The Odessa Review #5

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Issue #5 October/November 2016

A Journal For The New Ukraine


Serhiy Zhadan And Ukrainian Poetry




Babyn Yar Special Report


On Dafna May’s Fashion

108 The War On Corruption

UA 200 FR 8 € USD 10$


Oleg Kulik Did Not Bark Like A Dog

“TREND” boutique 17 Soborna Square, Lviv Tel.: +38(032) 235 83 33 instagram - trendboutique_ukraine


# 05/

October-November 2016

Publisher: Hares Youssef

Editor in Chief:

Vladislav Davidzon

Managing Editor:

Regina Maryanovska-Davidzon

Editor at Large:

Peter Dickinson

Senior Editor:

Katya Michaels

Associate Editor: Alexandra Koroleva

Copy Editor: Luke Smith


Eugene Chukhriy, Yevgeniy Demenok, Ulyana Dovgan, Irene Fedets, Lev Fridman, Vadim Goloperov, Volodymyr Gutsol, Nikolai Holmov, Adrian Karatnycky, Boris Khersonsky, Ute Kilter, Iryna Kyporenko, Ilya Lozovsky, Eugene Ostashevsky, Sophie Pinkham, Dmytro Sikorsky, Myroslav Shkandij, Jordanka Tomkova, Alexandr Topilov, Max Tucker, Peter Zalmaev.

Art Director:

Viacheslav Zulkarnaev

Junior Graphic Designer: Evgen Velychev


Katja Bakurova, Maryna Bandelyuk, Misha Fridman, Andrey Moskvichov, Nikolay Vdovenko, Grigoriy Veprik


Subscriptions & Project Manager: Aleksandra Gutsol Tel.: +38 (048) 788-92-10

Office Manager: Natalia Solyanik Tel.: +38 (048) 796-40-21


Viacheslav Zulkarnaev

The Odessa Review Editorial Office 47, Nizhynska Street 65023 Odessa Ukraine Tel.: +38 (048) 796 40 21


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Sales/Marketing Director:

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Registration Information:

Sasha Geifman, Oleg Andreyev

Cover Illustrations: Ilja Suhodolskiy

Lena Novitska Tel. : +38 (048) 796 40 26

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The Odessa Review is registred with the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice as a print media title. Licence N°: OD1801-672R ISSN 2518-7864 Copyright © 2016 by City Review Media Group LLC.

All rights reserved. This publication or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher.











From the Editor in Chief. Letter from the Publisher. Where Was I On August 19, 1991?

October-November Events.

13th Yalta Forum In Kyiv. Mutiny On The High Seas. Odessa Philharmonic Under Threat. IAmNotAfraidToSpeak.

On Vlad Troitsky: Ukraine’s Great Cultural Impresario.









75th Commemorations

Brain Drain And Brain Gain. Ukraine’s Desperate Struggle And Hope. The Anti-Corruption Situation.

(De)-Occupying One Street. Charles Du Bouchet Clinic.

On Dafna May. Barbara Bui Boutique.









Ukrainian Poetry With Serhiy Zhadan.

Eugene Ostashevsky On “The Life And Opinions Of DJ Spinoza.” Languages Of Ukrainian Poetry. Four Great Poets In Odessa.

Andrey Moskvichov.

Making Modernism: Sonia Delaunay Returns To Odessa. Korney Chukovsky: Famed And Also Unknown. Conversation With Serhii Plohii.









Conversation With Mantas Kvedaravicius. Ukrainian Submissions 2017 Academy Awards.

“FreierFest” Contemporary Art Festival. Oleg Kulik In Odessa.

The Erised: From Ukraine With Love. Modern Music Scene In Odessa.

Odessa (SMEs) Back On Feet. Ukraine’s E-Governance.









Olympic Silver For Fencing.

Around Town.

Privoz: King Of Markets. Odessa Salt Lake City.

Around Town.

Of Babyn Yar. Peter Zalmayev With Timothy Snyder. Search Of Mykola Bazhan’s Legacy. Mykola Bazhan’s “Deborah.”







Odessa Tales.

Where to Find the Magazine.

On Nelly Harchenko.



From the Editor in Chief By Vladislav Davidzon

The official commemorations of the genocidal crimes committed at Babyn Yar in 1941 that have taken place these past few weeks in Kyiv, have demonstrated Ukraine’s political maturity. The 75th anniversary commemorations were carried out with dignity, grace and aplomb. It is surely not easy to claim responsibility for being a victim, a bystander, an aggressor, or a collaborator. All the more so when one is doing so in the midst of a conflict and a prolonged search

With time our magazine’s coverage of contemporary Ukrainian culture has expanded and deepened. We will still always publish pieces about the Privoz market and about governor Michel Saakashvili’s latest madcap adventures. But while we still very much care about covering this city- this charming, literate, scheming, debonair, eccentric, baffling, shining, decrepit and brilliant city — more and more of our coverage of Ukraine’s tremendous cultural scene will not be limited to Odessa. While we continue to be a magazine about Odessa and rooted in Odessa, we are quickly becoming more national and strive to be Ukraine’s premiere English language literary-political-cultural magazine. To be Ukraine’s gateway unto the world.

More and more of our coverage of Ukraine’s tremendous cultural scene will not be limited to Odessa for identity… Thus the Ukrainian nation and the Ukrainian people have a great deal to be proud of. That is why our special report on Babyn Yar, featuring an interview with the world famous historian Timothy Snyder as well as the totally original poetry that we are publishing as part of it, is the portion of this issue that we are the most proud of.


This month we are covering topics as diverse as Ukrainian historical debates with historian Serhii Plokhii, the emergence of a talented young fashion designer Dafna May, and Ukraine’s Oscar hopes for 2017. Our new Modernism columnist Eugene Demenok has also uncovered the secret of Sonia Delaunay’s birthplace after concerted searching through the archives. Dmytro Sikorsky continues writing the world’s only English language column on Bessarabia’s cuisine. Our art critic Ute Kilter had breakfast with the

radical Russian artist Oleg Kulik. Expecting him to bark like a dog, she instead wound up speaking with a meditative Buddhist instead. Our political coverage has also deepened with Ukraine analysis heavy weight Adrian Karatnycky writing for us about the state of the war against corruption. We are just getting started!




Letter From The Publisher By Hares Youssef

The more history recedes into the past, the more it becomes universal. This autumn issue of our magazine comes at an auspicious time for Ukraine. The 75th anniversary of the killings at Babyn Yar have just taken place at the end of September. As the last witnesses and survivors of those terrible events begin passing away into the next world, it is all the more important for us to remember what happened, and to draw lessons from those horrible days. We have a historical and modern duty to remember what had happened outside of Kyiv

Arguments about history and memory are not merely musty arguments about the past, or about who of our grandfathers did good or bad things during the war or during communist times. These arguments are not merely theoretical. Our arguments about the past are arguments about the future and about the sorts of values we wish to live with. The sorts of people we want to become They are arguments about our vision of what it means to advance and to become better. The process of healing for Ukraine is the same as it is for any individual or nation. Transparency is a basic part of healing the traumatic wounds of the past and we must not hide anything from ourselves. Ukraine’s response to the crimes committed on it’s soil, crimes that the Soviet Union had forbidden us to speak about openly, has been a very healthy one.

Arguments about history and memory are not merely musty arguments about the past, or about who of our grandfathers did good or bad things during the war or during communist times in those terrible days. If we remember what happened and understand the reasons why it happened, perhaps those things will not happen ever again. Thosee horrible crimes that happened 75 years ago took place before Ukraine became an independent country and were committed while the country was occupied by invaders. Yet, Ukraine’s path into a democratic, prosperous and liberal future is contingent on it’s facing up to the crimes of the past, crimes that were committed by Ukrainians and against Ukrainians on Ukrainian territory.


I am very proud that The Odessa Review participated as media partners with the organization that organized the commemorations for the Ukrainian government and we attended all the various conferences and symposiums. This issue features a special report from those commemorations. The second and related theme of this issue is that of poetry. This month we are publishing contemporary poetry (such as work from the excellent Russian-American poet Eugene Ostashevsky) as well as a selection of poems from the great Ukrainian poet Mykola Bazhan. His po-

etry was dedicated to Babyn Yar. Bazhan’s humane response to the what happened is a model of how to be human, and a model of understanding and cooperation for any mixed human society to follow. We are very proud of the fact that the poems we are printing here would be difficult or impossible for English speakers to find otherwise. Poetry and a poetic world view might very well be the only proper response to what human beings did to one another at Babyn Yar.



Odessa Calendar

October-November Calendar of Events Mashina Vremeni On Tour Mashina Vremeni haven’t toured Ukraine in at least 3 years, despite the fact that the current lineup of the band was on stage for the first time in 2012 at the Maidan in Kyiv! It was an incredible concert, the veterans of rock had reinvented themselves yet again and performed three new songs, to Ukrainian audiences first, that would become the basis for their next album. It was completed in the spring of 2016 — during those years a lot had changed for Ukraine and for the band, and now fans can hear the new songs from the finished record! Of course, the musicians will also perform classics from the past 47 years that have become interwoven with the fabric of their fans’ lives. From the oldies and the rare tracks, to the new song premieres, through the best hits: there are too many songs to sing all of them, but the concerts will be long, get ready! LVIV: OCTOBER 17 AT 7PM AT THE LVIV THEATRE OF OPERA AND BALLET, 28 SVOBODY AVENUE ODESSA: OCTOBER 20 AT 7PM AT THE ODESSA SPORT PALACE, 31 SHEVCHENKO AVENUE KYIV: OCTOBER 22 AT 7PM AT THE NATIONAL PALACE OF ARTS “UKRAINA,” 103 VELYKA VASYLKIVSKA STREET

New British Film Festival This year the screening of the best British films is taking place for the 16th time. The program features the winner of the 2016 Cannes Palme d’Or, “I, Daniel Blake” by British director Ken Loach. In addition, the organizers of the festival — the British Council in Ukraine and “Arthouse Traffic” — are presenting a criminal comedy by John Michael McDonagh “War On EveryOne” about a couple of corrupt policemen who pressure anyone who gets in their way. Another long-awaited premiere is a recipient of the BAFTA Scotland award for best actress, the comedy “The Legend of Barney Thompson” by the Scottish director Robert Carlyle starring Oscar winner Emma Thompson. KYIV: NOVEMBER 10TH ODESSA, LVIV, KHARKIV, DNIPR, MARIUPOL


Odessa Calendar

OCTOBER 12 AT 7PM Pesniary

The Byelorussian “Beatles” are going on a tour of Ukraine! The golden voices of the VIA “Pesniary,” Leonid Bortkevich and Anatoliy Kasheparov, are bringing a “Best Hits” program to 20 Ukrainian cities this fall, in honor of the 75th birthday anniversary of “Pesnyari” founder Vladimir Mulyavin. ODESSA PHILHARMONIC HALL 15 BUNINA STREET OCTOBER 14 AT 7PM Miss Odessa Worldwide

The National Committee Miss Ukraine South and FLF Productions, LLC, USA present the main beauty contest of the city, Miss Odessa Worldwide, bringing together the most striking Odessan beauties living in all corners of the world. The contest, a 30th jubilee final, is being held under the auspices of “Miss World” and “Miss Universe.” The gala evening will feature a red carpet with famous guests, a champagne hour, Felix Shinder and his cult band “Dengi Vpered,” a ceremonial coronation of the winner, fireworks, and a glamorous after-party. CONCERT HALL “SADY POBEDY,” APRIL 10TH SQUARE OCTOBER 15 AT 11AM Shabo Wine Culture Center Tour

The Shabo Wine Culture Center is the only destination in Ukraine where a highly technological com-

pany, ancient wine cellars, wine tastings, expositions of modern sculpture and architecture, and a unique Museum of Wine and Winemaking come together. The mission of the Culture Center is the promotion of winemaking as a centuries-old national tradition and cultural legacy of Ukraine, and the cultivation of respect for wine not only as a noble beverage, but an important and fascinating part of world history. SHABO WINE CULTURE CENTER, 10 SHVEYTSARSKA STREET, SHABO

OCTOBER 15-16 Sova Picnic: Harvest gathering

At the welcoming Brodsky estate, now the Gorky Sanatorium, we are gathering a spectacular harvest of autumn shopping, emotions, inspirations, songs and recipes! The scent of honey and hay, lunch in the garden, pink apples, rustling leaves, orange pumpkins, ripe grapes, soft earth, wicker baskets of presents, a fair-market alley, the music of autumn, а farmyard for our little guests, workshops for the entire family and long-awaited meetings with friends after the summer break! GORKY SANATORIUM 165 FONTANSKA STREET

OCTOBER 18 AT 7PM Lara Fabian

Lara Fabian is an artist whose name has long been associated with exquisite tenderness, femininity, sincerity and true professionalism. She has performed in Ukraine before, always selling out huge venues, with her fans singing along to the most romantic songs in this world: Je T’Aime, Adagio, Je Suis Malade… ODESSA SPORT PALACE, 31 SHEVCHENKO AVENUE


This artist’s image is entirely inimitable: a powerful voice combined with deep, intelligent eyes and an undeniable charisma melts the hearts of women and earns the respect of men. Garou’s vocal style is characterized by intense emotions, informed by very human struggles and experiences. For many, Garou is only associated with his starring role in Notre-Dame de Paris, but the musician has since established himself as a solo artist and now his unique voice conquers the hearts of audiences all over the world. ODESSA NATIONAL ACADEMIC OPERA AND BALLET THEATER, 1 CHAIKOVSKOHO LANE

During the autumn holidays we are boarding the largest new MSC liner for an exciting cruise of warm, sunny countries! We are taking along the resident of Comedy Club, part of the “Chekhov Duet,” comedy star Anton Lirnik. Together with well-known showman Ruslan Kostov and MC Macho’Man we have prepared an entertaining and educational program for adults and kids. Along the route, our participants will be accompanied by a professional photo-correspondent and cameraman. The cruise will feature themed photo sessions, the filming of the popular TV project Play Fashion, thrilling flash mobs, quests, master classes from Anton Lirnik, and a creative arts festival for our youngest travelers! ODESSA SEAPORT 6 PRYMORSKA STREET OCTOBER 23 “The Golden Autumn of Odessa”: Sri Chinmoy marathon

