. We published a Babel portfolio in our inaugural issue, so Babel is exceedingly important to the journal, our sensibility and our view of Ukraine and Odessa. We are very excited about the film’s premiere. David Novak (DN): Thank you very much, thank you for the attention that you’re bringing to this film while I am here. The Odessa Review is a blessing to those in the English speaking world who adore Odessa and its culture. I am very grateful to be talking to you at this lovely cafe in Odessa about Isaac Babel. What better place could there be? OR: We know that you have a famous relative from Odessa and that you first came here to make a film about your composer ancestor, Mr. Nowakowsky. DN: Yes, that’s right. When I was about 28 years old, I learned that I had an ancestor named David Nowakowsky who was a composer of liturgical music at the Brody synagogue, here in Odessa. The Brody synagogue was a unique synagogue, it was the first to have an organ and an entirely musical ser-
vice with a cantor and a choir of as many as 40 people. Many of those members of the choir were instrumentalists who played concerts at the synagogue and were part of the Odessa opera company. 1,300 of Nowakowsky’s manuscripts went underground in 1921, they were hidden from the Soviets and were later hidden from the Nazis in France, and they are now archived in the Yivo Institute in New York City. So I came here in 1993 to meet with scholars who would help me get me a better picture of David Nowakowsky, the Brody synagogue, and of Odessa before the revolution.
OR: This was considered a great find, a particular historical artifact. DN: Absolutely, in 2001 or 2002. I could not have found that in 1993, but the internet allowed to me to go in this direction during
OR: He had waited until he was already an adult past the age of 40 to engage on such a journey. That is until he felt ready to take on this historical responsibility and this historical necessity. That was only after his grandmother died.
OR: There’s more of it now, it has become an academic industry. DN: Absolutely, absolutely, there’s much more now. One of my first stops was the Literary museum in Odessa where I met with Ana Missouk, who is one of the lead researchers, archivists, experts and tour guides at the museum. Ana turned me on to the Jewish writers who wrote about Odessa before the revolution. That was when I first read Issac Babel because, of course, he stood above all of them. In fact, the Brody synagogue and its music is mentioned in his “Odessa Stories”. It was a very musical place at the time. So I read Babel and fell in love with the “Odessa Stories” in 1993. I had trouble accessing the humor of the “Odessa Stories” when I was first reading them in English but it occurred to me that I already knew, from my trip to Odessa, about the Odessa language. I realized that if I read these short stories in English with my grandma’s Yiddish-infused accent in my head, I could access the humor. All of a sudden, I could see all of the sardonic sarcasm that is filtered throughout these stories in just about every other word — the double entendres and the hidden meaning. So, I fell in love with Babel at that point. Some years later when I was working on a film about Nowakowsky, I came across a gallery owner in the United States who had a collection of artwork by Yefim Ladyzhensky that had been used to illustrate Babel publications in the 1960’s Soviet Union.
my Babel searches. I went to the exhibition, the gentleman let me film there and then he invited me to his home outside of Washington DC to do more shooting. He was very close friends with Antonina Pirozhkova, Babel’s second wife. Technically speaking, they were never actually married. As you know in Soviet times it was very common for households to be shared without a wedding. So this gentleman asked if I would like to interview her, and I said absolutely. I had read her published memoir, “By His Side,” and it documents the 7 years that she was with Isaac Babel before he was executed. It speaks of the work she did to find out if he was alive, which took many decades. She fought for his rehabilitation in the late 50’s. I read her memoir, went down to Washington, and I interviewed her. It was an extraordinary interview and I had no idea what I was going to do with that interview from 2002. It sat on a shelf in my office for years. Something told me that I just needed to get her story on tape. 7 years later, I read her obituary in the New York Times. I called to express my condolences to her grandson, Andrei, whom I had met when I conducted the interview. At that time, Andrei told me that he was thinking of going on a journey.
DN: Absolutely, it seems that there was some kind of a torch that was being passed when his grandmother died. I said to Andrei at the time, “If you don’t mind me bringing cameras along, I’d like to go with you on this journey and see what comes of it.” So Andrei really conducted this journey, he arranged for all of the interviews, he arranged for everybody whom we met along the way. OR: So he did it for himself, not for documentary purposes. DN: Absolutely. Andrei’s original concept came from his acting. He’s a trained actor. He was raised in Moscow mainly by his grandmother and trained at the Moscow Conservatory. When we began the journey, he was already teaching acting at the Asolo Conservatory at Florida State University in Sarasota - a top notch drama conservatory in the United States. Andrei has a one man show he wrote about Babel made up of excerpts of Babel stories. OR: And of course, Babel was a theater man. He adapted his own stories for the screen and he wrote plays.
DN: He wrote two plays. One called “Sunset” and one called “Maria”. Both are wonderful plays. “Sunset” is performed more frequently. “Maria” is a very complicated work which we explore in the film, Finding Babel. OR: It has only been put on in Paris, as far as I know.
OR: So he has a performative and a deeply embedded relationship to the work, he actually lives through the texts and cares about them. It informs his craftsmanship, his artistry. DN: Very well put. That was the original concept, and I filmed him doing all these readings as we went along the journey. Ultimately, the decision was made not to include
DN: Yes, it was very difficult and I likened it to stories that we have heard and read of how Isaac Babel worked. Babel, in his study in Moscow, would walk around the apartment with a string that he would wrap around his finger continually and decide how he was going to edit down his works. His process was a process of editing as much as it was a process of writing. Editing painstakingly down to where every word and every piece of punctuation has weighted meaning. That’s what makes his work so rich and makes his work capture essences of people and moments. For a documentary filmmaker, it is very, very challenging process; if you’re going to make the best film you can make, you’re going to have to cast a very wide net. Frequently, casting that wide net means having much more amazing material than you could ever fit in a palatable film. Then you’re faced with commercial realities if you want your film to be in festivals — seen by many people. These realities require keeping lengths down. OR: Did you ever think about putting together a crazed nine-hour epic with that material?
DN: There was a teleplay done in Paris as well by Bernard Sobel — he’s the last bastion of Jewish communist theater in the Northern suburbs of Paris. His theater is still there. We interviewed him in that theater, but we didn’t use it in the film. So, Andrei had hoped that the journey would allow him to get close to Babel. He wanted to see how this journey might change or transform his performance as an actor. It was a little bit of an acting experiment for an actor to do that, to see what that kind of research, what that kind of digging, connectivity, putting himself in the spaces that are in the story, being in the lands of “Red Calvary,” or in the Moldovanka of Odessa, how could that experience actually transform his performance. Whenever Andrei felt like it, he would open up a story and start reading it, out loud, just start performing it.
those in the film. The narrative of Babel that evolved was lost in them. We kept some excerpts, of course, but they are very edited for the film and we had them read by Liev Schreiber. The first cut of the film was three and a half hours and there are 300 hours of footage. Out of those three and a half hours, the next cut was about two hours and 15 or 20 minutes. At that point, everything that was in it was a gem and it was a matter of deciding which gems are we going to lose and why. OR: When we spoke last night at our miniature academic conference at the literary museum, along with the local Babel experts, Russian literature experts, collectors, and the literature prized jury, you spoke about the extreme existential anguish of cutting these sections. The actual process of cutting anything from the film’s stock was very difficult for you.
DN: I could have done that. Andrei and I hopes like that at the time when I was making this, I was talking with the Kultura channel in Russia a lot, and we were talking about doing three 45 minute ‘hours’ which I thought would be the perfect miniseries. I would still be very happy to do that; I could restore this back to something that is a little longer length. OR: Speaking about the situation in Russia, let us speak about the FSB archives in which you shot footage. DN: The head archivist at the FSB, Vasily Kristoferov, was very helpful, he made sure that we got permission to film in the KGB archives. We were the first American crew to be ever permitted to do that. We will also likely be the last for quite some time. He was helpful in allowing us access to what he knew existed or whatever he was permitted to let us know existed. He made himself available, he was very honest and open
in interviews. But, still, he might have had some instructions from upstairs. There were a couple of pieces that were redacted, hidden or removed from the folder that we looked at. He told us that they were not there and he told us why. For instance, the document that shows the actual execution would have had the name of the executioner. His family has the right to privacy over that information becoming public.
OR: Did you have suspicions that he knows where the file is or he was not able to tell you about the whereabouts of that file. If he knew, it would shine light on the manuscripts. DN: I don’t think Kristoferov does know where it is. What was missing… well there were two big things missing.. What we had, what Andrei was able to look at was the
OR: So we have our suspicions and we have nothing to base them on, is that the KGB or its successor agency, the FSB, still has these files under reasons unknown to us? DN: I mean, yeah, either they have them or they were pulled up to the Presidential archive in the Kremlin. People have been in the presidential archive and there is a Babel folder which is not a prisoner folder. It has been studied. OR: Do we know what is in it? DN: Yes. There is a lot about Pirozhkova in it. I’d have to reread it. Jonathan Brent of Yivo who wrote a book about the Stalin archives has seen it, and there’s a significant section in that book about Babel.The other things that are missing are the manuscripts! 24 folders of manuscript of new writings that Babel had written throughout the 30’s and intentionally had not published. OR: That is the collectivization stories?
OR: In Ukraine, as in Russia, this is a normative law. Although with the decommunization and the KGB archives, Ukrainians don’t have that problem as of May of 2015. This is well known fact that the families of the prosecutors, the lawyers, and the executioner are all allowed privacy. Also this is a matter of a fear of retribution. DN: Which is understandable, but from the point of view of the victim and the victim’s family, they’d say, “Well I’d like to talk to the grandchild of that executioner and see what comes out of that conversation.” or “Why are my grandfather’s words, forced under torture, of public record but the name of his executioner isn’t?” But, as helpful as Kristoferov was, it seems that there is another large file that has gone missing.
criminal case file that had all the details of the arrest, the case, the false confessions — which we know were given under torture. The recanting of his confessions, a letter where he says that everything he said is not true, is actually in the folder. Ultimately he signed his death warrant because prisoners had to sign that. OR: All prisoners had to sign their own death warrant? DN: Yes, and all of that was in there. What was missing was the day-to-day file which is a separate file which states specifically where he was sent and who interrogated him and what was said during that particular interrogation. And you know torture would be documented in there and all sorts of things would be documented in the day-to-day file. That file is missing. Clearly, such files don’t just go missing, especially for someone of his nature and level of cultural relevance.
DN: Yes, the collectivization stories and a few more Benya Krik stories, that we do not have. That is because Benya Krik never dies. In the film he dies. In the film directed by Vladimir Vilner (the 1926 version), he did not die in the original version. It opened in Kyiv, ran a few nights and it was then shut down by the authorities. Babel was made to rewrite the ending so that Benya Krik dies, where the proletariat rises up against him and kills him. But, in ‘real life,’ in Babel’s life, Benya never dies, he keeps going. OR: Just like James Bond. DN: Just like James Bond and just like the regime that Benya represented in the stories. OR: What are the odds that the manuscripts exist? This is the holy grail of Soviet Lit after all? DN: It’s always been Andrei’s dream. Once he understood what it meant, that a film was being made of his journey, it became a dream of his that the renewed exposure for Babel which is happening globally would help that process along. It is happening in
Russia as well and the film can further fuel it. We hope that would result in the manuscripts surfacing, somewhere. What are the odds? I’m not a gambling man but I’d like to say 50/50 that the manuscripts really do exist. Why do we believe that? There is no record of them being destroyed. They certainly had been taken out of the KGB, or rather out of the NKVD, and they survived that time. There’s no question that they survived that time. The question is what has happened to them since, because certainly there’s a chance that they’re lost, that they’re in a box somewhere that’s never going to be recovered. There’s a chance that they were burnt in a fire, that there was a flood. Or, they could be on shelf, held by someone who understands their value. OR: Let’s backtrack to the film and it’s reception in Odessa, to the conference that we organized on the 14th of July at the Literary Museum. You’ve been coming here for 24 years, and you’ve been dealing with the reception of Babel for a very long time. What is your take on the current state of ‘Babelonia’ in Odessa, and of also of Babel Studies in English speaking countries?
DN: It’s funny that you should ask that. We were filming the magnificent monument of Babel created by Georgy Frangulyan, the famous Russian/Georgian sculptor, that now sits here in Odessa. We filmed him making the statue, to watch his hands, his work on that statue, creating it with a kind of love and understanding of that character of Odessa. He is from Georgia, he’s not an Odessite. The love for this writer across the entire former Soviet Union is the thing that has struck me most about going down this path and uncovering Babel. Then when you get to Odessa, it’s practically a cult.
OR: It is a cult in every sense. DN: And as an American, to see a cult formed around literature is such a wonderful, refreshing thing. We don’t do that in the United States and we should do that in the US. I have to ask myself, what does Babel represent here, that it is a cult? There’s frequently scholarly meetings where they’re talking about Babel and many are talking about the cult of Babel in Odessa. They argue whether Babel is a product of Odessa, having come from here and experienced his childhood here, or whether Odessa is a product of Babel. OR: This question is being discussed in a different register and linguistic apparatus at the literary museum which is full of Babel fanatics. The relationship is fanatical in both the absolutely enchanting and somewhat disconcerting sense. The obsession is creepy to outsiders. It is a form of spiritual condition as well however: they have built an identity for the city around the literature of Odessa. This is form of separating Odessa from Ukraine and apart from the Russian speaking world equally. It’s a third place, an island onto itself. DN: As was Babel. Babel represented the insider outsider, that’s what he was. He got himself all the way inside, up to the upper levels of the NKVD. Up to Beria who ended up supervising his torture in the end, personally. I don’t know if he was in the room, but he had an office in the St. Catharine’s Monastery where Babel was tortured. That monastery was being used as a torture prison, the Sukhanovo prison, which we note in the film, we visited it. He got himself as close to the flame as possible as an insider, but yet he was an outsider because he was from Odessa, he was Jewish. He should not even have been permitted to study under Gorky which is where he really honed his skills. The only reason that he was able to study under Gorky is that he smuggled himself illegally to St. Petersburg when he wasn’t allowed to be there, because it was outside the settlement area for Jews. So Babel was an outsider. He then found himself with Red Calvary with the Cossacks in the Red Army, running through Western Ukraine as he
documented brutality against the Ukrainians and the Jews. Brutality brought on by both sides, it was a civil war essentially between the Reds and the Poles. Who suffered the most? The Jews and the Ukrainians, the peasantry are the ones who suffered the most in that conflict. There he was again, the outsider insider. It’s from this very unique perspective where all his writing came from. The great Yiddish scholar, Aaron Lansky, of the national Yiddish book center of the US — a repository of millions, at this point, of Yiddish books. OR: He gave a great interview. DN: Yes, I’ll be putting the full version online shortly. Aaron said “Babel is the quintessential Yiddish writer.” I said, ”What are you talking about ‘Yiddish writer?’ He wrote in Russian, he never wrote in Yiddish.” He went on to explain that’s not the point, the Yiddish writer is a writer from the outside looking in. It’s from a writer that no matter how much they feel assimilated, they still feel marginalized. That marginalization gives them a perspective and an allowance to write about something from a very different, unique kind of voice. That’s what Babel did better than any other. I think Odessa represents that same kind of idea. OR: In what kind of way? DN: Odessa’s a little bit on the outside, Odessa’s across the pale. It’s an international city, it has always been an international city. There’s a great account of the 1905 Odessa pogrom against the Jews written by a British nurse who was doing some kind of residency here in Odessa for a year or two when that pogrom happened. It was a very international city and as an international city it had a unique perspective on pre-revolutionary times, on the empire, and then on communist times. Even today, when you look at the conflict, Odessa is a unique place where for the most part, it’s very peaceful. It has had some problems, but there isn’t a war here. Hopefully, it will remain that way. But, there is a war of ideas here and that war can persist in Odessa because it’s a little on the outside of things in its own way.