OCTOBER 21 AT 7PM Natalya Garipova “Independence Day” Stand-Up

All runners and adepts of a healthy, mindful lifestyle are invited to the traditional “alternative” marathon along Odessa’s Health Road! Stand-up or having a baby? Of course, stand-up! Because it would be ridiculous to invite you to a “I’m having a baby” tour of Ukraine… 8 cities, 60 minutes of stand-up humor and just one Natalya Garipova. The first ever solo stand-up tour in Ukraine: “Independence Day.” CONTEMPORARY CULTURE PALACE PORT 47/2 PRYMORSKA STREET

OCTOBER 21-29 “Humor holidays” with Anton Lirnik

OCTOBER 28 AT 7PM Perfect Wedding

This staging, based on the play by Robin Hawdon, has entertained and provoked audiences throughout Ukraine, made them laugh and cry and think! Which is not surprising, since the all-star cast does its best to make us kinder, wiser and happier than we were before the performance. ODESSA PHILHARMONIC HALL, 15 BUNINA STREET


Odessa Calendar

OCTOBER 28 Special film screening of “Bikes vs Cars”

the performance. The “Music of Love” concert, featuring J.Seven’s exciting renditions of worldwide favorite hits, will certainly leave a great impression on even the most discerning music lover. ODESSA PHILHARMONIC HALL, 15 BUNINA STREET

The bamboo tandem-bike adventure continues! Our friends Roland and Eve were so inspired by Odessa, that they decided to bring our city a gift – the acclaimed film “Bikes vs Cars” by Fredrik Gertten. The first Ukrainian screening of the film is organized by the “Fund for Odessa City Development” with the support of The Odessa Review. The premiere, by invitation only, will be attended by representatives of the city authorities, activists and Odessites who care about their home. After the showing, the audience will participate in a discussion on how we came to live in a world with this opposition between preferred modes of transportation, and what are its implications for the future. An additional screening, open to all, will be held on October 29th at the same location. CINEMA HALL, 15 VELYKA ARNAUTSKA STREET

NOVEMBER 10 AT 7PM Ian Gillan of Deep Purple

OCTOBER 29 AT 7PM From Israel with Love

J.Seven is a Russian musician from Israel who is a virtuoso of multiple instruments: saxophone, Spanish guitar, block flute and drums. J.Seven is distinguished by his active, artistic and extraordinary manner on stage: even though he is playing one of the most challenging instruments, he is able to communicate with the audience, dance and even jump during


energetic men and delicate women almost floating over the stage — the seemingly opposing styles fuse to create an unforgettable sight. MIKHAIL VODYANY ODESSA ACADEMIC MUSICAL COMEDY THEATER 3 PANTELEIMONIVSKA STREET

NOVEMBER 24 AT 7PM The Hardkiss

The Hardkiss are an independent band from Kyiv performing in English. The band’s genre is a symbiosis of rock, pop and electronic music which they themselves call “progressive-pop.” All songs are written by The Hardkiss members and founders: Julia Sanina and Valery Bebko. ODESSA PHILHARMONIC HALL, 15 BUNINA STREET Rock legend Ian Gillan is coming to Odessa with a concert where he will perform the classic hits of Deep Purple! With the participation of Don Airey Band and a symphonic orchestra under the direction of Stephen Bentley-Klein. Opening act: Papa Le Gal. ODESSA NATIONAL ACADEMIC OPERA AND BALLET THEATER, 1 CHAIKOVSKOHO LANE

NOVEMBER 17 AT 7PM Erisioni

The ensemble will present its legendary Georgian show in Odessa. One of the most high-budget musical and choreographic programs, it features more than 100 ballet and choir artists, modern lighting and sound, and most importantly — enchanting Georgian melodies, songs and dances. Even though Erisioni choreography contains traditional folk elements, their dances are always new and exciting for the audience. The austere,

NOVEMBER 25 AT 7PM Supercomedy “Lord of the Hearts”

NOVEMBER 23 AT 7PM Gleb Samoylov and The Matrixx with best hits of Agatha Christie

This fall, in the framework of a large tour of Ukraine, Gleb Samoylov and The Matrixx are bringing an exclusive program to 10 cities! In addition to the established hits and new songs of The Matrixx, the audiences will hear the best and most loved hits of the legendary Agatha Christie written by Gleb Samoylov. ODESSA PHILHARMONIC HALL, 15 BUNINA STREET

Performed by exceptional artists, this astonishing comedy is about an impudent crow and the difficult fate of a creator in a country where censure has triumphed. In the course of seven Japanese days and two Russian hours on stage, the crow will croak six times, Pavel Maykov will laugh once, but the audience will be laughing without stop — just try not to cry at the end! MIKHAIL VODYANY ODESSA ACADEMIC MUSICAL COMEDY THEATER 3 PANTELEIMONIVSKA STREET

Odessa Calendar

What’s On In Kyiv Molodist International Film Festival OCTOBER 22-30 The 46th Kyiv International Molodist Film Festival is taking place from 22 to 30 October 2016. Molodist is one of the greatest specialized film events in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, according to the International Federation of Film Producers Association (FIAPF). It is a priority platform in the region for presenting the latest and the most relevant film productions, covering the most high-profile events of modern cinema — both mainstream and experimental. The main objective of the festival is to promote the new Ukrainian cine and professional film world , with the competitive program representing professional and amateur film debuts.

OCTOBER 1 AT 11AM Street Food Festival — October. Eastern Europe

For the first time, from the 1st to the 2nd of October, Street Food Festival will start a gastronomic journey through Eastern Europe. The main emphasis is Ukrainian cuisine: so familiar, colorful and beloved by all of Ukrainians. At the beginning of the festival guests can experience the atmosphere of Sorochintsy Fair — artisan brands from all over Ukraine will come to present their home-made cheese, honey, milk, meat and beverages. Ukrainian medovuha and mulled wines will warm the cold autumn evenings no less than entertaining dances to folk motifs. ART FACTORY “PLATFORM,” 1 BELOMORSKA STREET

OCTOBER 2 AND 16 AT 7PM Les Podervianskyi’s “To Bathe or Not to Bathe?”

OCTOBER 5 AT 8.20PM Pre-premiere showing of “The Girl on the Train”

October 2nd and 16th, the Atlas club in Kyiv presents the premiere of “To bathe or not to bathe?” — a new work based on selections from the cult plays of scandalous Ukrainian artist Les Podervianskyi: “Hamlet, or the phenomenon of Danish katsapism,” “King Liter (tragedy),” “Pavlik Morozov” and others. About life and death, love and betrayal, this performance will be a mix of brutality, common sense, political satire and various allegories. The best bits from the immortal plays of the author will be put together by the talented actors of theater “K.R.O.T.”: Olena Repina, Olena Hizhna, Dmitro Oskin, Andriy Kronglevskiy. ATLAS NIGHT CLUB, 37-41 SICHOVYKH STRILTSIV STREET

“The Girl on the Train” is a 2016 dramatic thriller directed by Tate Taylor and based on the eponymous novel by Paula Hawkins. The screenplay was adapted by Erin Cressida Wilson. Every day Rachel takes a train that passes by a charming cottage inhabited by a seemingly perfect couple. But one day, the illusion is shattered and the woman in the cottage disappears. Rachel becomes involved in a very tangled tale, as she is the only one who saw from her train window something that was hidden from everyone else. UKRAINA CINEMA, 5 GORODETSKOGO STREET


Odessa Calendar

OCTOBER 6 Ukrainian E-Commerce Congress

NOVEMBER 3-5 NextSound festival 2016

E-Congress 2016 is a communication platform of a new format, determining the agenda for the near future, testing new ideas and business approaches, and presenting the best European and Ukrainian experience in the field of e-commerce. The exhibition brings together the leading companies of the e-commerce market, creating an opportunity to find a new partner or service provider, as well as obtain advice from renowned experts. OLIMPIYSKIY SPORTS COMPLEX, 55 VELYKA VASILKIVSKA STREET

OCTOBER 9 Wizz Air Kyiv City Marathon

Since 2010, the Wizz Air Kyiv City Marathon gives participants a chance to write their name in the sports history of Ukraine! The Kyiv Marathon is one of the most picturesque marathons in Europe. It unites thousands of runners from all over the world. Register and join the close-knit Marathon family!

The Hardkiss are celebrating their 5th anniversary with a big concert in Kyiv, taking place at Stereo Plaza. In the past 5 years, The Hardkiss have given more than 300 concerts, recorded and released about 25 tracks, presented 13 music videos and received 4 national Yuna awards. PERFORMANCE VENUE STEREO PLAZA, 17 KIKVIDZE STREET

The fourth festival of progressive music and digital art NextSound is taking place from November 3rd to November 5th. The festival will be opening the minds of visitors for three days, from Thursday to Sunday morning… Friday night will turn their conceptions of sound upside down, and all night from Saturday to Sunday their bodies will be moving in ritual dances released from the subconscious. NextSound 2016 will feature one of the most mysterious representatives of the techno stage, visiting Kyiv with his live performance for the first time — RROSE (USA). ART-CLUB CLOSER, 31 NYZHNOIURKIVSKA STREET

OCTOBER 27 Battle of the Orchestras

NOVEMBER 19-20 Courage Bazaar November

OCTOBER 22 AT 7PM The Hardkiss. Five

Battle of the Orchestras is a unique project by the Magic Box company, the only one of its kind in the world. The project started in 2015 — since then, the best orchestras of Odessa, Lviv, Mykolaiv, Kharkiv and Kyiv have met in the “ring.” In the near future, Battle of the Orchestras is also planning to invite the greatest European orchestras to the show. PALACE “UKRAINE,” 103 VELYKA VASYLKIVSKA STREET


Courage Bazaar is the biggest monthly flea market in Kyiv, brought to you by the creators of “The New Old” charity market. Two whole days of fun and “kurazh”! ART FACTORY “PLATFORM,” 1 BELOMORSKA STREET

Odessa Calendar

What’s On In Lviv Lviv Fashion Week OCTOBER 24 – NOVEMBER 1

Lviv Fashion Week takes place twice a year and is one of the most prominent fashion events in Eastern Europe. Since their start in 2008, Lviv fashion weeks have attracted many eminent representatives of the fashion world, and were attended by special guests like Kenzo Takada, founder of the KENZO brand; founder and former president of the Jean Paul Gaultier company and grey cardinal of the fashion world Donald-Potard; famous Russian couturier Vyacheslav Zaytsev. In addition to fashion shows, Lviv Fashion Weeks feature exhibitions of modern art — painting, graphics, and photography that augment the creative atmosphere of the event.

OCTOBER 7-10 OOPS! We Lviv it again! AEGEE-Lviv: Bears Edition

featuring: sightseeing and city tours; Ukrainian and German culture, languages, cuisines, traditions; Lviv museums; fun workshops; city- and pub quests; unforgettable parties; getting to Chișinău together with us and so much more!

NOVEMBER 11-13 Lviv Candles Festival

OCTOBER 14 AT 1PM XI Lviv Chocolate Festival

Polar bears in Lviv? Sounds stupid? No, it is just another unforgettable pre-event by AEGEE-Lviv and AEGEE-Aachen. This time we are not only going to show you all the beauty and charm of Lviv, but together with some cute polar bears you will explore much more during 4 awesome days with lots of fun activities. AEGEE-Lviv and AEGEE-Aachen invite you to join our pre-event to Agora Chișinău

The sweetest celebration in the country: 5 days of chocolate delectation! Enjoy the atmosphere of seemingly endless chocolate variety, master classes from the best chocolatiers, and spend a weekend in chocolate-lovers heaven!

The Candles Festival, taking place from the 11th to the 13th of November, will create an atmosphere of comfort, romance and effortless communication on Lviv’s beautiful and historic Muzeina Square. Under the open sky, right in front of festival visitors, artists will create an unusual sight — a candle mosaic. Also, visitors will be able to take part in master-classes on candle making and decoration: everyone will be able to create a unique candle with their own hands. During the entire event, Lviv Candles Manufactory is having a 20% sale on all their merchandise. Entrance to the festival is free of charge! LVIV CANDLES MANUFACTORY, 1 MUZEINA STREET


Odessa News

Odessites Will Be Able To Fly To The United Arab Emirates More Often From September 22, 2016, the airline flydubai is increasing the number of flights from Odessa to Dubai up to three per week. The new flight will be operated on Thursdays, leaving Dubai International Airport at 10.35 AM and leaving Odessa International Airport at 3.55 PM. Currently, flights are operated on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Flight time is 4 hours 45 minutes from Odessa to Dubai, and 5 hours 15 minutes in the opposite direction. The flights are serviced by Boeing 737-800 NG.

Rescue Icebreaker Ship Designed In Odessa Named “Ship Of The Year” By German Magazine The multipurpose emergency support icebreaker vessel “Murman” has been named by the German professional magazine “HANSA” as “Ship of the Year.” For this recognition, awarded every year since 1982, the magazine selects the best ship built in Germany. As reported by Dumskaya, “Murman” was built at the Nordic Yards Wismar GMBH shipyard, but the technical documentation was developed at the Odessan Marine Engineering Bureau. The ship was launched on January 18th 2015. The vessel has an unlimited navigation area and is equipped with an icebreaker stem. It can be utilized for patrolling, emergency and rescue support in areas dangerous for navigation and fishing, marine oil and gas extraction industries, transport operations in ports, search and rescue operations, evacuation of people and provision of medical assistance, and a number of other purposes.


Odessa News

The Grushevsky Library In Odessa Converted Into A Creative Hub Space The restored Grushevsky Library has been officially reopened — the updated reading room is now a creative Hub which provides an innovative “third place” (a space aside from the home and the workplace) where Odessites can spend time productively. The restoration project, an initiative of the charitable foundation “Na blago Odessy” (“For the good of Odessa”), included the renovation of the library hall and reading rooms, a reinforcement of the foundation, and a reconstruction of the library stacks. The Odessa State Scientific Library of M.S. Grushevsky was first opened on June 13th of 1875. Today, the renovated library can serve as a reading space, but also as a location for talks, master classes, and presentations.Interestingly, 25 years ago, the Grushevsky Library first initiated a project called “Libraries against solitude” which was implemented in all Odessa libraries. The goal was to make the library a center for communication, and to promote understanding between different generations.

Ukraine Demonstrates Sensational Results At The 2016 Paralympics In Rio De Janeiro The XV Summer Paralympic games took place from the 7th to the 18th of September of 2016 in Rio de Janeiro with 528 medals contested in 22 events. The National Paralymic Committee reports that the Ukrainian 2016 Paralympic team showed sensational results, winning 117 medals: 41 gold, 37 silver and 39 bronze, which is an increase of 33 total medals and 9 gold medals compared to the previous Paralympic games in London. The Ukrainian athletes set 22 world records and 32 Paralympic records in Rio de Janeiro. Also, four Ukrainian swimmers are among the best athletes of the 2016 Paralympics by number of gold medals won: Maksim Kripak in second place, Evgeniy Bogodaiko in fourth, Elizaveta Mereshko and Denis Dubrov in the top ten.


Odessa News

The Launch Of A New Music Award For Talented Musicians In Memory Of Jazz Man Yuri Kuznetsov

A new music award has been launched in memory of Yuri Kuznetsov: eminent musician and composer, president and founder of the Odessa Jazz Fest international music festival, teacher and producer, who died on May 2 of this year after a prolonged illness. The news is announced by the press-office of the Odessa State Regional Administration, where the award was established. The prize is created with the goal of supporting and recognize “musicians accomplished in the performance of national and world jazz music, as well as with the purpose of popularizing the art of jazz and exposing creative youth to modern jazz music.”


The competition takes place in two categories: instrumental music (soloists, small jazz ensembles, big bands) and vocal music (soloists and vocal ensembles). The winners are to be selected from jazz performers 8 to 23 years old who had distinguished themselves in the year between festivals. A total of four prizes will be awarded, each worth 10,000 hrivna. Young performers pursuing the art of jazz improvisation will not only obtain a financial approbation of their hard work, but also their name announced from the stage and the unique opportunity to perform for the large audience of one of the most influential Ukrainian jazz festivals.

The first prizes were presented on September 23rd in the framework of Odessa Jazz Fest 2016 and the Memorial Evening for Yuri Kuznetsov. The festival founder’s memory was also honored by friends and colleagues with a sympho-jazz project “Cinema music of Yuri Kuznetsov” created by vocalist, arranger and composer Tamara Lukasheva, and performed by Ukrainian jazz musicians with the Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Igor Shavruk.

Odessa News

David Burliuk Memorial Plaque

Odessa retains the Soviet tradition and culture of putting up wall plaques and memorials for the many remarkable figures who were born in the city or created things in it. Though the official recognition and commemoration of great artistic and literary figures is often overshadowed by that of politicians and say World War two era generals. Happily, one such omission was rectified on this past Odessa City Day in September with the opening of a commemorative plaque the famous artist and poet David Burliuk, who is also known as the father of Russian futurism The unveiling ceremony took place at Preobrazhenskaya Street 9, where David Burliuk and some members of his family resided in the beginning of the 20th century. This event was made possible through the initiative and financial support of philanthropist and Odessa Review columnist Eugene Demenok, who is also a member of the presidential council of the Worldwide Odessite Club. Mr.

Demenok is currently writing a monograph about David Burliuk’s life, focusing on the time that his family had spent in Odessa. (In fact, The Odessa Review published a piece by Mr. Demenok on this very subject in our third issue). In the course of his research he had visited the Czech Republic and made acquaintance with Burliuk’s descendants from all over the world. Burliuk’s niece Yana Kotalikova came from Prague to Odessa especially for the opening of the plaque, and other members of the poet’s extended family from Canada and the United States also sent their greetings. The atmosphere of the opening was festive, many of Odessa’s artistic intelligentsia came out. Indeed, refined artistry had always run in the Burliuk family, many of whom had lived and exhibited their work in Odessa. David Burliuk himself attended the Odessa Art School twice, from 1900-1901 and 1910-1911 (the plaque is on the wall of the house where he had lived across the street), the second time he was accompanied by his

brother Vladimir Burliuk. His sisters Ludmila and Nadezhda Burliuk also exhibited their works in various locations throughout the city, and even the mother of this remarkable family, Ludmila Iosifovna, participated in the Izdebsky Salons under her maiden name of Mikhnevich. David Burliuk and his family had left an indelible mark in Odessan history no less than on the art history of Ukraine and Russia, just as Odessa had undoubtedly made an impression on their artistic minds. The commemorative plaque itself was created by the sculptor Alexandr Tokarev. It shows Burliuk in the midst of his creative work, with a palette, notebooks and pen, representing both his visual art and his poetry. Even though he is known to have had one eye and to have referred to himself with satire and deprecation in his writings, the plaque shows him as handsome and calm, confident and encouraging. It has the power to instill in the careful observer as well as the casual passerby the hope that all of Odessa’s talent will be remembered thus, continually inspiring young Odessan artists.


Odessa News

Ukraine’s Big Win In Paralympics Celebrated With Wine And Gifts In Odessa Region


This year, Ukrainian sportsmen have shown sensational results at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro winning 117 medals. At the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Ukraine came in third over all in the medal count. On October 3rd, Ukraine’s victorious Olympians and Paralympians visited the Shabo village to pick grapes and take part in a reward ceremony together with the Governor of the Odessa region Mikheil Saakashvilli.


17 Olympians and Paralympians, all natives of the Odessa Region, together with their coaching staff received greetings and gifts from the governor and celebrated the achievements of the successful Ukrainian sportsmen at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. “Today we picked grapes together with Odessa’s Olympians and Paralympians. Among all the cities in Ukraine, Odessans showed highest performance at the Olym-

pics in Rio,” explained the Georgian born governor. “It is another good reason to promote the wine industry and help hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian villagers engaged in it. Within the next few days the President is going to enact the bill to cancel outlandish taxes for small winemakers. Another reason to lift our glasses!” — Saakashvilli proclaimed at the ceremony. Report by Alexandra Gutsol.

Odessa News

60 Years Of Odessa Television

playwrights, screenwriters, theater and cinema directors were attracted to the new medium — writing scripts, creating original programming, inviting interesting studio guests. A few times a week, Odessites could see living images on their tiny television screens and it was a miracle, a communal event. Broadcast relay lines connected Odessa to the rest of the country only around the end of the 1950’s, at which point Odessa television became officially registered through a governmental decree. It quickly went national. Now its programming could occasionally be seen in Kyiv and even Moscow, reaching all of the Soviet Union.

In a modern world filled with screens of all sizes, from enormous digital billboards to the tiny phone displays constantly streaming programming from thousands of information sources, a world without broadcasting is nearly unimaginable. Yet the world was not always this way. Television first came to Odessa 60 years ago, in 1956. Of course, Moscow and Leningrad had television broadcasting since before World War II, and Kyiv television had been on air since the early 1950’s, but without regular programming in the early days. With its signature cosmopolitan outlook and an ambition to be in the vanguard of cultural trends, Odessa could not stay behind for long. In Odessa, the enthusiasts of the young science of broadcast engineering, both professors and students, found a home in the department of Radio and Television at the Odessa National Academy of Telecommunications. They were working on making a signal go from one building to another, and upon succeeding with that, built their own television camera from scratch. The

construction was very large and heavy. The viewfinder was turned upside down and moved along rails in a small room, but it worked and it was time to go on air. With the technical challenges conquered, the questions of content and presentation became imperative. The work of television presentation was new and completely unknown. An open call for a television presenter was made, with well-known theater and cinema directors and actors sitting on the selection jury. The position was finally filled when the radio and television engineers brought in their friend Nelly Harchenko, a student of the Philology Department at Odessa University, who passed with flying colors and became the legendary first Odessan TV presenter. For more than a year, Odessa TV was not a registered, let alone a national, channel and aired locally, fueled entirely by the passions of the young people who worked there. There was little opportunity to learn from professionals at first — Moscow and Leningrad television was far away, and foreign TV programming was, of course, entirely unavailable in the Soviet Union. Eventually,

Of course, being an officially recognized Soviet broadcasting channel also meant heavy editing and censure, with scripts going through the proper ideological channels before being allowed on air. Also, for a long time videotaping, although invented at the end of the 1950’s, was prohibitively expensive, and most TV programming was live. In the context of Soviet censure, that meant constant issues with “improper” presenter behavior, “incorrectly” buttoned shirts and “laughter on air.” Eventually, with the break up of the Soviet Union, independent TV channels started appearing. Television became commercialized and politicized; outright censure was replaced by controversy and vested interests. The pure, inquisitive enthusiasm of the early television days was, perhaps, forever lost. Today, Odessa is remembering the beginnings of an innovative media source 60 years ago, but new cultural frontiers are constantly emerging, and Odessites should be fully expected to be on the forefront of those, again. As ever.


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13th Annual Yalta European Strategy Forum In Kyiv The annual conference once again gathered world and Ukrainian elites for high level discussions of political and economic problems.

Though the Yalta conference had shifted to Kyiv’s Mystetski Arsenal after the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula, where it was previously based, the conference continues to become ever more important with every iteration. This year gathering hundreds of dignitaries. This was the third year in a row that the conference was being held in Kyiv, and the guest list was longer than ever. As usual, the event was organized by the Ukrainian businessman and philanthropist Viktor Pinchuk. Also usual was the fact that attendance was de de rigueur for Ukrainian political elites, analysts and journalists The mood of the conference was not grim, frightened and stoical as it had been in 2014, when it coincided with a successful counterattack by Russian backed separatists. Nor was it cautiously optimistic yet skittish, as it had been during 2015, when it coincided with the beginning of a terminal decline of trust in the cabinet led by Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.


The year’s most important Ukrainian political event was more boisterous than usual. In keeping with the sour mood gripping Europe, the most raucous panel, and the one that caused arguments that nearly turned into shouting matches, was the one that dealt with the future of Europe. The “Refugees, Populism, Brexit — Is the EU coming apart?” panel featured European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, former EU Parliament head Pat Cox, and the Munich Security Conference Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger. The panelists debated the issue of the possible disintegration of the European Union in the wake of the June 2016 vote by 52% of British voters to withdraw from the union. Half the assembled panelists thought that the European Union is on the verge of collapse. Yet another faction was of the opinion that Brussels was a bigger threat to Europeans the specter of the oncoming Brexit. Members of the audience intervened to accuse members of the panel of scaremongering. The refugee crisis had brought Europe

to the verge of destructions several panelists pointed out, while also insisting on the importance of integration to the future of the European Union. A British parliamentarian seated in the audience intervened to defend the popular will of the British people in the face of accusations of racism and Xenophobia. What was certain was that the undiplomatic emotions released by this portion of the forum demonstrated that Europe is facing an array of very serious and perhaps existential issues. President Petro Poroshenko delivered a very strong speech pledging to continue to hold a tough line with Moscow. The majority of his speech as well as his question and answer period were dedicated to discussing the necessity of confronting the issue of Russian expansionism. Poroshenko redoubled his stated commitment to the sanctions regime. The vigorous applause he received for that quieted down noticeably however when he spoke about his administration’s war against corruption, which seemingly pointed to a lack of trust in the current administration’s capacity to continue with reforms.

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The former United States House Speaker Newt Gingrich tried out for a possible cabinet role in a theoretical Donald Trump administration by claiming that the Republican presidential nominee would make a tough deal with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Implausibly, he also compared Mr. Trump to the legendary British statesman and diplomat Lord Palmerston. Former Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, a regular at the conference, made a stirring speech in defense of the power of globalization to help people, and called out those fighting against it as populists and nationalists. For many attendees however, the highlight of the conference came during the dinner when a surprise appearance by the movie star Kevin Spacey brought the entire political A-list crowd to their feet. Kevin Spacey’s character in a well known TV show is the American President Francis Underwood and in a surreal but very funny moment, Polish President Kwaśniewski stood up after and referred to him as his “dear colleague.” The guest appearance topped even last year’s popular speech by the pop singer Elton John.



odessa news

Mutiny And A Cinematic Rescue On The High Seas By Maxim Tucker A 5000-ton Turkish cargo ship is freed by Ukrainian special forces after it is taken over by a drunken and mutinous crew off the coast of Odessa.

Heavily armed and well trained tactical response teams, riding aboard the coastguard corvette “Pavel Derzhavin” as well as navy fast cutter, raced to intercept the vessel with weapons drawn “People were screaming and calling for help,” explained Andrey Stavnitser, a port terminal manager. “Obviously there was a riot and stabbing. Part of the crew had shut down the ship and barricaded themselves in.” MAXIM TUCKER

It was approaching midnight on a slow Sunday shift at Odessa’s coastguard control when the radio crackled into life. Suddenly, screaming and a string of panicked, barely intelligible Turkish filled the room. The transmission’s main message — SOS — could hardly be heard over the sounds of a violent struggle. The dispatchers were understandably stunned. A swift check of the broadcast with the Turkish consulate confirmed their worst fears. The 110-meter long, 5000-ton cargo ship Mehmet Unlu had been hijacked.


The Turkish vessel disappeared from radar on September 4th, eleven miles out from Odessa’s Southern Port. Several crew members had cut the ship’s power as it steamed from the port of Mykolayiv to Jordan carrying a valuable cargo of wrought steel. Dawn broke on September 5th with authorities still scrambling to respond and the ship drifted dangerously towards the jagged rocks along the Black Sea coastline. Faced with a daunting first ever hostage situation, Odessa’s coastguard decided to call in Ukraine’s special forces. A joint task group of the state security service’s elite “Alfa” unit, coastguard and emergency service personnel plotted a dramatic maritime rescue operation.

Heavily armed and well trained tactical response teams, riding aboard the coastguard corvette Pavel Derzhavin as well as a navy fast cutter, raced to intercept the vessel with weapons drawn, according to a statement from Ukraine’s Border Guards. A tugboat was dispatched to steady the powerless ship as it was buffeted by waves and to prevent it from running aground. Footage released by the security service shows commandos training automatic weapons on the deck of the Mehmet Unlu as they prepared to board it. Others scrambled over the side to assault the ship and overpower the hijackers. Rescued sailors said two of the 17-man Turkish crew had been drinking and complaining noisily until ordered to be quiet by captain Mehmet Eşkek. Cramped living quarters had caused tempers to fray early in the voyage and the exchange quickly became heated. The drunk men drew knives and grabbed a fire hatchet, slashing and stabbing several of the crew members.