OR: Even for the people here who are proUkrainian, and that is a position that’s gaining ground since the vast majority of people here are not actively pro-Russian, the city still has it’s local identity which supercedes anything else. Loyalty to Kyiv is grudgingly given in some cases by the intelligentsia or the middle classes whose business prospects and security are dependent on peace. These people do not want to join a hypothetical separatist “Odessa People’s Republic”, understand that their lives would be much, much worse and there would be no business here if the port was under international sanctions. Still those people who say “we don’t want Russian tanks here,” believe that Odessa is Odessa, that is like Hong Kong, an island onto itself. So Babel is their civic religion. Babel is their cult of local history. DN: Yes, I look at the play Maria in particular which was his last great work, which was published and ultimately shut down by the Soviets during dress rehearsals in Moscow. The play is about the revolution itself and is written from the perspective of 1935. That lasting message that I see when I look at all of this is that the revolution never brings the changes that one expects — that it creates an environment of chaos where some horrible things happen, and some great things happen. Down the road, what remains of the original ideals of that revolution can be very hard to find. Revolutions have a lot of unforeseen consequences. That idea is as important today in Ukraine and Russia as it is in the United States, Europe, and Syria. It is a constant struggle of humanity to bring about change, positive change, in a way that is sustainable and not simply reactionary. I think that Babel’s message is an overwhelming warning against tempestuous change. OR: Let’s talk about the new slew of translations of Babel and what you think of the other attempts to bring Babel to the big screen. There have been other documentary films. It feels like a special film and you have captured things that no other person has captured. You have access that no
other documentary filmmaker or director dealing with the material has had. You even have Liev Schreiber voicing the film! You have a wealth of material that even a less talented documentary filmmaker would make something decent with. DN: The hardest part of making a documentary is the editing, because we have to create a narrative that doesn’t exist in a script. Let’s first look at what we captured. So in Andrei’s journey, he comes across myriad people who bring different perspectives to the story of Babel, to the work, but also to his life and what the last years of that life were like and why he made the choices that he made — particularly the choice to not stay in Paris and to return to Moscow. OR: A fatal choice. But in the film, one that is presented as one that would’ve been fatal either way if he had stayed there as a foreign Jew. DN: Gregory (Grisha) Friedin from Stanford university argues very eloquently in the film that he would’ve either been killed by Soviet agents in Paris or that he would’ve ended up in the gas chamber, one way or the other. OR: Without a French passport, he certainly would’ve ended up in the Drancy internment camp. DN: Yes, that’s right. What I discovered going through our footage was that Andrei was exposed to such a vast chorus of voices. The facts of Babel’s life became less and less important to the story-telling of the film. Instead, what Andrei discovered were essences of Babel, essences of the stories, essences of his life, essences of his arrest and execution, essences of the NKVD file. So much information is either missing or contradictory, that it became clear that Babel’s life was and still is an enigma. But the essences of what he was, what he did, and what he wrote about are palpable. Finding Babel became a film of finding essences. I know for the majority for our audiences, they are very satisfied with having that kind of visceral experience rather than a didactic one.
I do know that some of our audiences do say, “But I want more about his life. I want more of the didactic documentary.” You know, there isn’t enough about his life in Odessa. OR: That was in fact the main criticism at the Literary Museum conference from the local scholars. For them there are two Babels. There’s “Red Calvary” Babel and “Our” Babel. Of course, they say that this is a tragic Babel that David chose to make for this film. That’s legitimate and that’s part of the story, but it’s not “our” Babel. It’s not the funny, ironic, quirky Babel from Odessa. They were slightly disaffected. DN: That’s right. One cannot accommodate everything in an hour and a half film. Unfortunately, in terms of this sort of “funny Odessa” Babel, I came away from Odessa without really having that material, the material to truly support that for a number of reasons. OR: Let’s talk about the reception in Moscow and the reception you’ve gotten from English speaking countries. Obviously, you won the jury prize at the Moscow Jewish Film Festival. Congratulations on that. DN: Thank you very much. It was a great honor, particularly coming out of the Moscow Jewish community to receive that prize. And remember that for most of Babel’s writing life, he was in Moscow. OR: That’s right. Looking back, most of the important stories were written elsewhere. Was the reception different in Russia from here in Ukraine? DN: Not at all, I expected it to be different. I was a little nervous actually. Our first showing was in Kyiv at the Molodist Film festival in October, it was very well received and I was thrilled by that. Afterwards I showed the film in Estonia at the Black Nights Film Festival in Tallinn, where it was equally well-received. A few weeks later was the ArtDoc Film Fest in Moscow and I was a little nervous. One has to realize that I filmed these interviews and this journey in 2011 and 2013. The political environment, not only between Russia and Ukraine, but
also between Russia and the US was very different when I filmed the interviews. People said things on camera that they perhaps would not now. I was concerned that it would be a problem for them and also that my usage of those things was never intended to be political because it was done in a different time. While I was editing the film in the US in 2013, we were heading into a great escalation of racial conflict in the US which we are still in the midst of. This is in large part because of our lack of truthful, honest examining of our history of racial relations in the US. This is a problem that’s common to every major civilization that has been.
DN: That’s a great question. So I went and I screened the film at ArtDoc Fest in 2015. At that point, I’m concerned about the conversation and what the ramifications might be. What I find is a sold-out, enthusiastic audience who is so thrilled and thirsty for this conversation that they see it as a validation of the conversations that I’m sure they’re all having at the dinner table. I think “Finding Babel” in Russia is part of a discourse that’s going on every day in Russia, but may be going on privately. Also, It is so exciting that there’s a new translation that will be coming out in the states soon by the great Val Vinokur.
OR: To return to the particulars of the film, Ukrainians are actively looking at the past and it is being done in a very messy way. In some ways, the Ukrainians are dealing with the Soviet past in a totally radical and haphazard way. The archives are open, in fact it’s being done too quickly and in a politicized fashion some would say. Whereas Russia is going in the completely opposite direction and doubling down on the repression of its own historical understanding. The poison in the blood is being thickened as opposed to being drawn out. I’m quite curious, as you had made this film before that process had gone on as far as it had, what do you see in terms of the effect that the film might have had on local (that is Russian) conversations about the history of that moment?
OR: Yes. Our mutual friend Val is doing tremendous work. He wrote a remarkable essay on the history of translation of Babel into English for the first edition of the Odessa Review. It’s a fantastic piece and I’m honored to have had a chance to publish it.
DN: We used his new translations [in the film], he basically reorganized his work schedule to get to the stories that we needed. He would say “Well which ones do you need next?”, and I would tell him. We used his translations and we adapted them for the screen because some translations needed to be adapted for the screen, for the sake of timing and for the sake of legibility of subtitles. I’m very excited that these new translations are coming out. There’s a new translation in French that came out this year also I believe and there is a new translation in Mandarin
that is being done right now. Babel is already in dozens of language and he continues to be translated which is a testament to how relevant he still is internationally. OR: Finally, what is your favorite thing about Odessa? DN: My favorite thing about Odessa is that there a “Joie de Vivre” that I find pretty unique and which I find is also uniquely Odessan when compared with the rest of the former Soviet Union. Maybe because it’s a beach town, a vacation town, a party town, in many ways a very materialistic town, but also a fun town. When I was here in 1993, when Odessa was very impoverished, the only Western store was Benetton and nobody could get anything in it. Everybody was happy and partying then. And it was October, it wasn’t summertime. Live music was everywhere, this place had thriving nightclubs somehow. This impoverished place… It’s that Odessa spirit. I am so honored to have brought “Finding Babel” to Odessa, to have a chance to screen it outdoors for free on the steps for native Odessites. To watch them experience this piece of their cultural heritage particularly in a way that’s different, in a way that may have surprised them. To understand the Babel outside of the “Odessa Stories”, whom they probably might not know. It was my dream from the very beginning that this would have been one of the most important screenings of the film and it has turned out to be so. So I thank the city for having me, I thank the festival for having me. Also thanks to the Literary museum for hosting a conference and to the US Embassy for supporting my travel here. I thank the Odessa Review for conducting this interview and for giving so much attention to Babel since your very first issue. I think it’s important and it’s a great thing. OR: Great, thank you for joining us. It has been a real pleasure to speak with you about Babel.
Festival Diary: The Odessa International Film Festival 2016 By Peter Culshaw The flamboyant British Composer and legendary journalist shares his experiences of the films and events at this year’s OIFF.
With the country embroiled in conflict and a currency crisis The Odessa International Film Festival “The Cannes of the East”, does not have the budget to bring in big stars. Good thing, too — all those paparazzi are so vulgar, darling! In any case, most of those pampered A-listers would have been nervous to go to what they or their advisors would have assumed to be a conflict zone. One has to really admire the Festival’s volunteer fueled enthusiasm — it may be the underdog of all the international Film Fests, but always delivers an enlightening, elegantly organized and hugely enjoyable event.
Happy too was that fact that the Brit element was out in relative force this year - the winner of the festival’s main prize — the Golden Duke — being Chanya Button’s “Burn, Burn, Burn” (which represented a great chance to show off some superb locations as identified by a dying pal’s wish of where his ashes should be scattered). The nearest thing to international legends present this year were also Brits. There was Christopher Hampton who headed up the International Jury (best known for the Oscar winning script for Dangerous Liaisons) and Peter Webber, the suave homme du monde who also got an Oscar nod for his having directing “Girl With A Pearl Earring”. Both of them gave workshops in which they revealed, among other insights, how success often comes from odd accidents.
In Webber’s case, having studied Vermeer at University, he had known enough about the subject to spout knowledgeably at a reproduction on the wall in the reception room of a producer whose original choice for director for “Girl With A Pearl Earring” had just fallen through, and had left his office door open. Webber was there pitching another project. In Hampton’s case, he ended up directing his “Carrington’’ (which was based on the life of the painter Dora Carrington) when the original director had bailed out at the very last moment and no-one else was available — it was literally a case of Hampton buying an ‘Idiot’s Guide On How To Become A Director”. Interesting (and inspiringly for those of us who harbor secret
desires to direct something, someday, somehow) Hampton reckons that it is possible to do a good film with an average director, that is as long as the cameraman, script and editor are first rate. His other golden advice is that for a film to work you need “three great scenes and no bad scenes”. Webber was returning to Odessa after chairing the international jury two years ago. Back then Odessa was more scary — it was the week the Malaysian airliner was shot down over the skies of Ukraine. It was also the moment the rest of the world realized the bare faced brazenness of Russian propaganda about Ukraine (“the plane flew with dead bodies” we were told).
gover boat trip courtesy of playwright Alexandr Mardan on Sunday morning). To their credit, people tried to conversation light, but these days whenever two or three Brits are gathered together the talk turns rapidly and predictably to Brexit. The organizer of the Brexit ‘Leave’ campaign had been heard saying that “truth is for wimps” and this was something to consider while drinking in a country where the techniques of “mixed/ hybrid warfare” against the idea of truth had first been perfected. Indeed, being in the crossfire of the Information wars is something Ukraine is now well used to — it’s striking how one Odessa taxi driver will tell you diametrically opposing views to another of what actually transpired at the Maidan, depending which media they are tuned into. Which is no doubt
One has to to really admire the Festival’s volunteer fueled enthusiasm — with it has become the undisputed underdog of all the international Film Fests, but always delivers an enlightening, elegantly organized and hugely enjoyable event Of course, the notion of the world being “post-truth” in the vogue phrase, also came up over horseradish vodkas in Kompot and the superb Dva Karla Bessarabia Restaurant with the mingling Brit film-makers in downtown Odessa (not to mention a hun-
one reason why the longest queues art OIFF seem to be for the documentaries — people here seem to feel there is going to be at least some semblance of an authentic, genuine voice in such films. The winner of the FIPRESCI Film Critics prize at OIFF for best Ukrainian film “VARTA 1, Lviv, Ukraine” centered on reposting of walkie-talkie communications of a “citizen law enforcement “ group in February 2014 in Kyiv and wrangled with complex ideas about democracy and autonomy.
Sitting through a three hour long German comedy was something you would have had to pay me good money to do in the past, but Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdman” almost came off, even if it went on far too long. For Hampton, myself and Festival Director Julia Sinkevych, not to mention Hampton’s partner the fabulous Vietnamese filmmaker Tiana Alexandra — Silliphant, the revelation of the Festival was Doris Dorrie’s “From Fukushima With Love.” If you had to propose to me a premise that was least likely to be an enjoyable film, it might possibly be that of this film. A German clown goes to work in a camp for displaced persons for victims of the Fukushima earthquake. However, out of scores of films I took in during the festival the one that has remained in the imagination longest, was a moving film about this unlikely relationship — brilliantly shot and edited — and the best actor award was rightly shared between Rosalie Tomas and Kaori Momoi. The Prize for Best Picture went to Adrian Siaru’s “Illegitimate” — with the most discussed thing about this film being its budget of 7000 Euros. A fact which in itself seemed to galvanize those budding film — makers now plotting how to make an award-winning film funded with a few credit cards.