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The two drunken mutineers commanded the captain to hand over the ship, but not before he had managed to get out the desperate SOS call. The armed men took four of their fellow sailors hostage, while the rest blocked themselves off in another part of the ship and gave vital first aid to their bleeding crew mates. After the Alfa squads had captured the mutineers and released the crew, paramedics rushed to stabilize three sailors who had suffered severe blood loss. They were admitted to hospital in “grave condition”, but have since recovered, authorities reported. Photos released by the Ukrainian security service in the operation’s aftermath show the ship’s cabin smeared in blood, doors shattered and bulkheads dented by frantic hatchet blows. Police have launched a criminal inquiry into “hijacking or taking over a sea vessel”, but refused to name the suspects. The charge carries a maximum term of 15 years in prison. The ship was brought in to berth in Odessa, but the owners of the Mehmet Unlu were swift to arrange a new captain and crew. At the time of writing it was docked in the Greek port of Thessaloniki as it continued its journey to Jordan.

“The chief engineer was tied up, hands and feet, and sprayed in the eyes with a gas canister,” captain Eşkek told reporters, bloodied and bandaged in his hospital bed. “They started savagely beating us on the head, arms and legs.”

Maxim Tucker is a British journalist based in Ukraine. He writes for The Times and has been published in the Guardian, Newsweek and Politico Europe. He previously worked as Amnesty International’s campaigner on Ukraine and the South Caucasus.



Culture Under Threat: The Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra As Case Study By Vladislav Davidzon Odessa’s storied Philharmonic Orchestra is an excellent institution that is sustained by the energies of its charismatic American conductor Hobart Earle. Short on critical resources, its problems are emblematic of those facing all Ukrainian performing arts and cultural institutions. This article first appeared in a slightly different version in The Atlantic Council’s New Atlanticist publication.


In the last two years, it has become routine to acknowledge that the Maidan revolution unleashed torrents of creative energy in Ukraine. Myriad articles have been written about the ferment of cultural activity taking place across every discipline in every major city in the country. Yet while this is doubtless true of many aspects of contemporary and youth culture, classic cultural institutions and performing arts groups continue to face many of the same problems they have faced over the past twenty-five years. The overwhelming political and economic constraints aside, Ukraine has not systematically prioritized the promotion of its culture outside the borders of the nation as other advanced countries do.


It is critical to remember that the Ukrainian state is constrained by budget shortfalls and an austerity plan mandated by the IMF. Eliminating corruption, reforming the judicial system, securing the border, and raising living standards for millions of people are certainly the highest priorities in the short term. But the human spirit cannot survive on security alone. In the long term, the transmission and reproduction of elite and high culture is of utter importance and should be counted among the nation’s existential priorities.

The Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra is a fine institution as well as being a representative microcosm of the universally shared problems plaguing all of Ukraine’s elite performing arts institutions. While the Ukrainian cinema and art sectors have their own unique problems (especially grave is that Parliament has not yet passed the law allowing for 30% tax rebates for foreign film production) all Ukrainian cultural institutions are constrained by similar problems with lack of capital, management issues and systematic corruption.

ODESSA OPINION Led by Venezuelan born American conductor Hobart Earle for the entirety of its twenty-five years of post-Soviet existence, the orchestra routinely functions at the highest levels on exceedingly limited resources. The first Ukrainian orchestra to cross the Atlantic and the Equator, it continues to tour the world and perform upwards of sixty-five concerts a year at home, continually producing original programming. Though the dictum of “De gustibus non est disputandum” remains in unimpeachable effect in Ukraine as elsewhere, discerning observers of the Ukrainian cultural scene have often judged the OPO to be among the premiere if not the most singular performing arts institution in the whole country. No other orchestra in Ukraine routinely fields ten double basses on stage, as they did in the beginning of September for a wonderful rendition of Alexander Scriabin’s third symphony. To Ukraine’s great credit, despite systematic financing issues, no national-level government-backed performing arts institution has ever folded since Ukraine’s independence day. However, Earle’s stewardship of a perennially underfunded orchestra is largely a testament to his administrative powers: it has survived this long without having been forced to make personnel cuts or having hemorrhaged staff. Ukraine’s federal budget does not provide for anything other than payroll, and like other cultural institutions, it is expected to make do and fend for itself. There are the occasional scares about budget cuts emanating from Kyiv; these are usually couched in the language of patriotism, calling for sacrifices in the name of defense.

Like many other concert halls and museums in the country, Odessa’s Philharmonic Hall is in dire need of restoration and repair. In the 90’s, Earle invited the renowned American acoustician Russell Johnson to appraise its quality. Johnson reported that “with full

scale restoration, this hall can rival the major concert halls of Europe.” A remarkable building in a prime location, it has been the target of repeated instances of rent-seeking by those who have access to the authorities. A historical monument under the jurisdiction of the Odessa Region, half of the building has been appropriated and has served as a casino since 1993 (gambling is currently illegal in Ukraine), with the revenues passing to unknown parties shielded by officials at the highest levels of the Odessa Regional State Administration. The collapse of the Soviet Union wrought catastrophic effects on cultural and performing arts institutions, whose work requires the mobilization of significant resources. A command economy was fairly apt at distributing costs and mobilizing economies of scale; during Soviet times, provincial orchestras could call on their colleagues in Moscow and receive precious sheet music free of charge. Needless to say, there is no one in Moscow who will do that today. Other Ukrainian orchestras will only waive the customarily hefty photocopy fees in exchange for sheet music they need themselves. Another loss from Soviet times is the sharing of solo performers. Talented soloists would be circulated all around the Soviet Union as due process, making sure that even far flung orchestras in the periphery of the Soviet bloc had relatively equal access to the world-famous stars of the Soviet musical scene. Like all of its Ukrainian contemporaries, the OPO’s touring of Europe and North America has always been funded by private money: cultural sponsors, private sponsorships, scattershot philanthropy, and concert presenters in the various countries visited. The Ukrainian government has no dedicated funding in its cultural budget for touring, and sending an entire orchestra abroad is a significant expenditure. “We probably have more guest artists on an annual basis than any of the other national performing arts organizations,” Earle explained “but there is no funding for that

from the federal budget. I use my reserve of good will and friendship in order to persuade people to come here and perform as guests. Pianists like Yefim Bronfman and Piotr Anderszewski, violinists like Sergey Krylov and Valeriy Sokolov have come here. There is a natural limit to how far that goes, however.” At the same time, an organic tradition of connoisseurship by the aristocracy and educated elites was quashed by the Russian Revolution, and the generation that was born since the dissolution of the Soviet Union has not had enough time to replicate centuries of lost cultural capital. A much debated “Law on Philanthropy,” which would allow for Western-style contributions to cultural institutions, remains to be tabled for a vote in parliament. Nor does the tax code yet permit for the sorts of deductions that American cultural institutions depend on. The OPO, like every other performing institution in the country, also has no endowment fund and no reserves for a rainy day, which Earle describes as a “revolutionary idea” for a Ukrainian cultural institution. However, if these were established, they would need to be created separately for individual organizations, as creating a single multi-purpose endowment fund for multiple cultural institutions would be an inefficient bureaucratic mess. It would also create many opportunities for gross misappropriation of funds. Despite the nation’s constraints and penurious situation, a great deal remains to be done in order to ensure the continuation of Ukraine’s high culture. A society is represented by its cultural institutions and a great country unabashedly deserves at least one great philharmonic orchestra.

Vladislav Davidzon is Editor in Chief of The Odessa Review



#IAmNotAfraidToSpeak (#янебоюсясказати): The Campaign Against Sexual Abuse In Ukraine By Sophie Pinkham Over the last several months, the Ukrainian taboo against speaking out against sexual violence has been broken. An American writer attends a landmark Kyiv protest against the impunity with which sexual violence is committed in Ukraine. Reporting for this story was funded by the Pulitzer Center.

On September 17th in Kyiv, Ukrainian activists — most of them young women — marched against gender-based violence, proceeding from Maidan square to the City Administration Building on Khreschatyk Street. With rainbow f lags and slogans like “my body, my choice,” the march was a far cry from Femen’s topless (and controversial) antics of yesteryear. Instead, it looked much like college feminist protests anywhere in the United States or Western Europe. This was no coincidence: Viktoria Korobkina, a 23-year-old student, told me that she had learned about feminism from classmates from other countries while studying abroad in China.

The march, which included participants from Kyiv’s leftist student movement FemSolution and the LGBTQ NGO Insight, built on the “I am not afraid to speak” (#янебоюсясказати) online movement of this summer, in which Ukrainians shared their experiences of sexual assault. The tidal wave of testimonials shocked many observers, and brought attention to the silence and shame that surrounds sexual assault in Ukraine. Ukrainian law enforcement, and society in general, has a particularly poor track record of responding to sexual and domestic violence, often blaming the victims and making excuses for the perpetrators; it is no surprise that many assaults go unreported, and are not vigorously prosecuted when they are.

The tidal wave of testimonials shocked many observers, and brought attention to the silence and shame that surrounds sexual assault in Ukraine



Onlookers’ response to the Kyiv protest was mixed. “Lots of women refused to take my fliers,” said Korobkina. “One said, ‘I don’t need that — I haven’t been raped.’ But another woman came up to me and asked for information about where to get help. She told me that her brother had been beating her for ten years.”


case and ending with the question, “Do heroes have the right to rape?” That she felt the need to conceal her identity while protesting such an obvious miscarriage of justice was another indicator of the special status enjoyed by pro-Ukrainian fighters, who are too often allowed to operate above the law.


The war in Donbas has added a frightening new dimension to Ukraine’s problem with sexual violence The war in the Donbas has added a frightening new dimension to Ukraine’s problem with sexual violence. Human rights groups have reported increased levels of sexual violence in the conflict zone, including reports of rapes of civilians by fighters on both sides of the conflict. Perhaps even more troubling has been the tolerant attitude of Ukrainian authorities to crimes committed by “heroes of the anti-terrorist operation.”

Several of the Kyiv protesters expressed outrage over a recent case in which a man convicted of the violent rape of a minor was given a suspended sentence and ordered to pay just 3000 hryvnia ($120) in “moral compensation.” There was no question that the defendant was guilty, but the judge ruled that his military service in eastern Ukraine constituted an extenuating circumstance— thus setting an alarming precedent. (The Kyiv Oblast Prosecutor’s Office later announced that it had appealed the ruling.) One protester’s sign read, “ATO hero, patriot, Cossack, family man…that’s not an excuse for rape!” A young woman with a bandana over her face carried a poster stating the details of the

Many of the police officers providing security for the protest were young women recruited during the internationally lauded post-Maidan police reforms. “It’s easier for a woman to talk to another woman,” said police officer Valentina Zalensko, when asked about how the presence of women in the police force might help improve the response to gender-based violence. “But every situation is different, and it’s easier to talk about problems than to solve them,” she added. Another officer, 21-year-old Anna, said that many women are still reluctant to report domestic and sexual violence; in these cases, she said, police offered referrals to the women’s rights center La Strada. It is to be hoped that the new police force will support specially trained women officers in responding to gender-based violence. But above all, Ukraine must make it clear that heroism is no excuse for rape.

Sophie Pinkham is an American writer specializing in Russian and Ukrainian culture and politics. She is the author of Black Square: Adventures in Post-Soviet Ukraine.



In Memory Of Babyn Yar On September 29, 1941, the Nazis carried out a massacre against almost 34,000 Jewish men, women, and children at the Babyn Yar ravine outside of Kiyv, which was at that moment a picturesque countryside known as the “Switzerland of Ukraine.” Ukraine solemnly commemorated the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Babyn Yar massacres in Kyiv in late September and in the beginning of October. The events honored the Ukrainians, Jews, Roma and Red army officers that were killed by the Nazi regime. The Ukrainian-Jewish Encounter, a Canada based organization focusing on building relations between Ukrainians and Jews, had been preparing for this landmark anniversary with its Ukrainian partners for the last couple of years. A fourpart program approached the subject of Babyn Yar in its broadest sense — in terms of the future, the past, through a proposed memorial space in remembrance of those who were lost, and with various artistic, scholarly and political projects.



The entire Babyn Yar park location has been refurbished and renovated and a new memorial to the Roma killed there had been erected as of last week. Ukrainian-Jewish Encounter, who have for several years been doing excellent work on fostering cooperation and dialogue on both the political and academic levels between Ukrainians and Jews, organized the lion’s share of the commemorative events. A week of events was inaugurated by a youth conference in Kyiv, and the German, Austrian, and Ukrainian governments all had their own programs, too. In fact, this year’s events have been so extensive that attending all of the various conferences, symposia, memorial gatherings, exhibitions, concerts, and dinners (these included at least 35 seperate events) would prove impossible for any one individual, even if they somehow managed to procure invites and speedy transportation to the most high profile events. Israeli president Reuven Rivlin arrived in Kyiv for an official state visit. With Israel’s head of state visiting, the Israeli national flag flew over government buildings and across the length of the central Khreshchatyk Boulevard. On Tuesday afternoon, Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, held three hours of hearings on the events of Babi Yar, which were attended by dozens of MPs, dignitaries, and the patriarch of the Ukrainian orthodox church. The hearings consisted of short parliamentary style several minute long speeches given by various MPs and political dignitaries. Ukraine’s Brooklyn-born Chief Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich was the first chief rabbi of Ukraine to have had ever spoken on the floor of the Ukrainian parliament. Also noteworthy was Kyiv Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman, blowing the Shofar (the Jewish ritual horn) on the podium, which was likewise a first on the floor of the Verkhovna Rada.