If there was no Ukrainian film with the obvious internationalist appeal and startling originality of Miroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s 2014 classic “The Tribe”, there were a couple of impressive new features. Slaboshpytskiy, incidentally, told me at the Hotel Bristol last year that he had a soft spot for Odessa, as this was the city where he lost his virginity to a local hooker. The word on his new film, “Luxembourg” set in Chernobyl, which sounds like it is some mutant mix of Tarkovsky and hard-boiled film noir, is that it will be shooting this winter — they need some snow, apparently. Although there will be a work in progress showing at the Venice Film Festival. Slaboshpytskiy rather oddly won the best actor prize for his brief role in “My Grandma Fanny Kaplan” (another meditation on Pravda, the paper and
Still, if this year wasn’t the absolute best vintage in local film making, that is partly due to the hiatus in production caused by the events of two years ago. The Work In Progress and Pitching sections, however, over long hours at the Odessa Film Studio suggested that both the number and quality of films coming to us soon will be very impressive. Whether that wave will reach theatre director Vlad Troitsky’s (who also had a part in the Fanny Kaplan film) visions of a really dynamic and totally original cultural space located between “tired, cynical” Europe and authoritarian Russia remains to be seen. But there are good reasons to be optimistic. One of which is the simultaneous wave of new Ukrainian music coming through — one good example being the all female band Panivalkova who
The organizer of the Brexit ‘Leave’ campaign had been heard saying that “truth is for wimps” and this was something to consider while drinking in a country where the techniques of “mixed/hybrid warfare” against the idea of truth had first been perfected the concept — did she or didn’t she attempt to assassinate Lenin?) The film didn’t quite pull of its mix of as-if-for-TV interviews, archive and newly shot material, but the lead actress Kate Molchanova was luminous and should have won the prize over her friend Slaboshpytskiy. The Golden Duke for best Ukrainian film went to Taras Tkachenko’s lively and empathetic “The Nest Of The Turtledove” which brought the problems of the European Union and Ukrainian migrant labour firmly into focus.
appeared at the Mantra nightclub in one of many evening Festival parties. In the recent past, Ukrainian popular music tended to be, however good, mere emulation of reigning Anglo-American models, but this new wave sounds highly original. The prize for the quirkiest and most brilliant performer if would be given would probably have to go to Shefita who flew in from Tel Aviv for The Odessa Review’s party and produced wonderfully arch oriental versions of occidental hits like “Bitter Sweet Symphony”. Bravo to this magazine for bringing her over!
And if there was any thought entertained of a couple of days off immediately after the Festival, people kept showing films in progress. Among these was actress and model Mila Bog’s stylish short film and another being “Molotov Cocktail, a Romeo and Juliet story set at the time of the Maidan (which might be salvageable with the help of a ruthless editor) and Tiana Alexandra — Silliphant’s important documentary “The General and Me” — which was privately screened for a select few in her bedroom at the Bristol — a brilliant, personal portrait of one of the 20th century’s most important military figures — General Vo Nguyen Giap. Every night, too, more music — at the Underpub or other venues. If “the Cannes Of the East” does anything — it opens up possibilities, of imagination, of original views of the world, of empathy. And in a post-Brexit, Putin dominated, pre-Trump world, we need as much of that as we can possibly get.
Peter Culshaw is a composer and writer who has been everywhere and knows everyone. He once got very drunk with Fidel Castro. He is the author of ‘Clandestino: In Search of Manu Chao’
The Seventh Odessa International Film Festival: A Recap By Ulyana Dovgan A film critic recounts the masterpieces, the surprises and the inimitable spirit of the summer’s marquee cultural event. The greatest surprise came from the International Competition Program of the festival. The favorite competitors in the category were the French theatrical film “Ogres” directed by Léa Fehner, and the comedy “Death by Death”, a feature of the Belgian director Xavier Seron, who the jury had declared to be the summer’s best director. The festival jury was headed by British film maker Christopher Hampton who also faced a difficult task when it came to selecting a winner for the Best Picture in the International category. In an unexpected turn of events, the main prize was awarded to Adrian Sitaru’s Romanian drama “Illegitimate”. It is important to note festival president
A month has passed since the Seventh Odessa International Film Festival wrapped up its red carpet. Now, in the wake of the afterparties and in the morning of the post-festival hangover, the time has come to discuss the festival’s victors. Each year, the judges’ task of choosing one film from a series of top-notch works has become increasingly difficult as the number of quality films at the festival has grown — a trend which has made Ukraine’s film goers ecstatic. The audience takes an active part in the event and while the jury’s selection can be puzzling for ordinary viewers, the Grand Prix Golden Duke is based on the audience’s vote and goes to the crowd pleaser picture of the festival. This year the Grand Prix was awarded to the British comedy drama “Burn Burn Burn”, directed by Chanya Button.
ed by Charles Redon. The Special mention by the jury in the European Documentary Competition was awarded to the Russian film “My Friend, Boris Nemtsov”, a feisty if flawed biographical work about the assassinated politician directed by Zosya Rodkevich. OIFF’s attendees had the opportunity to view the best works presented at Cannes, Venice and Berlinale. The non-competition Gala Premieres and Festival of Festivals categories of 2016 OIFF presented feature films such as “The Neon Demon” directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, “Julieta” by Pedro Almodóvar, “I, Daniel Blake” directed by Ken Loach and Woody Allen’s new film “Café Society”.
The International Competition Program featured films from Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Poland, Greece, Quatar and elsewhere Viktoria Tigipko’s announcement that the number of pictures presented at the festival has risen by fourteen percent since last year. The International Competition Program featured films from Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Poland, Greece, Quatar and elsewhere. New programs such as the Serial Competition section and one dealing with European documentaries were introduced this year. The Golden Duke for Best European Documentary went to the French feature film “In California”, direct-
In addition to allowing Odessans the opportunity to see films from the most talented world directors, one of the key purposes of OIFF is to support projects of young and promising Ukrainian filmmakers. This year, a shortened version of the patriotic film “Kholodny Yar. Intro”, directed by Alina Gorlova was presented in both the Nation-
al Competition Program and the European Documentary Competition. The special interest of the film is in the extraordinarily beautiful camerawork of Aleksey Kuchma, Vyacheslav Tsvietkov, and Tetiana Dudnik.
of the winner of the National Competition, The Nest of the Turtledove, took place at the festival. The support of the State Agency of Ukraine for Film Industry allowed the film to be completed. That feature starred
Ukraine is producing more and more notable works and the interest of industry greats such as directors Christopher Hampton, Peter Webber, Darren Aronofsky, Uberto Pasolini, Alex Ross Perry and others in the Odessa International Film Festival speaks volumes for the unbounded potential of Ukrainian cinematography The filmmakers plan to finalize the film and present it at other international film festivals. It is worth adding that the film was shot with the support of the State Agency of Ukraine for the Film Industry. Following in the footsteps of the greatest international festivals, the 2016 OIFF National Competition Program presented both documentary works and feature films. The prize for Best Picture was presented to The Nest of the Turtledove, directed by Taras Tkachenko, who had also earned the Work In Progress award at OIFF in 2014. The documentary film Varta 1, Lviv, Ukraine, directed by Iurii Hrytsyna, received praise from the International Federation of Film Critics and along with it the FIPRESCI Award. The film shines a light on the events following in the wake of the “Night of Fury” which took place in Ukraine on February 18th and and 19th of 2014. The Odessa International Film Festival accurately reflects the state of affairs in Ukrainian cinematography and allows the local film industry to reach new heights by becoming a platform for first premieres of new national works. In fact, this year, the world premiere
Ukrainian actors Rymma Ziubina and Vitaly Linetsky. Unfortunately, Linetsky tragically died in July of 2014 and this was his last picture, becoming a posthumous monument to the talented actor. It also starred Italian actress Lina Bernardi who is famous for her work with Federico Fellini. Ukraine is producing more and more notable works and the interest of industry greats such as directors Christopher Hampton, Peter Webber, Darren Aronofsky, Uberto Pasolini, Alex Ross Perry and in the Odessa International Film Festival speaks volumes for the unbounded potential of Ukrainian cinematography. Within framework of a growing world awareness, this year’s festival offered a series of presentations like Work in Progress and Digital Media Day for the promotion of Ukrainian films on the world market, securing international distributors and partners for future projects, and introducing new technologies and trends in the field of cinema.
The films of the Competition Programs of 2016 OIFF portray unique perspectives on a particular subjects. Contemporary cinematographers grapple with social norms, explore human nature and muse upon the essence of happiness. They struggle to understand our inner fears and to locate their causes through improvisation and the enlistment of non-professional actors, providing a fresh perspective and interpretation of the human experience. In this context, humor is often offered as an antidepressant of sorts and serves as a remedy to adversity. Moreover, filmmakers are immersed in the most profound concerns facing contemporary society. Through their work, they attempt to shine a light on the issues consistently plaguing developing countries: from natural disasters and war to humanity’s infinte capacity for patriotism, spirituality and sacrifice. A much loved aspect of the festival is the annual open air screening taking place on Odessa’s famed Potemkin Stairs, said to be the largest mass film viewing in Europe. This year’s feature was the 1916 silent film Sherlock Holmes, presented along with the musical accompaniment of the classic film composer Donald Sosin. The thrill of the festival fills the Odessa air for nine incredible days during which it feels like the whole city is suffused with the spirit of great cinema. And while each year is different, the 2016 OIFF has been one of the most spectacular yet. Fortunately for us impatient film lovers, the dates of the 2017 OIFF have already been announced.
Ulyana Dovgan is a journalist living in Odessa.
Two Reviews: Best Album And Best Film Of The Summer by Katya Maslova
The Getaway by Red Hot Chili Peppers This summer, the Red Hot Chili Peppers surprised and delighted their Ukrainian fans with the first major international concert to take place in Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict with Russia in 2014. Before the band came on stage at the Olympiskiy Stadium, the eagerness and the giddy atmosphere in the audience were palpable. To fans’ disappointment, many well-known bands had cancelled their stops in Kyiv in 2014 (including Aerosmith, Peter Gabriel, and The National), with one worthy exception, Thirty Seconds to Mars, who performed shows in 2014 and 2015.
It’s worth saying that local and regional musicians consistently held concerts in the country throughout the political turmoil. For foreign bands, however, the economics of touring here have played a pivotal role. Many Western European and North American musicians do not see Ukraine as a financially viable venue for playing shows: touring here is less attractive because of the
lower level of profit a band could generate. The relatively inexpensive tickets, the general decline of the Hryvna against the US dollar and Euro when coupled with political turmoil (which mean skyrocketing insurance costs) makes the country unsuitable for bringing in big acts. Thus, even more than usual, the fans at the summer Chili Peppers concert were genuinely excited and very expressive of their gratitude.
The album signifies an important transition away from their long-time producer, Rick Rubin, who is known for having molded the band’s talent into what it is today Of course, the setlist included hits such as “Scar Tissue”, “Californication”, “Dani California”, and “Can’t Stop”. My favorite moment at every Chili Pepper show is when every member of the audience cries out the lyrics to “Under the Bridge” in unison, reaffirming the song’s long-lasting influence and genuine emotion. Besides playing the well-known favorites, Red Hot Chili Peppers are currently touring to promote their highly anticipated new album, “The Getaway”. The band performed 4 tracks from the Deadmau5 produced album. The album signifies an important transition away from
their long-time producer, Rick Rubin, who is known for having molded the band’s talent into what it is today. So far the album has gotten mixed reviews — some praise it for being a complete evolution into a more sophisticated sound, with others claiming that the band members seem to be stuck in the same tropes that they have tinkered with for decades. I believe that the tracks on the album merit both readings. Guitarist Klinghoffer, who joined the band in 2011, seems to have become more self-conscious and has developed a more solidified sound in this album compared to his previous work
on 2011’s “I’m With You”. This maturation can be easily noted on tracks such as “Detroit” and “Feasting on Flowers”. The only new trope that I identify on this new album is lead singer Kiedis’ lyrical and vocal style. However, the Chili Peppers wouldn’t be the same without his lovely whine. Whether performing old hits or new compositions, I’m consistently delighted with the Chili Peppers’ live shows. They are an incredibly famous band who still seem to genuinely enjoy the symbiotic relationship with their fans. Their willingness to work where the fans are, rather than where money and political stability are to be found, continues to excite me and other fans. They won’t stay away from Ukraine for too long, and hopefully their good example will inspire other musicians to bring their talent back here.
Greetings From Fukushima directed by Doris Dorrie International aid work for impoverished or disaster-ridden areas is very popular; so popular it has essentially become its own vacation industry — “voluntourism”. Every year, thousands of people fly thousands of miles in order to “improve” a community that they might not know much about. Granted, there
A festival favorite that garnered a lot of applause, “Greetings From Fukushima” will enjoy further success with its passionate actors and aesthetics are fantastic non-profits and agencies, such as the Peace Corps in the US, sending people who are well-equipped in areas of their specialties. But the German movie “Greetings From Fukushima” isn’t about this latter type of volunteer. This film, directed by Doris Dörrie, is about Marie (Rosalie Thomass), a young woman who is incredibly sensitive and is escaping her reality at home. She joins a group called Clowns4Help and travels to Fukushima, Japan to entertain the 2011 nuclear disaster survivors — already an interesting prospect in itself. Marie fails miserably at entertaining the refugees, quickly realizing that she made an irrational decision in coming to Japan. She also manages to facilitate the escape
of elderly Satomi (Kaori Momoi) from the refugee shelter back to her house which is located in the radioactive Exclusion Zone. Further confused and ashamed, she decides to not leave and instead helps the elderly Japanese lady repair her damaged home. The two have a complicated and humorous relationship that is facilitated by their mutual broken English. Satomi, being the last geisha of Fukushima, is quite graceful and scolds the tall Marie for being a “clumsy elephant”. Marie does not take offense to these insults and instead becomes a kind of a geisha apprentice under Satomi.
Katya Maslova is an Assistant Editor at The Odessa Review.
Odessa’s “Invogue” Gallery Opens With An Exhibition Of Stepan Ryabchenko’s Digital Paintings by Ute Kilter The DELPHINIUM flower is the star of the “Honey Plants” exhibition poster — a very common Ukrainian field flower with a powerful honey fragrance much like the similar EREMUS — a fragrance so strong that bees are known to fly into apartments where the flowers are present. The exhibit itself contains five large-scale (3x5 meters) digital paintings.
The author is Stepan Ryabchenko. Ryabchenko is the son of painter Vassily Ryabchenko and the grandson of famous graphic artist Sergey Ryabchenko, and started out as a successful architecture student before turning to painting himself — with a digital twist. I first saw his enormous works in the Ukrainian National Museum of Art in Kyiv. It was a digital work created with the aid of computer editing, and to be honest, I must admit that at the time the works struck me as somewhat unfinished and even uninteresting. I even thought to myself, “…is this the famous Vassily’s grandson?” However, I would soon spot his name in the Forbes 01 / Appearance 02 / Radar 03 / Zelenostup Drevovidny
magazine 2015 “30 Succesful Ukrainians Under 30” list, and later discover that his works were displayed in two Saatchi Gallery exhibitions (Contemporary Ukrainian Artists / Saatchi Gallery, London, United Kingdom, and Premonition: Ukrainian Art Now / Saatchi Gallery, London, United Kingdom, 2014, 2013), as well as twice in the USA (Long Path to Freedom / Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Chicago, USA, 2014 and New Perspectives: 8 Contemporary Artists from Ukraine / Ukrainian Institute of America, New York, USA, 2015). On top of this, Ryabchenko is a laureate of the “Kyiv Sculpture Project” International Contemporary Sculpture Competition. These revelations led me to realize that perhaps I was drastically underestimating digital art as a field and Ryabchenko’s work specifically. Katya Taylor, the Ukrainian curator who organized Ryabchenko’s exhibit at “Invogue” (located right in the center of Odessa), provided her expertise to help me (and anyone else who may have felt the same way) dispel my preconceptions about the medium. As soon as I saw the works presented in the current exhibition, my prejudices against digital art faded away. This was truly great, bright, vivid and attractive art. I most definitely did not doubt Ryabchenko’s creative lineage anymore — despite being created digitally and not with a brush or pencil, the works showed true graphical refinement. The quality of the exhibited works left no doubt in my mind — the digital medium can produce true works of art. The Honey Plants reveal their own stories as the viewer wanders through their mysterious virtual world. The canvas titled “Zelenostup Drevovidny” stood out to me — the image seems alive with expression, dimensionality, even movement; its depth makes it take on a life of its own; and this truly causes the virtual dimension of the works to resonate with the ecological themes of our own, real world. Presented alongside the works are texts describing the story of each one of the “object” — creatures, which only make their virtual presence more real. The swirls of vivid neon colors tell the story of a future where the digital blends with the real, a lush forest-paradise on earth, but can there be a paradise on earth in the midst of war? Stepan affirms that one of his aims was to get across this difficult
time in Ukrainian history, when war is raging, people are angry, stressed, confused; and chaos reigns. He says he wanted to change the situation, affect the status quo, provide some sort of positive impulse — but everything began with the theme of computer viruses… Stepan Ryabchenko enlightens me: “In the cyber-world, a virus can be visualized, given some sort of corporeality. The idea is to visualize something that, technically, does not exist — like in the movie “Predator”, they could not battle the creature until they were able to see it. In my mind, this idea became somewhat romantic, even beautiful…the transition from viruses to flowers came naturally, as the continuation of this “virtual story”. Today, you can “paint” an amazingly refined, detailed image without ever picking up a brush; and there are many more creative options — animation, sculpting, 3D imaging — you can bring your work from the digital world into the real one”. One such example of art migrating from the digital to the real is Ryabchenko’s sculpture “Pillar of Fire”, which became the winner of the Ukrainian National Sculpture Competition. ABOUT The Artist: Stepan Ryabchenko came to contemporary art through architecture. In his bold and vibrant projects, the artist “plays” with space, transforming it and designing new environments. Means of making digital images are at the same time tools for creating a virtual world and a reflection on the “virtualization” of existing reality. In his various installations, sculptures and pictures Stepan Ryabchenko tells a large-scale and ambitious story of virtual reality with its ideas, heroes and mythology. The focus of his work is on the interaction between the new media and classic visual art traditions, the boundary between real life and the virtual world, and the new nature of art.
Ute Kilter is an art critic.
Anarchist Political Art Lecture Ends In Non-Political Violence By Vladislav Davidzon The infamous Russian dissident and conceptual artist Petr Pavlensky gave a sensational lecture on violent political art. The evening ended with a tragic and lethal brawl after a drunken writer waved a knife around.
01 / Petr Pavlensky cuts off part of his right earlobe with a large
kitchen knife at the Serbsky psychiatric center in Moscow to protest usage of psychiatric institutions against dissidents. Maxim Zmeyev/Reuters. 02 / Petr Pavlensky burning door of Lubyanka prison
in Moscow. 03 / Petr Pavlensky in court after being sentenced.
Russia’s best known contemporary artist arrived to deliver a lecture to an overfilled hall in Odessa’s Impact Hub on Friday night. He was ascetic, strikingly skeletal, possessed of an undeniable dignity and bearing. Hundreds of people excitedly packed the lecture hall, this was widely expected to be the event of the summer. Petr Pavlensky was newly freed from a Russian prison cell in the wake of becoming a dissident cause célèbre for having set the doors of Moscow’s infamous Lubyanka prison on fire. The lecture’s title was a double entendre that translated roughly as the “usage of a person” or the “consumption of people”, hinting broadly
at the theme of mechanized cannibalism. However fittingly, this electrifying lecture calling for wide scale resistance to tyranny and the everyday deployment of the mechanisms of social oppression, concluded in violence. Somewhere, one can imagine Mayakovsky smiling. The artist spoke rapidly, in fully formed declarative sentences weighted with the moral fervor of a mystic or fanatic — and also marked by the sort of saintly simplicity that is borne of being utterly unplagued by internal doubts. As he spoke, Pavlensky quickly flipped through a power point presentation of woodcut prints of medieval tortures, gruesome pictures of Russian prison, images of his actions and documentation from his various court pro-
ceedings. He explained the connections between state methods of control and that of the bureaucratic act of naming; the “Panopticon”; and the mobilization of medicine for both the naming of our pathologies and the pathologizing of our names. The state has manifold resources and limitless funds to harness the individual with administrative, legal, political, military regimes under its control. Judges, lawyers, clerks, the police are all cogs in an overlapping system of total control. Yet, as unapologetically theoretical as the lecture had been (“the system of prisons works on the semantic level” ) it was also an exercise in the practical application of the discourse of Foucauldian theory to the fight against the Russian state. Pavlovsky explained that his political provocations were meant to elicit a response from the system and to forge artifacts of political documentation of its nature. Being a Russian revolutionary, it was not more than ten minutes into the lecture before he asked the audience “what is to be done?” Pavlensky’s own un-
the state”. These included twine (with which he had sown shut his mouth), a blade (with which he had sliced himself), a large nail (which he had used to nail his scrotum to the cobble stones of the Red Square) and a canister of gas (used in the Lubyanka incident). The men in the audience emitted a collective groan when the close up image of his genitals with a nail driven through them flashed onscreen. The Lubyanka action had been his most successful work yet, he posited, as the state had collaborated in the creation of the work by creating numerous legal texts and documentation for his trial. The audience applauded loudly after the security camera clip from the FSB building inferno was screened. An hour long discussion of aestheticised violence concluded with the Question and Answer period, which is when the problems began in earnest. Alexander Roytburd,
As he spoke, Pavlensky quickly flipped through a power point presentation of woodcut prints of medieval tortures, gruesome pictures of Russian prison, images of his actions and documentation from his various court proceedings compromising reply to a state that he views as categorically totalitarian is to literalize the usually figurative academic trope of the “inscription of violence upon the body”. Powerless, and bereft of the usual recourses against state power enjoyed by citizens in a liberal democratic polity, he would demonstrate the true nature of the system by committing violent acts upon his own flesh and daring the system in turn to destroy his body. The politics were unambiguously anarchist. He called on the audience to take responsibility for fighting the repressive state unto themselves standing up to the cannibalism of bureaucracy. “So what are my tools?’’ he inquired majestically of the audience before showing us photos of “ordinary and readily available weapons to be deployed against 03
and Roytburd. Vladimir Nestrenko is a well known character in Odessa’s ‘marginal’ underground and art worlds. The question of whether he was merely a drunken lunatic or rather an inspired literal interpreter of anarchist doctrine will doubtless soon be determined by the coercive juridico-bureaucratic structures of the oppressive state apparatus.
Mr. Nestrenko waved his arms and made numerous attempts to disrupt the question and answer portion of the lecture.These efforts increased during the portion that dealt with the difference between Pavlensky’s ideas of artist political violence and that of 90’s style “Actionism” one of Ukraine’s best known painters and a prominent voice on the Maidan moderated the evening with probing questions about the difference between rhetorical anarchism and the proper boundaries of art. The futurist free radical who would be the one to tip the lecture over from the realm of theory into practice was a friend of Pavlensky
04 / Petr Pavlensky being released from jail.
A film script writer and sometime journalist, he is known to have worked on some important films and art projects in previous decades. Visibly agitated and inebriated when he arrived, when we were first introduced by mutual acquaintances at the door he had greeted me with a handshake accompanied by aggressive and lewd gestures. He would continue to publicly consume large quantities of Cognac throughout the course of the lecture. Mr. Nestrenko waved his arms and made numerous attempts to
disrupt the question and answer portion of the lecture.These efforts increased during the portion that dealt with the difference between Pavlensky’s ideas of artist political violence and that of 90’s style “Actionism” (which in its post-Soviet variant was an art movement with Odessa roots). Roytburd made several tactful attempts to quiet his friend down, but at a certain point, multiple incensed voices from the audience began to refer to him as a “provocateur!” Two security guards moved in and attempted to escort the now out of control Mr. Nestrenko from the premise. At which point he initiated a melee and began to throttle them. A crowd of bearded hipsters, artists and Nestrenko’s own friends knocked him to the floor. After being separated from the guards, Nestrenko stood up and produced a knife, assaulting one of the guards, who suffered cuts to his arm and hand. Pavlensky, Roytburd and several others then proceeded to bundle their belligerent friend out of the conference hall and fled. The wounded security guard left a trail of splattered blood all along the floor and down the staircase on his way out. The police made no arrests on the premises. In a bizarre and tragic addendum to the story, the second security guard, the one who had not been hurt in the altercation was reported by local television to have suffered a fatal heart attack in the back of a police vehicle immediately after the incident.
Vladislav Davidzon is Editor in Chief of The Odessa Review
The Scent Of Romance: Four Tales Of Love In Odessa By Anna Nemtsova
One of the most respected journalists on Ukraine and Russian recounts four stories of romance in the city.
I. It was a foggy salty morning in Odessa. The long, skinny necks of the cranes seemed to be sleepy in the gray mist that wafted in from over the port. As every day between 6 and 7 am, Boris Khodorkovsky was zooming past the Opera House, down the cobblestoned streets of the still quiet town. He dashed along the boulevard, the Quarantine Wall, across the Shevchenko Park towards the Lanzheron beach. As he ran Bach’s music in his ear-phones. The usual prize for an hour of jogging was a waiting for him on the beach: a refreshing swim. The daily exercise made Khodorkovsky, a CEO and a communication expert, feel good — it calmed his thoughts and his body grew slimmer and healthier by the day. But on that particular morning something stopped Khodorkovsky in the middle of his routine. He turned off the player to listen to the birds singing; the sea lay ahead under a thick blanket of the fog — he
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was alone on his path in the park. To take in that moment, he breathed deeply and inhaled the wet air. He felt it to be so clean and “juicy that it almost knocked him out when it” entered his head. He listened carefully to Odessa’s own music and to its aroma — since an early age he had always been sensitive to smells. Boris looked up at the tops of
orful barges emerged in the first glimpse of daylight. He could tell there was something new about the scent in the breeze and it was one of profound distraction. Khodorkovsky allowed himself to be distracted and to open a new door; he changed his mind about the swim and made a phone call to his long time friend Inna, who lived close to Shevchenko park. In the four decades of his life he had changed his own ports several times, first moving from Russia to Israel with his parents as a teenager, and afterward to Montreal in Canada, where he trained as a saxophonist and flutist at McGill University. After that he had returned to the
The city was waking up behind his shoulders, and the scen-ery of the Black Sea was changing quickly against the milky soft sky the tallest trees in the park, as their crowns faded in the thick fog above him. In peaceful moments of solitude, Khodorkovsky, a skillful saxophonist and flutist felt inspired and tempted to compose music dedicated to Odessa. The city was waking up behind his shoulders, and the scenery of the Black Sea was changing quickly against the milky soft sky; the silhouette of a few col-
continent in which he had been born to attend one of Russia’s best programs in IT technology at the Bauman Moscow State Technical University. But in the back of his mind he always belonged to the city of his very first passionate love, where his kind grandma had waited for him every summer. Inna agreed to meet him. “There she was walking out to see me, simple but gorgeous — when I moved here from Canada, I immediately noticed that Odessan women knew the secret of that gorgeous look; her hair was soft, she had a pure morning look of transparent eyes and wore a scent of freshness,” told me, trying not to miss any details. “I kissed her then for the first time and said to my own and to her amazement: “I love you”, his eyes growing wet when he reached that point. Always a planner, and a well-organized manager, as well as somebody who had been burned several times by unrequited love, Khodorkovsky did not intend to throw any meaningless words
into the cold salty wind. Yet, what he felt in that moment was a lightning bolt that split him down to his heart, leaving him lost in Inna’s arms, with his heart split open. “Boria, are you serious?” Inna exclaimed, carried away by a ludicrous moment, she felt herself falling in love, too and into her own long-hoped for happiness. Looking back at that not so distant morning, Khodorkovsky struggled to understand what it was exactly that had driven him insane with feelings of indescribable passion. Was it Bach’s music in his ears as it was rendered by his beloved Stuttgart Symphony Orchestra? Or was it the unknown aroma in the fog or the scent of Inna’s hair? He had suspected that it was Odessa her-self, who had stopped him in the midst of his run and pushed him to enter a new stage in his life, where now both him and Inna were endlessly happy. Boris knew Odessa well and loved to show visitors around his adopted home. Once on Gogol street he introduced me to Odessa’s pride — to the her famed “dvoriki” — the old and very colorful courtyards covered in ivory, with sky criss-crossed in ropes stretching from tree to tree with the laundry drying on them and told me: “Blind me with your scarf and walk me around, I will find my grandmother’s porch and staircase by smell.” As a boy he had spent every summer in
Odessa at his grandmother’s house on Checherina, (formerly known as Uspenska), where his little neighbor Natasha, a serious girl with a long blond braid, drove him to tears with a few cruel words: “I do not love you.”