Dr. Ihor Shchupak of Tkumah, the Dnipro based Ukrainian Holocaust Research, Education, and Memorial Center, organized a program for youth dealing with the legacy of Babyn Yar. Young people from Ukraine, North America, Europe, and Israel were invited to participate in a series of town hall public meetings. The public lecture series, as well as the responses offered, addressed not only history and the Holocaust but also current challenges facing Ukraine and the world. A symposium for the academic community and the general public was also organized by Dr. Liudmyla Hrynevych. The symposium presented an important new volume entitled “Babyn Yar: History and Memory.” The book, published in both English and Ukrainian-language editions by the Dukh i Litera Publishers, was edited by Dr. Vladyslav Hrynevych and Dr. Paul Robert Magocsi from the University of Toronto. This collective monograph compiled by a distinguished group of Ukrainian and international scholars investigates Babyn Yar in all its various aspects. Beyond the historical accounts of what actually took place in Kyiv in late September 1941, the book covers Babyn Yar as symbol as well as and its reflection in fiction, music, film, and memoirs. The third component of the UJE’s program was the definition of a memorial space. A global competition, held under the auspices of the International Union of Architects and the National Union of Architects of Ukraine, reviewed submissions for the landscape design of a potential necropolis at Babyn Yar. The best designs were exhibited for consideration by Ukrainian society and authorities and two second prizes were awarded to Connatural + Glenn Pouliquen of France and Colombia and the architects Jana Petkovic, Nejc Lebar, Maja Valentic, and Milos Kosec of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The German government as well as the Wilson Center/Kennan institute also each held their own programs in the Ukrainian capital. The presidential administration also held a reception in the Mystetski Arsenal, which was attended by dignitaries, clergymen and politicians from all over Europe. Ukraine’s political and cultural elites also gathered on the morning of September 29th at the Taras Shevchenko museum for the signature of a “declaration of intent” to create a dedicated Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial and research center. Those businessmen present, such as Victor Pinchuk, Pavel Fuchs and Alfa group owners Michail Friedman and German Khan, pledged millions of dollars to the project, and they expressed the hope that it would be completed in time for the 80th anniversary commemorations in 2021. Finally, a memorial concert at the Kyiv Opera House engaged classical musicians from around the world, along with performers, symphony orchestra, and a choir from Ukraine. The featured soloists came from Canada, England, Israel, and Germany. The concert featured the remarkable Ukrainian conductor Oksana Lyniv, who works primarily in Munich, as well as the British opera singer of Ukrainian descent Paul Hunka. The concert’s program included a Jewish prayer by the composer Max Bruch, the Babyn Yar Kaddish Requiem by Yevhen Stankovych, and Brahm’s Requiem. The state sponsored events culminated with a massive event on the evening of the 29th, which featured a mournful (and very political) speech delivered by president Petro Poroshenko.


75th Anniversary Of Babyn Yar Commemorations Held In Ukraine By Maxim Tucker

The anniversary attracted elites from across Europe and around the world, with Ukraine’s politicians recognizing the need to properly mark the massacre and to break from the Soviet version of its history. Challenging those distortions has become increasingly important in the context of decommunization. President Poroshenko joined European Union President Donald Tusk, nine survivors and dignitaries from around the world on the evening of September 29th, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the largest Nazi massacre of Soviet Jews. The Babyn Yar massacres were not the only massacre of their kind committed on Ukrainian territory, but they have become symbolic of the “Holocaust by bullets” practiced in Eastern Europe by the Nazi occupiers. Almost 34,000 men, women and children were stripped naked and shot in a ravine outside of Kyiv between 28 and 29 September of 1941. Groups of ten were told to undress and ushered into the gully before being executed with machine guns. Thousands waited in line behind them, out of earshot and paralyzed by fear. “The tragedy of the Babyn Yar is a wake-up call for the whole of humanity,” said Mr. Poroshenko. “Any regime, which tramples human rights and freedoms, embodies a threat to our very humanity. That is why our solidarity today against Russian aggression is an investment in the security and prosperity of a common and united Europe.”

German soldiers detonated explosive devices to collapse the ravine walls when the massacre was over. Dead and wounded were buried alike. Survivors at the event described their experiences — some had survived the crush of bodies and earth, clambered out under cover of darkness and dodged Nazi searchlights to escape through the surrounding woods. The Wehrmacht captured Kyiv ten days before the massacre, but its advancing forces were caught out by a series of timed explosives left by retreating Red Army forces. Blaming the attack on the city’s Jewish population, the city’s military governor, SS and police decided to kill them all. The Jews of Kyiv were ordered to report to the designated sites with their valuables and documents, before being shepherded into the kill zone through a corridor of armed guards. The occupiers continued to use the site as a mass grave throughout the war, slaughtering as many as 150,000 Soviet soldiers, Jews, Ukrainian nationalists, Roma and people with disabilities before Soviet forces retook Kyiv in December 1943. Often they were aided by local Ukrainian collaborators, a fact which is still bitterly contested by some in contemporary Ukraine. “Many of these crimes were committed by Ukrainians,” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin reminded Ukrainian lawmakers on September 27 during a special secession of the Verhovna Rada devoted to the anniversary, before cutting short his trip to at-

tend the funeral of his predecessor, former Israeli President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres.”They victimized the Jews, killed them, and in many cases reported them to the Nazis.” In contrast with previous governments, who largely downplayed the anti-Semitic nature of the killings and focused on the murder of Soviet or nationalist troops, the Poroshenko administration has helped the raise the profile of Babyn Yar’s Jewish victims. “This conference is an incredibly important opportunity for Ukraine to come to terms with its difficult past. Babyn Yar was one of Second World War’s earliest instances of the “Holocaust by bullets,” explained Peter Zalmayev, Outreach Coordinator for Ukrainian-Jewish Encounter International and a board member of the American Jewish Committee. His Canada-based NGO organized many of the week-long activities and events. “By honoring the massacred Kyivan Jews as the primary and main victims at Babyn Yar, Ukraine is making the necessary corrective to the Soviet crime of omission, whereby the victims’ ethnic identity was left vague.”


Peter Zalmayev Speaks With Timothy Snyder Professor Timothy Snyder of Yale University and the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna is one of the world’s leading scholars on the history of Eastern Europe and the Holocaust. His 2010 book “Bloodlands” established him as one of the preeminent historians of his generation. Snyder’s other books include “Thinking the Twentieth Century” co-written with the late historian Tony Judt. During this years Babyn Yar commemorations Snyder gave keynote speeches and talks at several of the memorial conferences devoted. A spokesman of the Canada based organization Ukrainian-Jewish Encounter, Peter Zalmayev, is also director of the Eurasia Democracy Initiative, an international non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of democracy and human rights in post-Communist transitional societies. He spoke with Snyder about the future of Ukraine after Snyder’s keynote speech at the official Symposium. Zalmayev is a contributing writer for The Odessa Review and previously wrote about his quest to collect the works of Bruno Schulz in every language that they have been translated into.

Peter Zalmayev (PZ): There are bones of the dead throughout Ukraine, from both Soviet and Nazi crimes, and you wrote about it in your Bloodlands: what has this fact done to Ukrainian politics and consciousness? How do you see this process of coming to terms with a difficult past playing out in present-day Ukraine? Timothy Snyder (TS): Three quick points. The first is: these decisions belong to Ukrainians. The decision about how your treat the past is a very important of how you become a nation. And so Ukrainians when they confront the difficulties of the past they also confront the difficulties of the future. Second. In a horrible way the fact that Ukrainian history is so full of bloodshed can make conversation easier because there’s so many parties who have a claim to suffering. If there was just one or two, sometimes that’s hard. But in Ukraine, I tend to think that Jews and Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians and people from families who suffered under terror or families of Soviet prisoner of war. There are all these different points of view and that might in fact make conversations easier.

Third point. I think the way to go wrong is to choose one opposition that excludes the others. So, for example, Ukrainians have indeed been victims at many points in the 20th century, but the moment you claim that Ukrainians are the only victims, you not only making an intellectual mistake, I think you are also making a moral and political mistake. Because that kind of story excludes people, it makes enemies, it also makes the construction of a modern political society much harder. PZ: You have written much about the Kremlin’s propaganda hacks attempting to paint Ukrainians as anti-Semites. How much of a phenomenon is it in modern day Ukraine? How does it compare with anti-Semitism in Western Europe? TS: Look, I’m not an expert on anti-Semitism, but my sense is that you are pretty much within the statistical norms of modern European societies. I guess a different way to approach the question would be to ask about the success of right-wing political parties. Where in Ukraine it’s actually striking that the far right does less well than almost in any West European society.



PZ: There are several positions currently regarding what to do about the Donbass. The official government position is that it is Ukrainian territory and Ukraine needs to reclaim it. Then, there’s the position (held by thinkers such as Professor Alex Motyl of Rutgers University, and my former instructor at Columba) that the Donbass is like a malignant tumor and Ukraine had better get rid of it sooner rather than later. What is the best course, in your opinion, for the Ukrainian government to pursue? What is the lesser of two evils: keeping the region in the condition of frozen conflict or cutting it off resolutely?


There was this odd moment during the time of the Presidential and parliamentary elections of Ukraine in 2014 where, the Presidential elections happened on the same day as the European parliamentary elections, which were almost dominated by far right populist parties. Whereas the same kinds of parties in Ukraine got very, very, very small percentages. Which isn’t to say there isn’t a lot of potential, there is. The basic conclusion is that Ukraine is a fairly normal country. What Ukraine still has to do among other things is figure out how to talk about the Jewish past. I think the commemorations of this last week are a very good start. PZ: You have written about the Republican nominee Donald Trump and the climate of “non-factuality”. Whether Trump wins the elections or not, there is a case to be made that he’s already won by rewriting the rules of political discourse in the US. How do you see this phenomenon playing out in the near future? What are the implications for our region, Central/Easter Europe, and, specifically for Ukraine? Are we facing a scenario similar to 1913? Or the early 1930’s? How likely is the new world war and how soon?

TS: Well, in general I think that post-factuality is pre-fascism. When we think of post-factuality, we think of post-structuralism, and then we think of French theorists, and then we think of Paris and we think of nice things. When we think of post-factuality we should really be thinking of fascism, because it’s the fascists who directly attacked the enlightenment and said “experience is more important than truth, will is more important than discussion.” And so, if you take an extreme post-factual view, doesn’t make you a fascist, but it’s putting you much closer to that position than I think we really recognize. So yeah, it makes one concerned. Politically, I do see things shaking out in the West as between where factuality is the main cleavage. Where post-factuality is in Russia for the time being, it’s making a good run for it as you see in the United States. It’s also present in populisms in between, so I’m kind of wondering what’s going to happen, whether the new main division of politics won’t be right and left, which is out of date anyway, but something like facts/no facts.

TS: I’m not going to answer that directly because I’m not Ukrainian, and I wouldn’t like it if Ukrainians told me whether or not to keep parts of the United States, which I might or might not like. I’ll make a more general point which is that I think the reunification of Ukraine and the Donbas, or even Ukraine and Crimea, is going to be a long-term historical process. It doesn’t depend upon decisions we make right now. I think Ukraine will again return to its 2013 borders when the Ukrainian state is a much more attractive place to be than it is now. I think a useful analogy is actually with Germany. I think the way to understand German reunification is not that people suddenly made decisions in 1990, but that over the course of several decades one model prevailed over a different model. So when we think about Ukraine reforms, you can’t use the war as an excuse not to reform. On the contrary, you have to reform because you’re going to win with your model. You’re not going to ultimately win with your weapons, but you will win with your model.


In Search Of Mykola Bazhan’s Legacy On The Eve Of The Babyn Yar Commemorations By Lev Fridman Mykola Platonovich Bazhan (1904-1983) was one of the greatest Ukrainian poets of the twentieth century. He cemented his literary reputation in the 1920’s as a leading figure in what came to be called Ukraine’s “Executed Renaissance.” A young Jewish — American writer and poetry translator whose family has Ukrainian roots relays his principled quest in unearthing the history of Bazhan’s great Babyn Yar poem. In the west Bazhan’s life and literary work lack the recognition that they deserve, yet they are existentially important as a paragon of positive Jewish-Ukrainian relations. Myroslav Shkandrij also contributed to this article.

The year 1983 was the first year of my life and it was also Mykola Bazhan’s last. That year marked the end of a lifelong quest by this extraordinary man to battle the inhumanity of the Soviet regime that he detested and the last chance that he could have to speak up for those who could not speak up for themselves. Central to this mission were Bazhan’s untiring attempts to commemorate the unfathomable events that occurred 75 years ago last month: the massacre of Ukrainian Jews at Kyiv’s Babyn Yar, then a bucolic suburb of the city, that inaugurated the killing of a total of 100,000 people there. Directly after the communist revolution, the young Mykola Bazhan was associated with avant-garde groups influenced by futurism, constructivism, and expressionism and wrote screenplays while also editing the journal Kino (Cinema). His early book Budivli (Buildings, 1929) is an outstanding example of the most muscular verse of that period. It is syntactically complex, employs unexpected archaisms and highly original imagery, and demonstrates the strongest sentiments. It also explores the links between the present and the past, especially the Baroque or Medieval periods — which was also a distinctive feature of all Bazhan’s later writings. Mykola Platonovich Bazhan


In the 1920’s Bazhan maintained close contacts with a number of Jewish writers, most notably with Leonid Pervomaisky. During the Stalinist period, he was, like Pervomaisky and other prominent literary figures, required to write denunciations

the killing of over 33,000 Jews on 29-30 September 1941. Instead, it mentions the figure of 100,000, the total nomber of Jews and non-Jews murdered. As the censors no doubt required, the poem ends with a call for vengeance and the killing of German soldiers.