Ukrainska Pravda fell in love in Odessa on her most recent visit. The last couple of years turned out to be full of changes for the young journalist. In 2013 Sergatskova moved from Crimea to Kyiv and renounced her Russian citizenship. In the following year President Petro Poroshenko personally
Odessa had been built by French and Italian architects and before the October revolution people from all over the world had visited the port city on the Black Sea II. Colorful flowers are in full bloom in Odessa during the waning days of autumn, and these are the days that laughter can be over heard emanating from the buzzing open verandas lining Deribasovska street. In these painful times for Ukraine, Odessa has become a rehabilitation resort for many people, including some of it’s the journalists. Yekaterina Sergatskova, a presenter at the Hramadske television channel and a contributor for
granted the journalist her Ukrainian citizenship. In spite of threats over social media, Sergatskova, a single mom of a beautiful baby boy, continued to cover both sides of the front lines in Eastern Ukraine. She was considered by many to be one of the most professional investigative journalists working in Ukraine. Considering the avalanche of dark, sad news that she had covered over the last two
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years, Sergatskova could not wait to see the sea, and was carefully harboring the sumptuous memories of every happy moment that she had experienced here with a young man that she loved here. “We like to sit in Kompot or on the veranda of the Tavernetta” she explained, mentioning the names of two popular Odessa restaurants. “To breath in the wine, the sea air, the smells of summer. To savor the tasty food and to feel each other while letting all the world’s troubles fall away”. Sergatskova told me about her most recent trip to Odessa last week. “When I slow down and let myself be happy, I feel how deeply I am in love, Odessa’s aromas intoxicate us, they help us to relax”. III. For the last two centuries historians have kept a running track of the innumerable victims of love that this bewitching city has claimed. “Aromas of Odessa, especially of acacias in full bloom have always attracted and overwhelmed many wonderfully romantic celebrities,” an expert at the Odessa Literature Museum, Yelena Karakina explained to me. Karakina was a long time expert in the realm of the intimate feelings aroused by Odessa — for several years had been the host
that I had experience in my crazy love story in Odessa” he explained. Diederick had been born in Durban, another coastal city thousands of miles away from Ukraine. Yet he felt at home in the Black Sea resort town. “It was a magical year, for both me and my partner, a Ukrainian dentist — we shared powerful mutual feelings, inspired by the beauty of Odessa; but later as our euphoria died away we began facing the reality of the past and the future.” In spite of the unhappy ending to the affair Diederick continued to enjoy his happy memories of the romantic time he had spent around the Arkadia night clubs. “I recommend to everyone, listen to the old Yiddish “Odessa Mama” song, “I miss you for ever,” he would recall “every visitor from Lebanon, from Moscow, from Africa or America — we are all welcomed by Odessa Mama”.
of a television show named after a quote taken from Alexander Pushkin’s poem: “Let’s talk about the strangeness of love.” For historical reasons, this had been a particularly Odessa past time. In 1823 Pushkin fell in love here in and “shamelessly courted” Yelizaveta Vorontsova, the wife of Odessa’s governor, Count Vorontsov. Karakina explained to me that “myriad other great writers such as Alexader Kuprin, Valentin Katayev and Yuriy Olesha had romances here, too.” Odessa had been built by French and Italian architects and before the October revolution people from all over the world had visited the port city on the Black Sea. So the story repeats itself: as ever, foreign travelers are entrapped by Odessa’s ample charm. Stuart Diedericks was from South Africa, a managing Director at the Feroinvest Group Ukraine. “The euphoria of Odessa was what caused the sweet pain
IV. In the summer of 2000 Anna Chernobrodskaya, a prominent local event manager and director of the concert hall in Odessa’s port, organized a ‘wedding of the millennium’ for 20 couples, each of whom represented a prominent local ethnic group of one of Odessa’s many diasporas. “Odessa blessed our project, that we would like to renew today; just imagine: Jewish, Moldovan, Ukrainian, Russian, Hungarian, Roma and other ethnic communities were there — grandparents and children came to see our gorgeous couples being married in the Opera House, while our artists let 1,500 golden and white balloons into the sky; and later, the newly married couples sailed away on a beautiful white ship for their honey moon cruise.”
Chernobrodskaya, is an authentic citizen of Odessa and so adored romance and weddings. She also had a rare talent for turning every party into a festival. In a few weeks Chernobrokskaya was to attend one more celebration of love, a most beautiful wedding organized at the Londonskaya hotel, one of the oldest hotels in Odessa and the one most steeped in literary history. The playwright Anton Chekhov stayed there once and Odessa Mama’s cupids had not skipped over Checkhov’s heart while doing their work. The writer had a brief but fiery affair with a large-eyed ballerina and drama actress named Glafira Panova. The romance did not develop into anything serious but his visit to Odessa marked a special place in Chekhov’s heart.
Anna Nemtsova is a correspondent for Newsweek and The Daily Beast based in Moscow. Her work has also appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Marie Claire, and The Guardian. She is the winner of the 2012 Persephone Miel Fellowship and a 2015 recipient of the IWMF Courage in Journalism award.
A Date With Odessa, Back From Berlin by Iryna Kyporenko A profile of Odessa born, Berlin based artist Tatiana Sklyar, whose darkly imaginative artisan jewelry has a cult following with collectors all over Europe. Upon Tatyana’s arrival this summer, she immediately noticed a mystical coincidence. She was staying with friends in a house at the corner of Deribasovskaya and Yekaterininskaya, with the windows of her bedroom looking out at the roof across the street onto the place where her studio once was. This was right above the restaurant “Bratislava”. She recalled that in the attic of the five-story house, she felt as if she was in heaven. No rush, no hassle, just 5 meter high ceilings and creativity. There was complete silence there, and as soon as one went downstairs the noise and the traffic horror of the center of the city. But she always preferred to ignore that kind of thing… Returning to one’s home after many years is much like being on a romantic date after a long, long separation. Not that she
Tatiana admits that she is unable to cook two liters of borscht, and that the effort once taken, always comes out to eight — and so it was with the jewelry It is a well known story in Odessa — a talented artist leaves the city and carries the creativity it imparts to distant lands and foreign triumphs. A sentimental, nostalgic story, as old as the city itself but also very much a hopeful and proud one. Especially since Odessa never lets her children go completely. Sooner or later, they all return here, to rekindle their inspiration, to share their stories and reclaim their roots.
Tatiana Sklyar, a well known avant garde artist and jewelry maker now living in Germany, graduated from the Grekov Odessa Art school. She initially worked at the famous Odessa Film Studio, but has since conquered Moscow and is gaining popularity in Europe. Tatiana had not visited Odessa for 6 years. Finally for her, as for so many of the artistic Odessa diaspora the world over, the time had come to return and to muse about her journey.
could ever forget this city, which was in her blood. She still remembers every brick, the streets are as beautiful as ever, not diminished by the dilapidated houses and the broken roads. And yet… she understands that a permanent return to Odessa is possible only in thought, and impossible in reality. She admits that she is afraid to come here, because she becomes nostalgic, because Odessa is her soul. Incidentally the most Odessan thing about her is her sense of humor: Sklyar is wickedly funny and one should probably tremble at the thought of being in the path of her barbed bon mots.
In Soviet times, Sklyar worked at the Odessa Film Studio as an assistant artist, and was engaged in every artistic activity that one can imagine in film production, although she was actually trained as a make-up artist. Her first film was “The Trust That Went Bust,” based on a story by O. Henry. Tatiana had just turned 18 years old. She remembers the two years of filming as a period of absolute happiness. All props were made by hand, first prints, copies of American advertisements, the fake dollars that hung drying on ropes all over the studio. They had to work around the clock, on weekends and received the paltry total of 70 rubles per month. But then, they were all young, happy and healthy. Then came the 90’s and everything changed dramatically. The society turned pessimistic, and many people left. Tatyana had to leave Odessa in 1995. There was no work and the film studio was nearly closing down as the film production had essentially ceased. Tatiana was already 30 years old by this time and realized that it was about time to start a family and make decisions about her
future. Her husband and his parents had permission to travel abroad and they took advantage of it. Thoughts of emigration first occurred to Tatiana in 1989, when she was able to live for six months in Amsterdam at a friend’s apartment. Back then she decided that she would emigrate only when she got married, although not staying in the Netherlands when she had the opportunity to do so was akin to madness. Soon after moving to Berlin, she had a son, but still did not have her own studio. She began to paint and make collages. One day at a local flea market, she met a woman selling all kinds of junk: broken china, tableware pieces, antique toys, decorative items. Perhaps she had excavated them somewhere, or picked them up around old estate buildings. In any case, Tatiana was inspired and excited by these treasures. First, she created collages and art objects out of decorative details, dolls hands, animal figurine fragments. But she was also drawn to fashion all her life and the collages turned into jewelry. At first, these were made for her personal use, but soon they grew into entire collections.
Tatiana admits that she is unable to cook two liters of borscht, and that the effort once taken, always comes out to eight — and so it was with the jewelry. She would always make more than she planned. She first began selling her creations in a Moscow salon, then, when things went well and she had become a legend in certain circles, with rabid interest in her pieces coming from a set of dedicated collectors, she began to produce collections continuously, one after another. For seven years, she worked actively and had exhibitions in Moscow four times a year. Now she is beginning to conquer Europe, little by little. There was a jewelry exhibition in Paris and another in an ancient castle in Barcelona where she and ten other artists staged the showing in the style of a magnificent banquet. This was followed by solo exhibitions in Frankfurt and Leipzig. Tatiana says that creative work for her is a form of exercise. She loves to complicate things. The more ascetic the set of fragments, the more interesting she finds the process. She can stop making jewelry for 3 or 4 months to work in a German company for example, or to work on the aqua makeup for children’s parties, style photo shoots or work on costumes. But then something inside of her always compels her to return to the jewelry all the same. Though she does not herself refer to her creations as jewelry — to her, they are objects d’art: meant to be worn and lived with. It is no surprise that she still thinks of herself as an artist rather than a Jeweler. She has had fielded suggestions to replicate and mass produce the work, but she is not interested as she values the freedom to apply her creativity anywhere that the inspiration strikes her, and fears the mechanization of the process would bring unwanted complications to the results. All the works are one of a kind, and the avant garde spirit of the film studio of long ago, refuses to be constrained by the boundaries of commercialism or geography. And that, regardless of her place of permanent residence, is what makes her a true Odessan artist. Iryna Kyporenko is a journalist who lives in Odessa
Across Africa In 178 days: A Cycling Adventure By Volodymyr Gutsol Africa is a place that can appear both exciting and slightly intimidating for cyclists planning a bike tour, but it can also turn out to be exceptionally rewarding. Keen Odessan traveler Ruslan Verin cycled across Africa in 178 days, steering his bike for 10,445 kilometers, weaving his way through many countries and learning about their many exotic customs, cultures and ways of life. Verin spoke with The Odessa Review about his adventures on the faraway and amazing African continent.
OR: What did you find to be most surprising and memorable? RV: Everything! Especially everything that had to do with my search for the Equator. I was cycling and looking for it for about three hours until I found a special signboard. The Kenyans who worked in the surrounding fields, watched open mouthed as I did a photo- session with it! I was also very much surprised by the African terrain. There are many highways, and it is crazy how the road goes up and down all the time, you can rarely find any flat land. OR: Did you get to see many African animals? RV: Yes, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve seen scorpions, wild dogs, hyenas, monitor lizards, jackals, all kinds of snakes. Car drivers were constantly trying to pass herds of elephants or other animals as quickly as possible. On the other hand, I was passing animal herds slowly, and they were running away from me! Wild animals in Africa are amazing! When I first saw giraffes at sunset, I felt a second wind kick in. I would have followed them all night long! OR: Did you manage to catch any unusual or exotic diseases?
At the equator, the sun is down by 7.00 pm and there is no electricity, so imagine the night: moon, bright stars, black palm trees, and wild animal sounds right in the back yardâ&#x20AC;Ś Odessa Review (Volodymir Gutsol): Ruslan, what was the purpose of your trip? Ruslan Verin: The initial primary goal was to reach Cape Agulhas, which is the geographic southern tip of the African continent. I got to
within 1300 kilometers of it, but did not reach it because I could not obtain a Zambian visa in advance. I also planned my route in such a way that I would be able to see as many amazing and remarkable places as possible, such as the Dead Sea, the Nile, Lake Victoria and Victoria Falls.
RV: Thankfully, not! Before I set out on my African bike tour, I was vaccinated against yellow fever. In order to avoid the bites of the anopheles mosquitoes I would hide in the tent as soon as it was getting dark. There was a stretch of road where I was attacked by tsetse
Before I left for Africa, people from our village Kubey attached a small flag of Ukraine to my bike and I cycled with it the whole way. Upon my return, they staged a large celebration in my honor. It touched me so much that I presented my bicycle as a gift to the local museum flies. Funnily enough, a local guy was walking along wearing practically nothing, and the flies did not bother him at all. I was forced to speed up, though. I don’t know why these flies liked me so much. I did get food poisoning two times. One time because of spoiled eggs, and the second because of rancid goat meat, which was barbecued in a tin can at a roadside café. OR: What about the problem with drinking water?
OR: What kind of food did you eat most days? Pasta? RV: What are you talking about! I think I could cycle 200km for pasta, but local food is different. Locals usually eat white corn porridge with greens that looks like grass. It was good, when they added some beans into it, and really cool if there was some meat also — usually chicken or goat. I was trying not to spend time on cooking, even though I was equipped for it. Especially since in some parts of Africa, you can get a good meal for only 50 cents. People often invited me in for lunch. At first, I thought that a home meal would be different, but it was basically the same porridge. In Zambia they also cook rice, not everywhere though, so I savored it when I had the opportunity. OR: What exotic dishes did you try along the way?
RV: In Egypt, where the population is more dense and there are more cars on the road, drivers often stopped to offer me water. In tropical and rural areas, the water is dirty and yellow in the rivers. I asked the locals where I could get drinking water, and they were happy to show me the spots that they use. I did not take any water filters, but I always kept my silver chain in my flask. At first, I was trying to boil water, but eventually stopped, because I was drinking at least 10 liters a day.