From the moment that I first discovered the poem, I knew that academic background would not be enough and that I would need to find the human connection between history and the living essence of the poetry of Jewish religious practices; we see such a denunciation in his poem “Getto v Umani” (Uman Ghetto, 1929). And yet the poem is ambiguous: It appears to be directed against religious fanaticism, but it also recognizes the power of faith. During the Second World War he was one of the many writers tasked with developing a patriotic literature in Ukrainian, something that the Soviet authorities demanded as part of the war effort. The idea was to produce a literature that tapped into national history, encouraging the struggle against oppressors and lamenting the victims of aggression. Bazhan produced the verse drama “Oleksa Dovbush” (1940-46), which described the legendary titular outlaw’s struggle against the authorities. Bazhan demonstrated Dovbush’s personal contacts with Jews and the solidarity felt between Jews and Ukrainians at large in 18th century Ukrainian/Polish borderlands. This new brand of patriotic literature was not allowed to particularize the suffering of any group, especially with depictions of the war’s victims, as Stalin had decreed that “the dead should not be divided.” Accordingly, specific mentions of the Jewish Holocaust, and of crimes committed specifically against Jews were omitted or downplayed. For this very reason Bazhan’s poem “Yar,” which is devoted to the Babyn Yar massacre and was published in the collection V dni viiny (In Days of War, 1945), does not specifically mention

In later years Bazhan became a mentor to a number of younger writers, including Moisei Fishbein, another prominent Ukrainian Jewish poet. In 1968 he produced another great poem, “Debora: Z knyhy Umanskykh spohadiv” (“Deborah: From the Book of Uman Memories,” 1968). It tells the story of a young woman from Uman, an acquaintance of the poet, who is raped during the revolutionary upheaval of 1918-20, and is later killed in Babyn Yar in 1941. The poem is a moving requiem for murdered Jews and the lost civilization of Uman, a town Bazhan knew well, in which Jews and Ukrainians had lived side by side and influenced one another for generations. (Ed: This poem will appear


pogrom of 1919 were practically wiped off the map along with the town by the Nazis on the eve of Yom Kippur 75 years ago, the same night that the killing at Babyn Yar had begun. The circumstances of my birth availed me of my native Russian and of memories of a Soviet childhood in Moscow with some fragmentary knowledge of Judaism prior to the emigration of my family to the United States a quarter century ago, but Yiddish and Ukrainian, these were taken from us. From the moment that I first discovered the poem, I knew that an academic background would not be enough and that I would need to find the human connection between history and the living essence of the poetry.

Perhaps it is no surprise that my deep interest in the poem was rooted in my own family history for the first time in English in this issue of The Odessa Review, translated and introduced by the scholar Myroslav Shakndrij). Perhaps it is no surprise that my deep interest in the poem was rooted in my own family history. My family lost many parts of itself over the last hundred years. My mother’s family lived in the shtehtl of Felshtin (also known as Hvardiyske), some 80 miles outside of Chernivtsi. Those Jews who survived the

So, I made my first call to Kyiv. It was my first time hearing the sonorous Ukrainian language spoken in real life, as I explained in Russian to very patient, bemused and unsuspecting interlocutors that I was calling from New York City about a Mykola Bazhan poem written in the 1940’s. Those were very powerful conversations and my correspondence with many of the people that I first met then continues to this very day. They


described to me a different man from the one whom I had imagined from my reading between the lines, but still not the same one who is presented to the world by Soviet historians. I spoke with his friends, colleagues and also Bazhan’s grandson. Every time the name was heard and my intent was (eventually) made clear, a sigh of relief and tones of pride and vindication became as tangible as they could ever be over a phone line. Ukrainians understood the importance of Bazhan’s work and I was repeatedly praised for what I was doing and what I intended to do.

Some of the most poignant conversations were held with Natalia V. Kostenko, who spoke with a great deal of personal and intellectual authority. She described a powerful, humble man, “woundable but internally free.” We spoke of his identity and how he suffered a death by a thousand cuts at the hands of the Soviet Regime, as well as about how much Bazhan despised anti-Semitism. When we got to the subject of Babyn Yar and the poem, it became harder to speak and we agreed that we were dealing with themes of humanity and insane sorrow and pain. The man Natalia knew was driven by the former and did what he could to convey the latter. From the first moment that I first saw Bazhan’s poem, I wanted to share it with the English speaking world. Yet all my arduous historical digging and research yielded the revelation that I was not the first person with this impulse.

I was in fact the second. From Marta Tarnawsky’s “Ukrainian Literature In English,1966-1979, An Annotated Bibliography” I learned that a certain individual, with the improbable name of Peter Tempest, had already published a translation of Bazhan’s poem in an obscure journal called the “Ukrainian Canadian” in 1977. With the help of Marta’s son Maxim Tarnawsky, I was able to acquire this rare translation in an edition of the original magazine. My search led me to Peter’s son, Dr. Richard Tempest, a professor of Russian at the University of Illinois, who revealed more details about his enigmatic father. Peter Tempest was born in 1924 in the northern English town of Bradford, and had served with the Royal Air Force during World War II.


In our correspondence Richard also told me that while he had never seen this translation, he knew that his father had created English versions of Ukrainian language poems via their Russian translations and literal transliterations (the so called “podstrochniki”) and that he was sure that his father did not speak any Ukrainian. I had hoped that the translation from 1972 was a direct one from Ukrainian and that now once it had been unearthed and returned to the family of the translator it could be presented to the English speaking world as a representation of Bazhan’s legacy. But in all good faith towards the work and toward Tempest himself, that could not be done. The translation itself is dated, contains critical typos and was not produced by a person who spoke the language in which the poem had been written. I knew that I had to press onward.

He followed his father, a wealthy industrialist, into the British Communist party. After graduating from the University of Oxford, he joined the staff of the party newspaper, The Daily Worker. He also developed an interest in literary translation, with a focus on contemporary Bulgarian and Soviet poets. In 1961 Tempest traveled to Moscow where he served as The Daily Worker’s correspondent. In the 1970’s and 1980’s he was employed by the semi-official news agency APN and taught English literature at Moscow State University, while continuing his work as a translator. A published poet himself, Tempest always strove to retain the meter and rhyme pattern of the original when rendering it into English.

Other important poems and works were written about Babyn Yar in the 1940’s and my research indicates that much has yet to be discovered I brought Bazhan to Richard as well as his father’s role in helping light break through the iron curtain. This project has been one of returning a man back to his people. Richard was taken aback by the original text as well as his father’s work in the late 1970’s to translate it to the world at large. His father had been to Kyiv to report on the fact that a monument to Babyn Yar would in fact be built by the Soviet regime at the site of the atrocities, even with the caveat of its infamous rendering of Jews as minor vic-

tims. His family was acquainted with the infamous Soviet poet Yevtushenko, who had written the most widely known Soviet work on Babyn Yar, but Richard’s father never spoke of any of it. Richard Tempest told me, “I had not been aware that he had translated Bazhan’s poem, but I immediately recognized my father’s unique poetic diction. And as his son, I was moved that he had contributed to the commemoration of that terrible tragedy.”

During the Second World War he was one of the many writers tasked with developing a patriotic literature in Ukrainian, something that the Soviet authorities demanded as part of the war effort

I began looking for help. I was looking for someone with the necessary skill set to translate the poem and/or revise the work of Peter Tempest, someone who actually knew the Ukrainian language and did not just intuit it the way that Russian speakers do based on the sonic and grammatical similarities. This was the only way that I could perceive the poem and I myself could not take on the job of putting it faithfully into English. In the wake of my concerted efforts, several translations from a pair of prominent Slavists were written and each was very different in tone and sensibility. Each had unique virtues. For myself, I continue to maintain a deeply held ideal that one only truly feels the richness of a work in another language when one sees the different ways that it can be interpreted by those who speak that language. Bazhan’s life was so rich and nuanced and so censored that his literary and political rediscovery merits as many lenses as the eye can accommodate. The two translations (several others are either complete or in process of completion at the time of this publication) are important representations of the original intent and feel of the poem. The first foregrounds the horror of its imagery in stark, minimalist lines and the second modernizes the poem for an Anglophone audience, adopting a looser rhythm.


This work, Bazhan’s reflection on Babin Yar, is not unique, even if it is exceptional. Other important poems and works were written about Babyn Yar in the 1940’s and my research indicates that much has yet to be discovered. We still have many literary rediscoveries to make. But we must not forget those who compel us to remember. Let us restore Bazhan’s place at the proverbial fathers’ feast, and place his name back in our collective registry of the righteous. The living memory of the Holocaust is ebbing away as the last witnesses enter the twilight of their years and I take no pride in discovering this work and helping to bring it back into the world on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the firing up of the flaming pit where it was written. To this day I wish I had never come across it. If anything, I would have preffered that my family bring it to me, as they had so much other literature cataloguing what must never be forgiven and excised from collective consciousness. We often hear the Hebrew phrase “don’t forget, don’t forgive” and two years ago I found it written in Ukrainian by a man who walked on the ashes, and did all he could do to sound the call to all of mankind. He was the one who brought reporters from the New York Times, Newsweek and Moscow Daily Worker to the site, wrote a poem which he knew might see only the fading light of day. It is my conviction that words hold a critical context for future generations. Here are Bazhan’s words in tandem with the actions described above from the fall of 1943:

“There, on the outskirts, the most nightmarish ravine of our planet was gaping through the rows of charred human bodies mixed with yellow sand — that was Babyn Yar... At the time we knew of neither Auschwitz, nor Treblinka, nor Dachau, nor Buchenwald. And one of the foreign reporters who I brought to Babyn Yar in the first days after the liberation of Kyiv, uttered, trembling and suffocating. I am standing in the most terrible place on this Earth.”

I also maintain a belief in Bulgakov’s famous conceit that great manuscripts do not burn. Bazhan and I shared only a brief moment of time in the world, my first breath and his last, but I draw sustenance from it. Bazhan saw inhumanity and wrote about that which burnt his lungs, filled his eyes with tears and impelled another act of righteousness. The lesson of both his work and his life was that inhumanity must be fought with the knowledge of what came before us, the recognition of what is in front of us, and the readiness to answer the call of justice should it ever come.

Lev Fridman is a practicing Speech-Language Pathologist in New York City, he has a B.A. in Comparative Literature and Russian Language and Literature from Queens College. He was one of the authors of “New Translations” volume of Osip Mandelstam’s poems compiled by the Ugly Duckling Presse.


Rust-colored cavity, green clay, rotting garbage, moats. In terror of itself the wind enters the lungs, the wind of rusted badlands. Do not pale, nor shrink, nor shudder — Stand as if facing judgement! Upright — like a warrior- stand! There is no oath sufficient to swear, There is no curse sufficient to lay. Just a ravine, ragged and unkempt, The trembling branches of two pale aspens. This is not silence! This — the Ceaseless scream of a hundred thousand hearts, the dying wail of all hope lost. Silver ashes of burnt bones. A cracked shard of cranial bone. The walls of the ravine crumble. Two golden braids аslither from а hole, no rot, no hiding for the golden curls. In the moist sludge between steep walls the glimmer of а pair of crushed reading glasses, A child’s bloodied shoe decaying on its side. A terrifying mark of a hundred thousand putrefactions; The gley is fat with trampled shards of man. This is the place of scarlet fires, This is the place of brooks of tar, of colliers picking apart the corpses In search of gemstones and gold. Heavy, oppressive, insufferable smoke floats over the noxious ravine. It breathes death, breathes nightmare, a deaf monster crawling through the streets and creeping into houses. Black and scarlet flames wander along the land that lost its speech in horror, the bloody hues reflect on Kiev’s soiled roofs the bloody hues reflect on Kiev’s soiled spires. The city folk is watching from its sorry hovels how beyond the monastery domes, beyond the graveyard poplars burns human flesh and blood. Another gravely gust from the ravine — the soot of pyres of death the fumes of burning flesh. And Kiev’s ired face is gazing at Babi Yar writhing in flames. There is no remorse to quell this fire, No measure set for retribution still. Be cursed the one who dares forget! Be cursed the one who asks forgiveness!

A muddy, clay green pit, its ruddy void A rotted-out ravine, full of waste. They cut into your lungs, these ominous Putrid winds from far-off rustlands. Don’t flinch; don’t pale; don’t turn away. Stand tall, as though before a judge, a soldier. We cannot find the curses to condemn. The oaths — we cannot find the oaths to swear. Straightforward pit! Disordered pit, untidy, The branches of two white aspen tremble. No. Here among the dead it isn’t silent: A hundred thousand dying hearts are sobbing And human cinderbones burn silver. A person’s forehead, broken into bits. The crumbling slopes have slid into the void To coax a golden braid out of the pit. This twist of golden hair is delicate, Not buried by the earth, not turned to ash. And shimmering in the muddy, wet embankment An old man’s shattered pair of reading glasses. A child’s shoe, soaked in drying blood Is cast aside, abandoned, rotting. And buried underground, beneath the mud Are a hundred thousand moldering bodies. It’s slippery — this greasy clay, this flesh Of mangled, headless human carcasses. Here the angry tongues of fire hissed, Here folks fueled the raging flames with gas, But not before (the shame!) they’d searched each corpse, Treasure-hunting in the murdered mass. There rose, above the terrible ravine A heavy, suffocating smoke, Inhaling death, exhaling nightmares, choking Its way into the homes — a deaf-mute fiend. Lightning — purple-black and silent, flared Out across the horrorfrosted land. The suburb sank beneath its evil glare, Tarnishing the Kyiv households. And The people, from their mournful cellars, saw How, past the graveyard poplars, with their graves, And, past the domes of Cyril, with their wreathes, Their very flesh and blood went up in flames. The ash from deathfires, corpses charred. And Kyiv, angry Kyiv, witnessed this: As flames rose toward the sky from Babyi Yar. There is no penance for this kind of fire. There is no vengeance for this kind of murder. Damn the ones who say it’s in the past. Damn the ones who say, “Forgive, it’s over.”







Introduction To Mykola Bazhan’s “Deborah” Mykola Bazhan (1904-1983) was one of the great Ukrainian poets of the twentieth century. In 1968 he produced a great poem, “Debora: Z knyhy Umanskykh spohadiv” (Deborah: From the Book of Uman Memories, 1968). It tells the story of a young woman from Uman, an acquaintance of the poet, who is raped during the revolutionary upheaval of 1918-20, and is later killed in Babyn Yar in 1941. The poem is a moving requiem for murdered Jews and for the lost civilization of Uman, a town Bazhan knew well, and in which Jews and Ukrainians had interacted and influenced one another’s cultures for generations. This translation has not appeared in English before.