RV: Dishes made of crocodile and zebra meat. I was treated by the locals, I would not be able to cook that myself. OR: What was your everyday travel life like? RV: There were times when I accidentally put up my tent on somebody’s property, and then people invited me to stay overnight inside the house. One day in Tanzania, when I set up camp in the forest, the locals advised that I get out of there because of dangerous wild animals, so I had to stay overnight with them. It seems that some blessings of civilization did not reach them yet. At the equator, the sun is down by 7.00 pm and there is no electricity, so imagine the night: the moon, bright stars, black palm trees, and wild animal sounds right in the back yard… My bed was in the open air, a straw mat which I shared with other four men. I was very worried and afraid of anopheles mosquitos because I had
always slept inside the tent before. I did get a few bites by morning, and the home owners apologized profusely as if it was their household mosquitos that bit me. OR: Why did you travel alone? RV: I asked my friend Alexander Shestakov to come along. We cycled around the Black Sea basin together previously, but this time he wasn’t able to get away on a six month cycling trip. Teaming with someone you don’t know can have a big impact on the overall trip. On the way back, one fellow traveler did join me and we spent a couple of weeks on the road together. However, it was difficult for me because our approaches to life on the journey were very different. OR: Did anybody meet you in different places or keep track of your trip? RV: Before I left for Africa, people from our village in Kubey had attached a small Ukrainian flag to my bike and I cycled with it the whole way. Upon my return, they staged a large celebration in my honor. The Head of the village organized a formal greeting in the central square, with traditional bread and salt. It touched me so much that I presented my bicycle as a gift to the local museum. OR: How did you celebrate New Year’s Eve in Africa? RV: Just imagine — December 31, Tanzania, it is raining, my phone is dead, all the villages that I pass do not have electricity… Well, so much for New Year’s Eve, I thought to myself. A bit further I saw a luxurious house with an array of solar batteries on the roof and asked permission to recharge my phone. They invited me to stay overnight. It was a regular evening with no festivities, but it turned out that their tradition is to celebrate New Year on the night of January 1st. It was great fun: disco music, dancing people in the dark. I enjoyed it! OR: What will be your next destination? RV: So far, I plan to go to Ushuaia, Argentina. After my African adventure, I am tempted to cross South America.
Volodymir Gutsol is The Odessa Review’s sports columnist. 113
Visiting The Belgorod-Dnestrovsk Fortress — A Landmark Of Ancient Architecture By Vadim Goloperov
The expansion of Ancient Greek culture on the coast of the Black Sea, Roman excursions into Asia, the invasions by Scythians and Sarmatians, the Great Re-settling of Peoples, occupations by the Huns and Mongols, the establishing of the Osman Empire…the ancient stones within the walls of the Belgorod-Dnestrovsk fortress remember all this — and more. Put your hand on one of these ancient stones and close your eyes — and perhaps ancient images of bygone eras will begin to flow through your mind…
The Akkerman Fortress Age: 550 years Length of walls: 2.5 km Wall and tower height: 5 – 15 m Thickness of walls: 1.5 – 5 m
Belgorod-Dnestrovsky (known as Akkerman up until 1944) is one of Ukraine’s oldest cities. According to UNESCO, it is one of the word’s ten oldest cities which have existed, uninterrupted, from their creation to our days. The Belgorod-Dnestrovsk fortress, located in the city, is an exceptional monument of military architecture and the largest fortress in all of Western Europe. These facts alone are enough to make this unique location — situated a mere 90 kilometers from Odessa — a magnet to all history lovers. The modern Belgorod-Dnestrovsky is a laid-back, provincial town. However, its hidden jewel — the fortress – continues to amaze visitors with its massive dimensions and majestic grandeur. The history of Belgorod-Dnestrovsky, which is more than 2,500 years old, is an endless string of wars, battles and constantly changing rulers. The city’s history can be separated into roughly four periods: Hellenic, Medieval, Osman, and Russo-Ukrainian. It is believed that the city was founded around 500 BC by Greeks from Miletus, and the original
name it received was “’Tyras”. Tyras was subject to regular attacks from neighboring tribes such as Scythians, Sarmatians, and others. It was due to these unrelenting attacks that the Greek dominion of the city finally ended around 50 BC. After that, the city would change rulers many times. It was destroyed and rebuilt repeatedly. With each resurrection, it would also be given a new name: known as the Roman Album Castrum (White Castle), Slavic Turis and Belgorod, Mongol Ak-Libo, Byzantine Moncastro and Asprokastron, Moldavian Chetatya-Albe, Turkish Akkerman. In the 15th century CE the construction of the fortress which stands to this day began amid the ruins of ancient Tyras. The work was began by Genoese and Moldovans, and ultimately completed by the Turks. Later, during the 18th and 19th Centuries, a series of wars over control of the northern Black Sea cast took place between Turkey and Russia. As a result, on May 16th 1812, the city (then known as Akkerman) became part of the Russian Empire, and then of Ukraine. It is interesting to note that one of the fortress’s towers bears the name of the Ancient Roman poet Ovid. The reason behind the dedication is Emperor Augustus’ order to exile Ovid to the Black Sea coast, where the poet would later die. Historians have determined that Ovid lived in the city of Tomis (now Constanța, Romania) in the year 8 CE. According to legend, he visited Tyras frequently, was poisoned there and is even buried on the outskirts of the city. It is impossible to
verify these claims historically, as neither the poet’s true cause of death nor the location of his gravesite have been determined. In the late 18th century, a Russian officer announced that he had found a headstone engraved with the name “Ovid” in Tyras (Akkerman), however the mysterious headstone was soon lost and thus the officer’s claims were never verified. Nevertheless, the Russian Empress Catherine II issued an order to rename a neighboring Turkish city, Hadjider, into “Ovidopolis” to honor the legendary Roman poet as well as the rumored location of his last days. Today, the fortress often serves as a filming location, a venue for concerts and festivals, the scene of historical reenactments, fencing and swordsmanship competitions, and medieval tournaments (“the Sword of Moncastro”). An archeological museum and an exhibit of throwing weapons and firearms are also located within the fortress grounds. For an additional charge, tourists can enjoy the experience of manning and firing medieval cannons and crossbows. The Akkerman fortress, to this day, is home to a multitude of secrets and mysteries. Unexplored subterranean catacombs and tunnels abound under the ancient citadel’s floors. At times, the inner courtyard seems deserted and lifeless; but if you focus on the silence and let yourself drift away amid the ancient stones of the fortress walls, frozen history comes to life as images of countless battles, wars, and changing cultures — all blending together to bring us to the modern day — flash through your mind. Useful information: Location: Odessa Region, Belgorod-Dnestrovsky GPS: 46°12’3” N - 30°21’2”E. How to get there: Take Bus #560 from the Odessa Railroad Terminal, take the local Odessa — Belgorod-Dnestrovsky train. Phone numbers: Tourism office: (04849) 6-97-80 Administrative office: (04849) 6-97-18 Hours of operation: Summer period – 8:00 to 20:00 Winter period – 8:00 to 17:00
The History Of Plăcintă From Ancient Rome To Modern Odessa By Dmytro Sikorsky
The Plăcintă is Bessarabia’s traditional pastry. It resembles a thin, small round or square-shaped cake and is usually filled with a variety of soft cheeses, or with fruit jam composed of apples or apricots. Popular across the entire region from Romania and Moldova to the Carpathians it has a wonderful history. The evolution of some culinary dishes is intertwined with History with a capital h. In the history of cooking, one can find recipes that have significantly changed and could be seen as a connecting link between modern times and our ancient past. If one wants to create a recipe that will live on through the ages, all one has to do is begin by making some stiff dough. After that one must let it lay for half an hour and afterwards divide the dough into small balls and roll each one out into thin round pieces. Afterwards one must put pieces of crushed salted sheep cheese (brynza) into the center. Fold each piece into a flat round scone and pan fry both sides in oil. Voila! After a few simple steps, your amazingly tasty plăcintă will be be ready for eating! Original-
While it is true that people in the region like the dish, it is equally true that most don’t know how old the recipe is!
ly from Romania and Moldova this mighty cake conquered the Black Sea steppe, and now can be found all over Bessarabia and in large parts of Southern Ukraine, where the plăcintă remains a common everyday dish. Even as far as the Podolia region you can find the local variant referred to as the “palyanitsa”. The word plăcintă itself comes from the Latin “placenta”, which means “cake” and originates from the Greek “plakount” or “flat cake”. In Ukraine the surname “Plachinda” (or it’s local variant of pronunciation) is very widespread. The plăcintă can be prepared with a wide variety of different fillings which can include local sheep cheese brynza, cottage cheese, pumpkin, fresh or salted cabbage, green herbs, potatoes, meat and liver. Also popular are sweet stuffings: apples, plums, cherries, apricots, peaches and even strawberries. A plăcintă with fruit is usually served with sugar powder on top, which not only sweetens the taste but also separates the salted from the dessert variety. In Odessa cuisine the plăcintă has a long history. If one is to research old menus from Odessa restaurants of the first decades of the 19th century you will easily find them side by side with such Balkan dishes as stewed lamb, sorbet, kataif and lakerda (a kind of salted fish). Since the latter no longer exists in the menu of the Odessa restaurant, the plăcintă is all that remains of that tradition in the kitchens of the city. There
is even a uniquely Odessan recipe for plăcintă filling: pumpkin with salt and pepper. Typically the pumpkin filling is sweetened but this one is salted. While it is true that people in the region like the dish, it is equally true that most don’t know how old the recipe is! Some will tell you that it dates from medieval times, but the truth is that plăcintă has very clear ancient Roman roots! In those times it was called “Placenta”. It existed as a layered cheese and honey pastry but was much more that the sum of its parts baked together. Such a dish was part of a pagan ritual and offered to the gods themselves as a form of bloodless sacrifice. We have a good sense of the historical provenance of the recipe largely be-
cause of Cato the Elder (the man who was best known for pronouncing that “Carthage must be destroyed”) as he included it in his “De Agri Cultura” tractate written in 160 BC. This is firm evidence that the recipe of the plăcintă is actually more than 2,200 years old! It could even conceivably be older because we do not know how long it had existed before Cato had taken note of it. There is every reason to think that the recipe was used by the ancients as well. People often ask me “does the name of the plăcintă cake have any relation to the placenta birth organ?” The answer I always give them is “yes it is!” That organ was referred to as such because of it’s shape, one that bore a resemblance to the cake. Another amazing fact is the opinion of those scholars that variously links the placenta to the famous Italian lasagne, Turkish Baklava, and even Pizza. And without a doubt the modern Odessan plăcintă has
a strong relation to the Roman plăcintă due to the history of Bessarabia — that terrain was indeed once part of the Roman Empire, which had spread its culture through out every province and village it controlled. So if you have a chance try somewhere a piece of plăcintă, do keep in mind that what you are eating is not merely a piece a cake but a real piece of history of our European civilization!
Dmytro Sikorsky is a restaurateur, scholar and historian of the Odessa and Bessarabia regions.
A Symphony Of Hospitality group to rich this accomplishment. Now, Mozart Hotel group guests can also benefit from the attractive locations as well as the architectural landmark beauty of the Hotel International in Prague, Hotel President in Budapest, and Hotel Bellevue in Vienna. The Mozart Hotel Group continues to grow, and in the next few years will add to its portfolio hotel projects in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, as well as European locations, becoming an example and a beacon for other Ukrainian companies that wish to expand their business to Europe.
In recent years, Odessa has set its sights on becoming the most popular destination in Ukraine and across all of Europe for tourism, business, and special events. Thus the city has redoubled efforts and focus on developing the infrastructure that would support this goal. One issue that still requires further addressing is availability of quality hotels and conference spaces. Nevertheless, hospitality services on a European level are becoming increasingly accessible to visitors of our beloved city, in part owing to efforts of the Mozart Hotel Group, which first entered the Ukrainian hospitality market in 2011 with the Hotel Complex Odessa. This property is at the center of Odessaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s resort area, but it has recently also become a very popular and reasonably priced destination for conference events, attracting business travelers from all over the country and from Europe. The second Mozart Hotel Group property, Resort Hotel Arcadia, is only a few minutes walking distance from
the famous Arcadia beach, restaurants, bars and shopping malls. Since 2013, the legendary Hotel Mozart, located right next to the Opera and Ballet Theater and in close proximity to Deribasovska Street, has established itself as the standard of aristocratic luxury in Odessa. The Hotel Tsentralnaya, one of the oldest and best known hotels in Odessa, is also located in the heart of the cultural, historical and business centre of the city. The building is an architectural monument from 19th century overlooking Transfiguration Cathedral and the Cathedral Square. Since 2015, Mozart Hotel Group has been able to adjoin a number of distinguished European hotels to its family, being the first Ukrainian hotel
Poet Art Hotel
Uno Design Hotel
28 Zhukovskogo Street, +38 (048) 771-17-06 www.poet-hotel.com
13 Lanzheronovska, +38 (0482) 37 77 77 mozart-hotel.com
17 Rishelievska Street, +38 (048) 729-70-50 www.unohotelodessa.com
One can be compelled to travel for any number of reasons, but everyone is concerned with finding convenient accommodations quickly. The hotel is situated in a historic part of the city, allowing the guests to reach any location within a short amount of time. The absence of noise and the cozy homelike atmosphere provide all the necessary conditions for comfortable work and rest. The 24 hour front desk will be able to assist you with any question or problem, and the staff will learn the particular habits and special needs of every guest. The hotel offers great quality at a very reasonable price.
Odessa hotel “Mozart” is located in the very heart of the beautiful city, right by the magnificent Odessa Opera and Ballet Theater. Many of the city’s landmarks and administrative buildings are within walking distance of “Mozart”. Hotel guests can walk along the picturesque streets of the historic center, shop at fashionable boutiques, sample delectable Odessan cuisine in cozy cafes and experience for themselves the inimitable Odessa charm. The superior comfort and convenient location of the hotel guarantee a great stay whatever the purpose of the visit.
The building in which the hotel is located in the historic center of the city and is known as the historic home of Isaac Babel. A museum to the great writer’s legacy is set to open in the location in the near future. The hotel has 4 floors and 46 rooms in 6 categories to suit all tastes — which range from the cozy and the classic that includes a simple kitchen, to luxurious penthouses with terraces. The top floor suites all have a wonderful view of the old Odessa. The Interior of the hotel was designed by the Italian designer Nunzio da Via.
50 Gretska Street, 12 Apt., +38 (068) 620-85-32
24 Henuezska Street. +38 (048) 705-31-30 hotel-arkadia.com
5 Yuzhnosanatorny lane, +38 (048) 757-90-90 grand-marine.com.ua
The General. Places in a clean and modern shared dormitory are provided. There are bunk beds which are traditional for hostels in a room. The cost of the place depends on the quantity of places in the room. Flexible rules of booking. The Private. All rooms are entirely yours. The price varies from the number of guests in a room. Rooms are provided with king size beds or two separate beds. There is a room with the bathroom. Special conditions of booking. For all rooms. Bathrooms and kitchen are common.
Situated in the most picturesque area of the city by the Black Sea shore and near the famous Arcadia beach, Hotel Complex Arcadia is the perfect choice for vacationing in Odessa. Only 8 km from the airport, 4 km from the train station, and 15 minutes away from the historic and commercial city center, the hotel’s convenient location makes it ideal not only for seaside recreation, but for business trips as well. After the recent reconstruction, the hotel offers 276 comfortable rooms of various categories, as well as 86 apartments for long term stays.