Myroslav Shkandrij is Professor of Slavic Studies at the University of Manitoba. He is the author of “Ukrainian Nationalism: Politics, Ideology and Literature, 1929-1956” and “Jews in Ukrainian Literature: Representation and Identity”


“Deborah: From The Book Of Uman Recollections” By Mykola Bazhan In memory of Deborah Feinshtein The field has a covering of dust. There is spurred rye on the path. Burdock. Blocs of silent, burned ruins, The angry thickets of destruction. Neither walls. Nor houses. Nor graves. Fields of sorrow. Decay. Crumbling piles of brick, The crooked teeth of metal, And my streams of recollection Tightly embrace the ashes. Give me your hand. Give a hand. We will walk over the burned ruins together In illumination, in torture, in suffering, In a wave of anxiety pierced by flame. Give me your hand, phantom, Give me your thin hand On the burned ruins of Uman. Here you are, standing by me, Gazing at the path you took. You have not changed at all After all these forty-eight years. Give me your hand. Through you I see hills and ravines — And my mother, and your rebbe Come to us from above, And you, like they, are transparent — An unsteady, delicate shadow, Shot here Deborah, Gazing into the distance. Give me your hand. Give me a hand, dead one! Give me your living hand — You reached out to us with it, Falling onto the grass, Gasping in silence, Dying in the ravine. I take your hand, Your sacred fingers, And together we walk again On the ancient highway, trodden for centuries, And again I read on your pale lips The slow verses of old poems. Thoughts with long arms, those ruthless Excavators of burial mounds, Run quickly through the years, Over the trampled continent. On a funeral bier they carry

An enormously heavy burden. Come out, Deborah, my phantom, Onto the path that is not phantasmic or vain. Stumbling in the ditches, Tangled in the clods of earth, Your bleeding legs scratched By the hard prickles Run past The smoky wasteland, And invisible clay walls, And destroyed households, And defiled ash-heaps, And dirt, and piles of waste metal, And visions of synagogues, And unforgettable hovels, And past the old church, With icons in silver dress, And past the church yard, Where by the well used by the haidamakas, Sunken into the mouldy, sticky clay, Still smoulder the fragments and brittle Bones, pock-marked like a flute, Of Gonta’s two children. Past the flames of the haidamaka uprisings, Past the spears covered in blood, Stuck into the square by the cloister, So that people pierced, convulsed, killed, Would roar from there through the whole town. Oh, Basilian cloister! Self-important, silent walls Above the hubbub of ancient public squares, Above the lamentation of recent ruins. Enter its stillness Mad carriers of the clamouring dead! Place by the white chapel vault Your black bier, your remains. And then let the flames engulf the decay, Let a miracle happen — and the light strike, And a recollection, like Lazarus, having overturned the bier, Will rise above the years, the walls, the clouds. Deborah! Be the first to enter my recollections — The sounds of your steps can still be heard there, The knocking of your wooden shoes, The enduring echoing of your piano, When you spread your thin hands To masterfully touch the elastic cord. You play and celebrate, dominate and praise Boldness, pursuit, energy, rebelliousness. And the music flies high, Searching for unknown octaves on the keys …


This is how it was. In an old monastery, In the white walls of the Roman Catholic church, Where the cross still hung And audacious swallows made their nests, Carpenters built a stage, Fitting the fragrant boards inch to inch, And with painted curtain rags Divided the monastery’s hall.

Your sorrowful father taught you Harmony. He taught, as best he could, Both mournful tones of the synagogue And quiet songs about flying snows Falling on the white breast of the dead With a trembling, parting sigh. In this way secretly your father taught you The essence of beauty: thirst and grief.

The travelling actors entered, Les Kurbas created his studio — And the tired, severe voice of Gonta, Pushkin’s bright octets, Oedipus’s alarmed choruses, And Macbeth, marked by the apparition of wailing witches, Continued to echo here every evening And the First Cavalry applauded them.

He was not talkative, the old Jew. The poor man taught his daughter To search for strength in music, to hide in the darkness of one’s eyes The fear of life and isolation. The souls of these quiet, reserved people Carefully concealed the storm’s abyss within, But it revealed itself in music, Tearing from the depths all its sunken treasures.

And before the grey-blue twilight fell, When Kurbas the master stayed behind With a group of ragged youths, with us, To work on bustling mimes, On the efforts of rough pantomimes, Revues repeated endlessly — Then, Deborah, you tried To help us with your play.

At the time I could not grasp the reasons For their loneliness, pain and secrets. The mind of an immature boy Could not see what they concealed, Could not penetrate those depths of the human heart Where lie dead layers of fury and calm. I wanted to understand, but I did not hear About your terrible story, Deborah, until later …

And Kurbas glanced at you kindly. Throwing back a lock of hair, He said “bravo!” as though in passing, “Who is your teacher? You can play, girl.” You reddened, rose quickly, Both overjoyed and saddened, Unhappy and at the same time aglow and beautiful, Having early tasted the bitterness of devotion.

He walked heavily, carefully placing his feet On the cobbles covered in broken glass and feathers And pointed in all directions the machine gun Clasped in his muscular arms. In the square he appeared angry, red-eyed: “Where are the petitioners? Where the ransom? Where the Jews? How long do I have to wait? How long?! Grab at least one and bring him!” The orderly ran to smash the nearest door. Meanwhile in the market place all the lines Had been inspected by the angrily wheezing Stetsiura, A wrestler and heavy-weight champion. A year ago his stocky figure With unnaturally flexed bicepts Looked out from a poster in this same market place. Let the enemy now observe his Even larger muscles, And his chieftain status. However, the ambitious chieftain Cannot stand this emptiness and silence: “Rule! Rage!” Alcohol rouses his brain. “Dance, foreigners! To the public square! Smash the doors! Pass me the cord, Hang the rope around the old man’s neck. In vain he hid from us his Rachele or Roza Behind a cupboard in the corner. Has fear confused you? Can’t you stand? Throw her … A blow. Father! A cry. A violent jerk. How the darkness howls! How unbearably nauseating it is!

Who taught you? To this day I remember A thin figure, beard, pence-nez, A yarmolka on thinning hair, A face yellowed, faded and mournful, And those chords, rigorous, hundred-voiced, When the right hand touched the keys — He lived in the singing world of ancient alarms, Your father, the synagogue’s cantor. One immemorial, unremitting theme Sang in him everywhere and always. It was singular, common, inseparable — The harmonic weave of the harmonies of the Baal-Shem And the dreamy psalms of Skovoroda, To extol faith in the human that was hidden In every note, as in the world’s every drop. To you, Deborah, your father gave this world — The melodies and songs of both his peoples, Of those composed by the Levite in the tabernacle, And those sung by the blind kobzar in the steppe. He sang Kol-Nidre and afterwards Cossack laments entered our souls — Two rivers flowed together, two worlds united, And you were in both.

A repulsive pain cut inside like a nail. No death. Or life. No way to heal The roaring pestilence in one’s womb, heart, dreams. Blue body has turned into slippery meat,


Flesh — into something disgusting, wild fear — into shame. You became mute, stupidly, numbly Looking into your own bottomless night. Father, too, turned silent. He inexpertly to act, Avoided looking people in the face, Never crossed a neighbour’s threshold, And did not light a candle in the candle holder, And did not visit the synagogue. Like a death noose, a cry gripped his throat — Where to find the capacity for song and hope?… Days went by like this. The year twenty arrived In storms and iron, in the move of powerful armies, And through Uman flowed lines In the forceful march of Budionny’s divisions. Every evening Kurbas’s theatre lit for them The fire of Shevchenko’s prophetic visions So that the hearts of soldiers would burn in anger, As though by the embers of bivouac bonfires. Kurbas felt with his thirsty-curious heart How time rushes, and calls, and disappears, Embraced by the impulse of victory. He heard everything, he also knew everything about you, About you and your father, and your suffering He perceived as his own, and he was shaken By this pain without limit and this cry without sound, And reached out a sensitive and careful hand To hearts swooning in silence. When and where your father met Kurbas, neither you nor I know, But your father’s amazing decision Filled you with limitless wonder. He returned one evening, Sat in silence and suddenly said: “Let us play.” He pulled the bench up to the piano, Took something out of dusty pile of notes And a chord of weakened strings resounded And the quiet of the hovels was broken. Father said: “I was approached By the main one from that Kyiv group. He asked me after long introductions For you to be his pianist. Whether you will take up music again I do not know, so I promised nothing, But I can no longer stand Your useless, silent dying. I would agree. Would you agree? …” And you came. Under the roof of the former church Flitted swallows, While reflections, azure and green, Like November, fell to the floor from the walls, Splashed in flashes on the golden stage. The hall smelled Of autumn, and sawdust, and straw, And young, warm, moist bodies. The worn-out piano That could barely keep pace With the quickly racing scales. And these young men and women Were so filled

With their own creativity, sweet and intoxicating, That their own bodies Could resonate In an many-voiced Joyful disturbance. Could surrend to music, To its ruthless power, Could be moved by the rhythms, Awakened in language — To this Almost aching, Penetrating pleasure These hearts were ready to surrender. This is how a young man’s body is cut open By one total spasm, The dazzling shriek of love. O young hearts, Uplifted, enraptured, pensive, You determined seekers Of the goal, beauty and truth — In this hungry and yellowed Uman, Smashed by bullets, But even if poor and disheveled With such a yearning for joy! Students, agronomists, blacksmiths, Demobilized soldiers And medical nurses, Schoolboys without whiskers, young women-teachers, Agile, talkative as birds. You played for them. From under pale fingers Abruptly splashed and ran The bright watery Bells of Chopin’s whimsical flowing waltzes, And the flood of Lysenko’s stormy melodies, And those drawn-out sounds of the steppe and wilderness, That flew Like the strange branches of palms Rocked by the wind of Palestine. For you this was not a forgetting — Giving yourself up to music, Looking deeper and further Beyond the short-lived surface of mime dramas Into the hidden depths of real dramas Without any forced pathos or sham acting. And frames were torn down, Curtains fell, Prophecies were realized, Goals drew near, The world was filled with music, And not octets But nonets Reached out to us their Sunny clarinets. You had never been like this Until that evening, when your inspired music Led us To heights of incomprehensible Enthusiasm and joy. We Called this our dance, Action,


Song “Spring disturbance”, A red refrain over unbridled space, A strange, Running, Foaming of waters. A foaming. A ripening. A maturing of hearts. The beautiful nymph matures, The beautiful nymph tears apart The knotted clamour. Maybe, it’s a dance, But it’s a skirmish too. March thunder swept away the discord. A new burst of revolution, Its muscles playing, Marches on. We raise up Arms and eyes. The sky is full of salvos, red fires, storms. A purple expanse opens up. Red-brown. Red-brown. The storm Crushes, breaks. Cuts into the ground, A plough into the ground. The cannonade’s last echoes die. The first strip has been ploughed. People are family. Peoples are not enemy. Friend. We believe this. We breathe this. With all the power of our impulses and inspiration, And we learn Songs never heard before By Tychyna, Blakytny, Chumak. Let us sow the gentle black earth With song, with music… With you, Deborah, With you, Sister, We learned hopes, recovered sight, and storms, We strove together, Trumpeted together, And together were moved by the spring impulse, And we played with poetry, As with a blade, a muscle, And we were intoxicated by words, As though by the wind, by hops, We ran, Thin, agitated, barefoot, In the evenings To our studies, In the morning To school. I have not forgotten this. I never will.

And here I stand over the black-mouthed ravine, Silently, heavily, painfully, And call your shadow Soundlessly, in an inexpressible language, To conversation with me. Even now on the grey dust, On the spurred rye, the rubbish, the burdocks, The tracks of women and children can be seen, And I envision a crowd of bare bodies. You walk among them, Defiant Deborah. Ruins. Stench. Dark forces. Dirt. You walk, Silent and severe, like this earth, Great and naked, like this earth. Your step stops, And the whisper of your feet fades, And there is silence, And the harsh whistle of an SS man, And the grey slope of the ravine is crossed By the rapid strike Of automatic fire. You stand Above the screaming ravine, From where the death rattle comes, The crushing and crunching of bones. You stand For all the suffering, For all the torture Stronger, A prophetess of the killed. You, too, fell among the shaking bodies. Grass and dust covered the rusty slope. I picked up a handful. Maybe, I am holding your ashes Carefully in my outstretched arms? Oh, how the dust cries out in my heavy palms! Phantoms and silence. Some sudden sunflower Pushed up and shone In the ravine, on the crumbling bottom. I looked closely. It seemed to me: It had grown out of your essence. And you gave it This reaching for the sun, This thirst for warmth, The desire for light, music and beauty. You were like that yourself, Deborah, you were. You still are like that.


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Brain Drain, Brain Circulation And Brain Gain By Nick Holmov The tumultuous events that have unfolded in Ukraine over the last several years have led to great movements of people in and out of the country. Yet the questions surrounding the phenomenon of “brain drain” and “brain gain” are all toо rarely discussed. One of the least discussed outcomes of the 2014 Euro Maidan “Revolution of Dignity” is the effect it has had upon the phenomena of Ukraine’s brain drain, brain circulation and brain gain. A list of the challenges that Ukraine is simultaneously facing would not be exhausted by the illegal annexation of Crimea and the ongoing war with Russia. There are numerous external threats, but these are outnumbered by the internal threats that include potentially disastrous political populism, continued fecklessness within the national legislature, poor and occasionally counterproductive policy and ineffective policy implementation. For twenty-five years it has had devastatingly poor governance on

least half, hold a bachelor’s degree or higher level of certification. It is a population for which the government has systematically failed to provide an environment that would allow for the organic development of both society and economy, and thus the opportunity to develop as a nation. Furthermore, there has been no effective policy to engage with the brains that have already drained away to friendly nations. Not enough of an effort and few attempts have been made to enlist the large and well connected broader Ukrainian diaspora that is several generations removed from their native Ukrainian citizenship, but who nevertheless retain a keen interest in the country of their historic origin.