The personal approach, the professional team and traditions are the best guarantee of security and quality of services provided at Grand Marine Hotel & Spa. This modern complex opened its doors after renovation in 2010 and is located in the residential complex “Sauvignon” — the former German settlement Lyustdorf. The natural recourses, the use of mineral water from our own sources, mud from the Kuyal’nitskogo and Shabolatskogo estuaries and Solotvyno mines salt in combination with healthy food and spa treatments will make your stay unforgettable. This is an active getaway place that offers accommodation in 57 comfortable rooms in four categories and conference facilities suitable for any event from 12 up to 150 people. Grand Marine is the traveler’s best option for work, recreation, wellness and recovery.
FOOD & DRINKS /Haute Cuisine
Sushi Burger INGREDIENTS: •
RICE 170 G
NORI 1 PIECE
CHICKEN FILET IN TERIYAKI SAUCE 100/100
LOLA ROSSA 50 G
FRESH TOMATOES 30 G
SESAME SEEDS 1/4 TEASPOON
Flavor cooked rice with a mixture based on rice vinegar. Fry the chicken fillet quickly on both sides on a very hot skillet, add teriyaki sauce and braise the meat in it. Put the sushi-burger together by adding fresh tomato slices, salad greens (lola rossa) and sesame seeds.
Nadezhda Malysh, Sushi Chef, Sous-Chef de Cuisine of “Central Bar”
My all-time favorite ingredients are very simple ones that can be used to cook a wide variety of dishes. Spinach Being a devotee of delicious and healthy food, of course I prefer fresh spinach. Luckily, in southern Ukraine, it grows year-round, and is a perfect addition to salads, soups and pasta. In fact, spinach is nutritious and delectable in any preparation: fresh, fried, steamed or sautéed. Salmon This is one of my most beloved ingredients. It has such a delicate texture, and can be consumed raw or after any number of heated cooking methods. Obviously, a must have for the sushi bar. Soy sauce A truly universal product used in the preparation of all kinds of dishes, soups and sauces. In fact, sauces prepared on its base (like unagi, teriyaki and thai sauces) are some of the most popular with Central Bar customers. Very widely used in Japanese cuisine, of course, and in our sushi bar.
FOOD & DRINKS
1 Sabansky Lane, +38 (048) 799-77-97 www.true.org.ua
Otrada Beach +38 (050) 391-39-47 www.villa-otrada.com.ua
24 Bunina Street, +38 (048) 785-07-01 www.grandprix.ua
The restaurant True is located in one of the most beautiful areas of Odessa — the Sabansky Lane is in the heart of the city, but is at some distance from all the bustle, near the park and the sea. True believes that healthy fresh food is a must in order to make the world more pleasant and cultivates a community of people who participate in a healthy lifestyle. The majority of the dishes are raw, including all of the sweets, and do not contain meat, fish or eggs. There are many options for vegans and raw eaters, and the waiters are always ready to help you make a selection. True is about the love for everything real and natural. Be True.
In the golden age of Odessa’s city development, here, on the shores of the Black Sea, a Turkish merchant built a small summer home next to the dacha of Count Langeron and called it “Villa Otrada”. It was frequented by all the high society of Odessa, including Alexander Pushkin, the Count Vyazemskiy and many others beguiled by the location’s amazing beauty and energy. Today, the recreated “Villa Otrada” is an island of charm and romance located directly by the water, near one of the most recognizable Odessa features — the yellow rock. The menu features a wide variety of drinks and typical Odessan dishes, local seafood and meat cooked on an open fire.
Grand Prix is cozily located in the very heart of Old Odessa in a historical building dating back to 1825, and has firmly established itself as the favorite neighborhood French restaurant. The restaurant owners pay close attention to importing high quality products from Italy and France. The kitchen distinguishes itself by serving carefully sourced, well cooked seasonal dishes, along with a great wine list and warm attentive service. Emphasis on French style hospitality minus the sneering Parisian waiters!
Bodega 2 Karla
MARA Salon and Café
32 Hretska Street, +38 (096) 524-16-01 www.facebook.com/bodega2k
Arcadia Parkway, +38 (067) 484-45-65 facebook.com/maraconcept
4 Sabaneiv Bridge, +38 (066) 755-50-07
Bessarabian Bodega Dva Karla (‘Two Karls’) — is one of the oldest food establishments continuously operating in Odessa. This Bodega focuses on simple, recognizable local food made from recipes collected in the villages of the Odessa oblast. The main dishes are mamalyga (based on polenta) and placintas (small round-shaped fried cake). These dishes are very popular in our region and you will experience great pleasure trying them with red or white wine. For Borsch-lovers there is a very good ‘home’ style Borsch and the Forshmak that is a trademark of Odessa cuisine is also highly recommended. A fantastic choice.
The Mara Cafe is a “conceptual” cafe partnered with the beauty company MARAMAX. The realms of style and food are pleasantly fused, offering breakfast and a blowout to start the day, or some wine and a salad before a haircut. Petite French style tables with puffs of flowers create a refined atmosphere of a fashionable loft and the large windows make the street into a kind of cat walk. А healthy and polished menu contains recipes developed especially for the cafe. Ingredients can be mixed by the customers as they prefer, making for a unique and healthy gastronomic experience. In addition, every Sunday the cafe offers Beauty Nights — beauty master classes from leading experts.
This restaurant of Odessan cuisine is situated in a beautiful and perfectly preserved historic building which once served as an estate of the Tolstoy family. Summer Garden is an oasis, surrounded by greenery and flowers, giving off freshness and coolness on hot summer days. The ancient fountain and antique lanterns scattering light immerse visitors in a lost era of romance and aristocracy. The restaurant menu offers a wide selection ranging from quintessential Odessan treats to classic European dishes, not forgetting intricate and delectable desserts. You can find the Summer Garden very easily — walking from the Katerininska Square across Sabaneiv Bridge, you will end up right on this island of beauty, comfort and taste.
FOOD & DRINKS
A Cocktail For Ukrainian Independence Day
Alexandra Tryanova, The Odessa Review’s cocktail columnist, first got amorous with mixed drinks while exploring European bars and nightlife. She learned the basics of mixology in Limonadier (Berlin), she was the chef and bartender at Dizyngoff (Odessa), and is currently at Noir bar (Odessa).
The celebration of national holidays with lavish meals of typical national cuisine is practiced worldwide. Even more excitingly, such celebrations are traditionally accompanied by the imbibing of national drinks. Without a doubt, in Ukraine that drink is horilka, or vodka, as it is more commonly known internationally. The variants flavored with honey and with pepper are renowned far beyond Ukraine’s borders. While taking pride in a signature national drink is all well and good, perhaps the 25th anniversary Ukrainian Independence Day celebrations give occasion to consider inventing a signature national cocktail?
In 2015 at the Four Roses Bourbon Charity Cocktail Challenge, one of the finalists was the “Shevchenko Sour”. This was a cocktail inspired by the flavors and images of traditional Ukrainian culture — based on bourbon, but accented with the aroma of Ukrainian black bread and decorated with a sprig of guelder rose (viburnum opulus). This berry, known locally as kalyna, is native to Europe and is also distantly related to the cranberry. It is one of the national symbols of Ukraine and being mentioned in folkloric legends, songs and decorative motifs is deeply intertwined with the nation’s history.
In fact, Ukraine has a remarkably rich and ethnically diverse gastronomic background, its cuisine being recognized as one of the most varied and delicious in the world. Its earth is famously rich, growing native plants, fruits and herbs in abundance. Thus, there is immense room for creativity and experimentation in the realm of cocktails representative of Ukrainian cuisine. In the meanwhile, perhaps taking the Shevchenko Sour as a guide, substituting the national spirit for bourbon and getting creative with contrasting flavors, would do the trick? To the vodka, add a bit of lime juice for the sour, some honey syrup for the sweet, and kalyna (guelder rose) syrup for the special Ukrainian touch, garnishing with kalyna berries and lime zest… This Independence Day, see if our Vodka Kalyna Sour awakens the Ukrainian spirit in you, or experiment and find your very own, very Ukrainian cocktail!
FOOD & DRINKS
Odesa 39, Kateryninska street +38 (048) 722 77 77
Odessa Tales By Boris Khersonsky
For a very short period of time, the Odessa Intelligentsia had worked as the head editor at a local newspaper. After receiving this title, she immediately phoned to inform me that she would not be publishing my work. “What, is it really that bad?’’ — I asked meekly. “No, No, that’s not the issue!” she cut me off sharply. “It’s just that publishing you would be in poor taste… I’m a woman of class, you see.” Despite her strict warning, I did once dare to bring her my article on the construction of an enormous hotel in the city port. Those who decided to put it there had presumed that the statue of the Duc would look better set against the background of a commercial skyscraper rather than the harbor. I had radically disagreed with that presumption.
The Odessa Intelligentsia only read the first paragraph… and went into a frenzy. Oh, how she shook and stomped! “Why don’t you get out of here” — she demanded — “I don’t want to kill you where you stand. Just pretend that you were never here. You don’t exist. And Odessa is here, looking towards the future!” “But I think, and therefore, I do exist!’’ — I objected. “You stupid fool!’’ — she screamed — “those who think are precisely the ones who do not exist!” “What about those who don’t think?” “They don’t exist all the more!” “Who does exist, then?”
“Those that earn money!” — she said, in a manner indicating that our dialogue had come to a conclusion. In a somewhat conciliatory tone, she also added: “Why don’t you come have a cup of tea with me tonight? Differences of opinion should not affect relationships. It is feelings that are most important, don’t you agree?”
Stand-Up: The Old New Humor By Olga Lumerovskaya
A rumination on the place of stand-up comedy in contemporary Ukraine.
Stand-up comedy arrived in Ukraine only rather recently For a long time stand-up as a comic style did not really have a well defined form. The first acts that could be considered stand-up comedy took place in British music halls in the 18th and 19th centuries, where comedians filled the pauses between performers with freestyle jokes. The emergence of “The Fringe” arts festival in the middle of the 20th century marked the dawn of real British stand-up. With the post-war decline of music hall entertainment, stand-up eventually moved on to clubs where it could reach a wider audience of ordinary people, which in turn necessitated a constant flow of new comedic material. At this point, stand-up comedy acquired a regulated conventional structure and the monologues became a unique form of modern philosophy, shaping it into the genre of humor that we know today.
Despite the inception of stand-up comedy in Great Britain, some of the profession’s most famous practitioners have come from the United States, going as far back as Mark Twain, who was known to read his monologues in public. In the 60’s and 70’s, there was a breakthrough in American stand-up with Lenny Bruce, who was famous for having a great deal of profanity in his outspoken monologues, being the most iconic comedian of the era. Due to the success of such artists as Woody Allen, Bob Hope, and Bill Cosby, stand-up became an essential part of American culture. Comedy clubs sprung up around New York, Los Angeles, and with time, around the world. Now, elements of stand-up comedy are used by world famous talk show hosts, at the most glamorous awards ceremonies, and even by President Barak Obama in his speeches. The incredible popularity of the genre can probably be explained by the fact that the subject matter of the jokes comes from everyday life — relationships with loved ones, situations at work, getting along with neighbors, politics, religion, education. Stand-up comedians address topics that are most current and salient — for example, national and racial stereotypes in the past, modern technology and our dependence on it these days. With such relatable humor, members of the audience can recognize themselves in jokes, but not only that — the fundamental purpose of every stand-up comedian is not just to entertain, but to encourage self-reflection.
Stand-up comedy arrived in Ukraine only rather recently. In the Soviet Union, a few traditional comedy shows and the KVN (roughly translated as the Club for the Funny and the Inventive) used satire comedy, which has some characteristics in common with stand-up. After the decline of the popularity of KVN, artistic youth was looking for new creativity outlets, leading to the appearance of the show “Comedy Club” on national television, and the emergence of small local clubs using the same skit format. Odessa had its own “Comedy Club”, and later “Posidim, posmeemsya” (“Let’s hang out and laugh”). There, seasoned KVN performers were able to try themselves in the stand-up genre. As the wave of its pop-
ularity grew, it was picked up by the Odessan TV personality Andrey Shabanov, who compiled the first editions of the “Stand-Up Show”. Recently more comedy clubs have been opening in Kharkov, Sumy, Zaporizzhya, Odessa, Kyiv, Dnepropetrovsk, and Lviv. There are two notable stand-up comedy festivals in Kiyv, and at the end of August Odessa will host its own annual “Stand-Up O’Fest” that will feature more than 100 participants from all over Ukraine. The first day of the fest features an open mic, allowing anyone to have 4 minutes on stage to try and make the audience laugh. The best comedians from the open mic will be selected to perform in a gala-concert on the second day. The main purpose of the “Stand-Up O’Fest” is to bring together all of the comedy clubs of the city. Today, stand-up is a trendy form of modern humor and philosophy among the creative artistic youth. It is a large community of people who appreciate a high quality of humor — occasionally uncensored and toeing the line of the appropriate, sometimes very intellectual and subtle, but always honest and provoking. Every club and room is different — Jewish humor gets a very warm reception in Odessa, but falls flat in Kharkiv. Stand-up is a difficult style of comedy, because the performer has to get a feeling for the audience, to predict what kind of jokes would get the best feedback and to judge what issues could be too sensitive. Nevertheless, Odessan comics are actively conquering the genre, taking top prizes at festivals and appearing in TV shows, not only in Ukraine but in other countries. The Ukrainian stand-up fanbase is growing to include people of every age, social status and world view, and Odessa, as the capital of humor, is in the lead of the trend.
Olga Lumerovskaya is a staff member of The Odessa Review.
ODESSA IN PHOTOS
Odessa Photographer in Focus Anton Trofymov Anton Trofymov was born in Kyiv. He studied at the Kyiv National University of Theatre, Film and Television, worked as Music Video Director and Assistant Director at The National Cinematheque of the Ukraine. In 1999, Anton moved to the United States and his creative interests shifted toward photography. He shoots on film and prints his silver gelatin photographs in his own darkroom. His photographs can be found in major private collections and galleries all over the United States, Ukraine, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Italy and Canada. Anton now lives and works in New York City.
ODESSA IN PHOTOS
ODESSA IN PHOTOS
ODESSA IN PHOTOS
The Odessa International
Film Festival Red Carpet
The Odessa International
Film Festival Red Carpet
Mute Nights Festival
Mantra Beach Club
OIFF Opening Party
Summer Weekend by OFD
The Odessa Review party
at Maristella marine residence
OIFF Ice Party
Mantra Beach Club
OIFF Neon Party
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Frederic Koklen Boutique Hotel 4* 7 Nekrasova Lane +38 (048) 737-55-53 koklenhotel.com Geneva Apart Hotel 32 Evrejska Street 4* +38 (0482) 31-13-12 phnr.com Grand Marine Medical SPA Hotel 5 Yuzhnosanatorniy lane +38 (048) 757-90-90 grand-marine.com.ua Hotel City Apartments 1 Katerynivska Street +38 (048) 788-02-82 facebook.com/ Hotel-City-Apartments-Odessa-455574217976447 Kadorr Hotel Resort&SPA 5* 66/3 Frantsuzky Boulevard +38 (048) 705-99-04 kadorrhotels.com
Black Sea Hotel 4* (chain of hotels) bs-hotel.com.ua
La Gioconda 4* 1 Second Lermontovskyi Lane +38 (048) 774-40-00 lagioconda.odessa.ua
Bristol Hotel 5* 15 Pushkinska Street +38 (048) 796-55-00 bristol-hotel.com.ua
London Hotel 4* 95 Uspenska Street +38 (048) 784-08-98 london-hotel.com.ua
Continental Hotel 4* 5 Derybasivska Street +380 (48) 786-03-99 continental-hotel.com. ua
Londoska Hotel 4* 11 Prymorsky Boulevard +38 (048) 705-87-77 londonskaya-hotel. com.ua
De Richelieu 30 Rishelievska Street +38 (048) 785-16-53 facebook.com/derishele Design-hotel Skopeli 3,5* 65 Lanzheron Beach +38 (048) 705-39-39 skopeli.com
M1 Club Hotel 5* 1 Lidersivsky Boulevard +38 (048) 705-88-77 m1clubhotel.com
Deribas Apartments 27 Deribasivska Street +38 (067) 253-88-36 hotel-deribas.com
Mozart Hotel 4* 13 Lanzheronivska Street +38 (0482) 37-77-77 mozart-hotel.com
Duke Hotel 5* 10 Chaikovskoho Lane +38 (048) 705-36-36 hotel-duke.com
Morskoy Hotel 4* 1/1 Kryshtalevyi Lane +38 (0482) 33-90-90 morskoy.com
Odesskiy Dvorik 4* 19 Uspenska Street +38 (048) 777-72-71 odesskij-dvorik.ua Orange Hotel 3* 1a Hretska Street +38 (048) 730-60-30 facebook.com/orangehotelodessa Otrada Hotel 5* 11 Zatyshna Straeet +38 (0482) 33-06-98 hotel-otrada.com Palace Del Mar 5* 1 Kryshtalevyi Lane +38 (0482) 30-19-00 pdm.com.ua Palais Royal Boutique-Hotel 3* 10 Lanzheronivska Street +38 (048) 737-88-81 hotel-royal.com.ua Panorama De Luxe 5* 6/8 Mukachivskyi Lane +38 (048) 705-70-55 panoramadeluxe.com Poet Art Hotel 4* 28 Zhukovskoho Street +38 (048) 771-17-06 poet-hotel.com Ribas 3 Deribasivska Street +38 (048) 783-83-77 hotelribas.com Royal Street 27 Deribasivska Street +3 (048) 777-29-99 royalstreet.com.ua Uno Design Hotel 17 Rishelievska Street +38 (048) 729-70-50 unohotelodessa.com Vintage Hotel 55 Uspenska Street +38(048) 73 78 300 vintagehotel.od.ua
HOSTEL Chemodan Hostel 8 Bunina Street +38 (068) 637-69-40 chemodan-hostel.com Life Hostel Odessa 52 Gretska Street, 12 Apt. +38 (097) 512-81-02 lifehostel.od.ua Star Hostel 5 Osipova Street +38 (050) 954-94-94 hostel-star.com MEDICAL CENTERS Oxford 33 Zhukovskoho Street +3 (048) 725-55-00 oxfors-med.com.ua NIGHT CLUB Art-club Shkaf 32 Hretska Street +38 (048) 232-50-17 shkaff.od.ua Bourbon Rock Bar $$ 8/10 Katerynenska Street +38 (048) 796-10-07 bourbon.od.ua Central bar 3 Katerynynska Square +38 (048) 725-58-58 facebook.com/centralbarodessa The Roastery by Odessa Arkadia Parkway +38 (093) 787-87-85 facebook.com/theroasterybyodessa RENTAL CARS Avis Rent a Car&Leasing 25 Tsentralnyi Airport Street +38 (067) 218-21-41 avis.com.ua
Villa le Premier 5* 3 Vannyi lane +38 (048) 705-74-74 lepremier.com.ua
Autobond Âž Hretska Square 602 Office +38 (048) 700-39-99 autobond.od.ua
Volna Hotel 5 Langheron Beach +38 (048) 789-38-40 hotelvolna.com
VRC 16B Bunina Street +38 (048) 734-57-77 vrc.com.ua
RESTAURANT/ CAFE/PUB Belleville cafе 8/3 Shevchenkо Avenue +38 (048) 757-85-57 facebook.com/belleville. cafe Benedikt. World of breakfasts 19 Sadova Street +38 (048) 759-99-95 benedikt24.com.ua Bernardazzi 15 Bunina Street +38 (048) 785-55-85 bernardazzi.com
Corvin Pub 17 Lanzheronivska Street +38 (0482) 33-88-00 corvin.ua CUBE Un/Healthy Bar 10 Rishelievska Street +38 (063) 378-44-26 momincube.com
Jardin French Restaurant 10 Havanna Street +38 (048) 700-14-71 jardin.od.ua
Dacha 85 Frantsuzky Boulevard +38 (048) 770-31-19 dacha.com.ua
Kadorr Restaurants 66/3 Frantsuzky Boulevard +38 (048) 705-99-01 kadorrrestaurants.com
De Vine restaurant 1 Soborna square +38 (048) 793-04-73 facebook.com/DeVineOdessa
Kumanets 7 Havanna Street +38 (0482) 37-69-46 kumanets.com.ua
Bistekka Steakhouse&Bar 12 Deribasovska Street +38 (048) 737-57-07 https://www.facebook. com/BISTEKASteakuseBar-619422038078936
Dizyngoff 5 Katerynynska Square +380 (050) 542-42-16 facebook.com/dizyngoff
Bize 26 Lanzheronivska Street +38 (048) 784-02-68 kafebize.od.ua
Fanconi 15/17 Katerynivska Street +38 (048) 234-66-66 fanconi.ua
Bratia Gril 17 Derybasivska Street Arkadia Parkway +38 (067) 599-33-99 bratiagril.com
Forty Five Booze&Bakery 1 Katerynynska Square +38 (095) 045-45-45 facebook.com/cafefortyfive
Bodega 2K 32 Hretska Street +38 (096) 524-16-01 facebook.com/bodega2k Budapest 34 Zhukovskoho Street +38 (048) 787-86-86 budapest.od.ua Casa Nova 4 Deribasivska Street +38 (0482) 33-54-55 casa-nova.com.ua Caesar Restaurant 10 Deribasovska Street +38 (048) 740-45-45 ceasar.od.ua City Garden Restraunt&Lounge 10/12 Havanna Street +38 (048) 702-88-11 citygarden.com.ua
Jazzy Buzzy 19 Uspenska Street +38 (048) 777-20-31 jazzy-buzzy.ua
Fratelli 17 Hretska Street +38 (048) 738-48-48 facebook.com/fratelli. odessa Gogol Mogol 2 Nekrasova Lane +38 (048) 784-55-84 facebook.com/GogolMogol.Odesa Grand Prix 24 Bunina Street +38 (048) 785-07-01 grandprix.ua Invogue Café 25 Katerynivska Street facebook.com/invoguecafe Irish Pub Mick O’Neills 13 Derybasivska Street +38 (048) 721-53-33 ipub.com.ua
Kotelok mussel bar 17 Sadova Street +38 (048) 736-60-30 facebook.com/kotelokodessa Lustdorf 140V Lustdorfska Rode +38 (048) 777-96-77 lustdorf.com Maman 18 Lanzheronivska Street +38 (048) 711-70-35 vk.com/maman_cafe Mom in Cube 17 Leontovicha Street +38 (048) 783-50-17 10 Rishelievska Street +38 (063) 378 44 26 momincube.com Omega Three 5 Lanzheronivska Street +38 (048) 796-89-81 facebook.com/omega3three Pizza & Grill 13 Vorontsovskyi Lane +38 (048) 770-08-07 pizzagrill.com.ua Prichal №1 3 Otrada Beach +38 (048) 722-33-11 prichal1.com Profitroli the cafe cake shop 17 Bunina Street +38 (048) 785-85-86 22 French Avenue +38 (048) 784-84-33 8a Shevchenko Avenue +38 (048) 701-80-80 profitroli.od.ua
Salieri 14 Lanzheronivska Street +38 (048) 725-00-00 facebook.com/salieri. com.ua Sherlock Café 11 Bunina Street +38 (0482) 32-12-00 facebook.com/Sherlock. Odessa Summer Garden 4 Sabaneiv Bridge +38 (066) 755-50-07 Terrace. Sea View 1B Lanzheron Beach +38 (048) 777-88-86 facebook.com/terraceseaview The Churchill 1 Sabansky lane +380 (67) 711-03-10 facebook.com/pages/ The-Churchill The Dom Restaurant 55 Uspenska Street +38 (068) 808-08-80 thedom.od.ua Tokyo House 11 Risheljevska Street +38 (048) 785-09-09 tokio-house.com.ua
SPORT CLUB / YOGA / SPA Yoga Maharadj 12 Bunina Street +38 (048) 709-20-00 yoga-maharadj.com Wellness SPA Formula 12 Tchaikovsky Lane +38 (048) 728-99-21 formula-wellness.com STORE Barbara Bui 39 Kateryninska street +38 (048) 722-77-77 barbarabui.com Book 3/7 Vitse-Admirala Zhukova +38 (063) 410-33-36 Invogue Fashion Group 25 Katerynivska Street +38 (048) 731-47-67 facebook.com/invogueodessa Kokon 31 Hretska Street +38 (048) 705-50-87 kokon.ua
Avers-Tour 4 Spiridonivska Street +38 (048) 700-54-81 avers-tour.com.ua
True Restaurant 1 Sabansky lane +38 (048) 799-77-97 true.org.ua
Navigator 7 Mayakovskoho Lane +38 (0482) 34-38-87 navigator-ua.com
Villa Otrada Otrada Beach +38 (050) 391-39-47 villa-otrada.com.ua
TPP Tour 19 Troitska Street 03 (048) 722-55-55 facebook.com/tpptour. odessa
Zelen 85 Kanatna Street +38 (098) 878-37-00 facebook.com/Zelencafe
Arbequina Restaurant 4 Borisa Grinchenko Street +38 (044) 223-96-18 arbequina.com.ua Kneipp Club Cupid 1-3 Pushkinska Street +38 (044) 279-71-71 facebook.com/Kupidon. Kyiv Indie bookstore Harms 45a Volodymyrska Street +38 (068) 308-88-93 xar.ms Odessa Restaurant 114 Veluka Vasilkovska Street +38 (044) 238-84-13 odessarest.com.ua Hilton Hotel 30 Tarasa Shevchenko Boulevard +38 (044) 393-54-00 hilton.ru/hotels/hilton-kyiv
Traveler’s Coffee 14 Derybasivska Street +38 (094) 917-54-07 travelerscoffee.ru
White Whale 3/7 Vitse-Admirala Zhukova Street +38 (097) 058-80-83 facebook.com/whitewhale.od
Tudoy Sudoy 6 Nekrasova Lane +38 (048) 700-60-50 tudoy-sudoy.od.ua Join Up 1A Tamozhena Square +38 (048) 737-79-77 joinup.ua Pina Colada 35/37 Risheljevska Street +38 (048) 715-50-50 pina-colada.net
Central Bar Owner And Nightlife Impresario Daniel Salem Talks About The Vorontsov Colonnade I like to look at the port, at the lighthouse, I love that vast view. Looking out from here really makes me feel like I’m not alone and that the world doesn’t just revolve around me.
My favorite place in Odessa is the Colonnade across from the Vorontsov Palace. It is very spe-cial to me because of my mother — she is the one who first made me love it. When I was 5, we lived here and it was her favorite place to come and walk with me. We used to take a stroll twice a day, early in the morning and around 6 or 7 in the early evening. It was the best time of day in the summer: neither cold nor hot. The sun would be going down and it was always beautiful weather. As a kid, this was a special moment, because the day was finished, but you are not going to bed yet — you know that you will have a snack later and watch some TV.
On our walks, my mother would show me the view of the port from this spot and tell me “this is your town Danny”. I really loved those words, they made me feel really motivated. At that time I didn’t quite understand them and it is only now that I understand what she meant. It was here also that she told me something I remember very clearly and it was very significant to me. She said, “What’s wrong with you? You got sneakers on your feet and a head on your shoulders, go on and walk, get going”. I was very close to my mother. She died when I was 16. A mother is so important for a boy, but I have to say that my father helped me get through that. I am grateful for the way he raised me. He made a very big difference for my development as a boy growing up and I think he taught me to be a good man. I used to play here with my grandfather too. I don’t know why, but I loved watching American movies and I especially liked baseball. My grandfather made a baseball bat for me and we used to play baseball over here. right next to the Colonnade. I think he also used to come here with my mother, and then my mother would come here with me, so it was their favorite place also. So it is a very sentimental spot for me: I proposed to my wife here.
I love the story about Count Mikhail Vorontsov — that he used to come out from his house in his slippers and count the ships in the harbor — which in to count his money essentially. Just imagine this character walking around with his coffee in his slippers and robe, counting the ships! His palace (house) is right here, I bet he threw a lot of great parties here, some of them attended by Alexander Pushkin. Now I live on Gogol Street and any time I don’t drive to work, I walk across the bridge, through the Colonnade, down Primorsky Boulevard and then I walk over to the Central Bar, and to Bour-bon Rock Bar. There are a lot of places in Odessa that show its character. For example, Molda-vanka is the home of the Odessa con artist culture and creative scamming. The Colonnade and it’s surroundings represent to me something closer to Bohemian serenity. I always wanted to have a bar. I think it’s every Tom Sawyer’s dream — every boy’s dream — to stand behind your bar, sell drinks to your friends or give them drinks on the house, to engage in some funny chit chat. I always imagined the typical scenario when a girl walks in and looks at the bartender, and sparks fly. Everything I do in my life is based on images from the movies in a way. It’s all in pictures, I live in them, and I think that’s why I started all this. Also, I never like to sit in one place, I’d rather do anything. Let’s start a bar? Let’s start a bar! I like the good atmos-phere of people having fun, smiling, drinking, hugging. It always brings me joy.