Ukraine boasts, and continues to produce, an extremely well educated population both the national and regional levels, and an oligarchic overtaking of the economy (all political rhetoric aside) with a complete disregard for the nation’s developmental strategy. Despite, or perhaps because of all these interlocking problems, the issue of brain drain has never been seriously addressed in contemporary Ukrainian politics. Ukraine boasts, and continues to produce, an extremely well educated population. A disproportionate (and some say artificially high) percentage of the population, at


The “Revolution of Dignity” and its aftermath witnessed a display of patriotism from both the diaspora and the more recently expatriated “drained brains.” This culminated not only in a return to Ukraine by some (these being the most motivated and also among the best), but also with the opening up of networks abroad that were far more conducive and willing to explore business, academic and civil society opportunities than ever before. The very dire political situation had many serious upsides in terms of


the mobilization of the diaspora’s empathy. Those that put their careers on hold, whether they were employed internally or outside of Ukraine, to answer the immediate needs of the nation are all too often given scant recognition. The result, however, was a significant and mostly unmeasured “brain gain,” both of Ukrainian brains and of those further afield who were willing to assist the nation. In its most needy and dysfunctional time, the nation’s call was answered by ethnic Ukrainians — and many other sorts of people. There is now a serious question that relates to the relative temporariness of that brain gain and what, if anything, can be done to prevent a reversion to the Ukrainian brain drain phenomenon that has in part resulted in stunted national development. Those professionals that put careers on hold in order to assist the nation in its moment of need will want to return to those professional careers eventually. It is not incidental that those people who are the most highly valued in a global economy are also the people

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There is currently a critical need to think beyond the long term policy issues of “brain drain” or “brain gain” that Ukraine most needs. Such professionals expect to return to those careers no differently than Ukrainians who were mobilized in times of military need expect to return to their previous vocations when demobilized from the front lines. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry claims that 75% of the military now consists of contract soldiers. Whatever the actual relative figures are, it is still a far cry from the almost exclusively conscripted army that existed prior to the recent bouts of Russian aggression. This raises the obvious question of whether the Ukrainian government should actively and aggressively pursue a similar line with contracts for those professionals that put their careers on hold for the sake of the nation and have rushed to fill the administrative, bureaucratic, technical and managerial void, as well as a void of integrity, critical and creative thinking, since the conflict began in 2014. There is currently a critical need to think beyond the long term policy issues of “brain drain” or “brain gain.” It is also necessary to think in the immediate term about brain retention and perhaps also of brain circulation. A policy of contracting (of course with sensible remuneration) would allow for the planning of brain departure and arrival, in specific social and economic sectors at critical places and times for both the contracted and the contractor, while other long term policies would be adopted to manage the traditional broad and ongoing process of Ukrainian brain drain. Is it possible that some form of Public Private Partnership (PPP) — complete with a packaged non-compete agreement between public and private realms in hiring the best and brightest contractually for 1 or 2 years — could be achieved? At it’s best, this sort of theoretical agreement would apply not only centrally, but also regionally. Perhaps such a deal could take the form of a sabbatical in which the government would contract

the best and brightest while remunerating them with the same private sector salary? This sort or arrangement would provide for a temporary and functional governance fix, short and planned career breaks, and would ensure a turnover of personnel within a time period likely to frustrate any long term attempts at corruption schemes, nepotism, cronyism, and so on.

2% of GDP redirected back into research as a starting point for a nominal funding figure) in addition to the rest of the standard policy fare associated with preventing brain drain. A serious overhaul of the labour code would need to be carried out in parallel. This would include massive deregulation as well as the creation of freely functioning economic, trade and business environments in which the best young professionals could cultivate their seeds of ingenuity and creativeness. Doing so would be no less critical for the sake of long term planning than in stemming brain drain. Strategically, if taken together, these two steps could actually bring about significant brain gain of varying duration and developmental outcomes by attracting the intellec-

Unfortunately, Ukrainian brain drain will undoubtedly continue, with national development further exasperated by the ongoing demographic decline that is caused by myriad other factors Unfortunately, Ukrainian brain drain will undoubtedly continue, with national development further exasperated by the ongoing demographic decline that is caused by myriad other factors (and which is similar to that of the rest of Europe). To stem, let alone to reverse, the trend in brain drainage, it is a matter of producing conditions that would encourage the best and the brightest to remain in Ukraine rather than to seek opportunities elsewhere. It is well known that the primary causes and drivers of brain drain are not always concerned with remuneration, but rather the lack of opportunity. There is no quick fix, for such a policy would require a combination of political foresight and creation of social targets, budgeted finance, centers of excellence that by their very nature would attract the best and the brightest. There would need to be a plurality of fully funded international “Masters and Return” education programs, and a focus on research and development (perhaps

tual and professional elite from around the world. As an immediate priority it has to be recognized that those professionals that came to the aid of the nation in 2014 will now want to return to their previous careers if they have not done so already. Thus, brain retention and brain circulation should be at the forefront of policy thinking by way of immediate mitigation. The long term policy needs to forcefully tackle continuing brain drain (which is now at a scale that is perhaps better described as hemorrhaging) and to encourage brain gain where it is possible.

Nick 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.


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Why Ukraine’s Desperate Struggle Gives Me Hope By Ilya Lozovsky Contrary to popular belief, Ukrainians are turning the tide in their fight for democracy. This article first appeared in Foreign Policy magazine.

If you believe — as I do — that democracy is humanity’s best hope, these are discouraging times. China, the world’s next superpower, thinks it’s found a different path forward. The liberal nations of Europe and North America are gnawed by self-doubt, beset by problems of their own making. Moreover, they now regard their past enthusiasm for nurturing new democracies in the world’s unlikeliest places with an air of embarrassment. In fact, in recent decades, de-

I fully realize how unlikely this sounds. Having won its independence from Moscow 25 years ago, the country spent most of them sinking into oligarchy and stagnation. Its first major effort to move forward — 2004’s Orange Revolution — ended in abject failure: The corrupt system swallowed it whole. The Euromaidan revolution of two years ago began more hopefully. But it too, has disappointed in many ways. A panel of experts

The indispensable role Ukraine’s civil society has played in making the Euromaidan count is the most important lesson the country can teach aspiring democrats mocracy promotion has nearly disappeared from the higher echelons of U.S. foreign policymaking.

who were recently asked whether the country had “turned the corner” gave discouragingly ambiguous answers.

But there’s one country that, through its example, offers hope — and some crucial lessons. That country is Ukraine.

Nevertheless, Ukraine’s experience gives us reason to take heart. Despite its many political shortcomings, the country has changed. More precisely, it is the Ukrainian people that have changed. And coming to understand the nature of that change — where it



came from and what it can do — helps train our focus on the one thing that makes genuine democracy possible: the slow, painstaking growth of democratic human capital. It is this factor, above all others, that has made the difference in Ukraine — and can do so elsewhere in the years ahead. Nurturing that capital is so important precisely because the limits of revolutions like the Euromaidan are so glaring. Though Ukrainians managed to topple their strongman President Viktor Yanukovych and many of his enforcers, the “deep state” — the mass of corrupt officials who run the country at the whims of its oligarchs — survived. That’s why the reforms of the last two years

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have just barely limped along, each tentative step forward provoking a fierce counter-reaction. There’s a fresh, Western-trained new police force, but its powers are useless in the face of the crooked courts. There’s an independent new anti-corruption agency, but it’s locked in fierce battle with the hugely powerful and utterly unreformed prosecutors’ office, which is trying to check its every step.

dozens in Moscow froze in the snow, residents of Kiev were largely spared — a fact he attributes to strangers helping strangers. “From isolated groups that have no common interests, suddenly, out of nowhere, when the government wasn’t doing anything, the people themselves decided to solve their problem,” he remembers. “That’s when it became clear to me that something had fundamentally changed.”

Having eradicated private property and individual initiative, the Soviets rendered the country’s population atomized and politically passive But if this is all you see in today’s Ukraine, you’re missing the most important part of the story — what’s happening underneath. Like every other post-Soviet republic, the country endured decades of authoritarian Communist rule before gaining its independence. Having eradicated private property and individual initiative, the Soviets rendered the country’s population atomized and politically passive. Lacking the social ties and mental models long taken for granted in the West, Ukrainians have, thus far, been unable to breathe life into the country’s shaky democratic structures. But — due in large part to its growing contacts with the West — Ukrainian society has not been standing still. Viktor Kompaneyets, a gruff Kiev-based technology investor, first noticed it during a March snowstorm that crippled the region in 2013. As he tells it, Ukrainians reacted dramatically differently than Russians. Both countries’ capitals were hit equally hard, but while

The Euromaidan brought this latent force out into the open. “We’re definitely living in a different country,” says Kompaneyets. “I can’t say it’s easier or simpler. But there’s some kind of almost spiritual change. If you have a question, you don’t hide it inside yourself. You have a community to which you can turn.” Svitlana Zalishchuk, a young journalist and activist elected to parliament after the revolution, describes it a little differently. “One of the main shifts [since the Euromaidan],” she says, “is the relationship between the government and society. It’s become more horizontal. The idea of accountability has become normal.” This all has immediate political consequences. Even before the Euromaidan, Ukraine’s civil society — nurtured by grants, exchange programs, and other contacts with the West — was known for its vigor. In the new Ukraine, independent journalists, civic groups, and non-profit organizations have played a heroic role in pushing the government to fulfill its promises in the face of bureaucratic and oligarchic resistance.

One of the most striking examples is the Reanimation Package of Reforms (RPR), a remarkable civic organization that unites dozens of independent groups. It was founded in the days after the Euromaidan to redirect activists’ revolutionary energy from the streets into the halls of parliament. Thanks to now-overwhelming public pressure to address corruption, eight political parties signed statements of support for RPR’s “roadmap of reform,” which covers 24 distinct areas, from energy policy to the media. Five of these parties ended up making it into parliament after the revolution — and when they formed a governing coalition, they incorporated many of the RPR’s priorities into the text of their official agreement. Olena Halushka, RPR’s manager of foreign affairs, says that more than 70 members of parliament regularly cooperate with the group, and its website lists 82 bills from its agenda that have been adopted into law. Of course, that commitment has often been spotty, and some of the bills are worth more on paper than in reality. But consider what’s been accomplished. Naftogaz, the notoriously crooked gas company that was bleeding the state dry, is now posting a profit. The state railroad company, now headed by a Polish crisis manger, has turned the corner and is now also making money. The National Anti-Corruption Bureau, an independent new agency, is doggedly pursuing corrupt officials. And the beginnings of decentralization have returned more tax revenue to local communities, enabling cities across the country to invest in new infrastructure, from roads and buses to hospitals and kindergartens.


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All this demonstrates how far Ukraine’s civil society has come since the failed Orange Revolution. Back then, says Zalishchuk, “we elected [pro-reformist President] Yushchenko, and then we went back to our kitchens and folded our hands. That’s why the revolution didn’t work.” But ten years later, after the Euromaidan, she says, “we [now] understood that electing a new government would not be the end of the story. Changes happen when bottom-up meets top-down.” The indispensable role Ukraine’s civil society has played in making the Euromaidan count is the most important lesson the country can teach aspiring democrats. Real democracy — democracy that’s more than just a hollow institutional shell — can’t be built quickly. It takes years of deliberate effort for enough of a democratic mindset to develop among enough people. But it’s not hard to see where the resources for building this mindset can come from. It’s striking how many of Ukraine’s young politicians have spent time in the West. Svitlana Zalishchuk, Sergii Leshchenko, and Mustafa Nayyem, three of the most active parliamentary reformers, were all fellows at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law. Olena Sotnik, a lawyer on the Maidan and now a leading parliamentary voice for judicial reform, attended a school run by the Council of Europe to train future leaders in transitional countries. Oleh Berezyuk, the leader of the pro-European Samopomich party in parliament, trained and worked as a biologist in Chicago. There are thousands of others.

The West also has another crucial role — that of pressing the government directly. James Brooke, a former New York Times journalist who is so bullish on Ukraine that he’s just moved to Kiev to open a new business magazine, says that international involvement after the Euromaidan has been much more forceful than in 2004. “We’re hip to your tricks,” he says, describing the attitude of the European Union, the IMF, and other international partners towards Ukraine’s political establishment. By making financial assistance and other goodies, such as visa liberalization, conditional on real change, these institutions have made it impossible for the government not to deliver. This is a widely held view among Ukrainians. Zalishchuk maintains that 70 percent of what’s been accomplished so far has only been possible thanks to international pressure. Sergii Leshchenko, another pro-reform legislator (and a muckraking anti-corruption journalist), agrees, arguing that the only way successful reforms are possible in Ukraine is if international assistance depends on their realization. “I can say it as an insider,” he says. “It works.” Both Zalishchuk and Leshchenko emphasized that the West must be even tougher as the oligarchs dig in. But international pressure, even in tandem with civil society, will only get you so far. The most important and difficult changes — such as revamping the justice system and defanging the oligarchs — can only happen with a critical mass of support in parliament and in the key ministries. For now, Ukraine isn’t even close. Leshchenko says that only about 10 percent of his fellow legislators are real reformers. That’s a battle Ukrainians will have to fight. But we in the West should make sure we’re providing meaningful, sustained, long-term assistance along the lines of what we already know to work. Exchange programs such as Open World and the International Visitor Leadership Program have introduced hundreds of Ukrainians to American democ-


racy. Funding for such programs — which are relatively cheap and which also benefit Americans who gain exposure to different perspectives — should be doubled and tripled, with a special emphasis on Ukraine. Universities should be encouraged (and, where appropriate, assisted financially) to host Ukrainian students, fellows, and academics. And the process of getting temporary American visas — currently a major barrier for anyone outside the elite — should be made as easy, painless, and as cheap as possible. As we’ve seen, developing the democratic mindset that undergirds meaningful change takes years. The sooner we ramp up our outreach, the sooner we’ll see it pay off. In the meantime, Western pressure on Ukraine’s government to enact reforms should remain relentless. The geopolitical implications of a democratic Ukraine are huge — this is an opportunity not to be missed. With its large, Russian-speaking population and its strategic location, a Ukraine that — in five or 10 years — is considerably more democratic and successful could begin to show the Russians just across the border that another way is possible. Zalishchuk is sure of this. “I think that a democratic Russia could never happen without a democratic Ukraine,” she says. Going further, she describes Ukraine as “a model for the reformation of all the post-Soviet countries.” All the more reason we’ve got to start now — and to get it right.

Ilya Lozovsky is assistant editor of Democracy Lab at Foreign Policy Magazine. Prior to joining Foreign Policy, he worked as Program Officer for Eurasia at Freedom House.

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Anti-Corruption Cases Are Finally Moving Forward In Ukraine’s War On Corruption By Adrian Karatnycky Something is stirring in Ukraine’s war on corruption. This article has previously appeared in a slightly differing form in the Atlantic Council’s New Atlanticist.

Indeed, Ukraine has gone through four prosecutor generals since the Maidan revolution; the first three were eventually denounced for corruption, ineffectiveness, or indifference. Since the Maidan protests of 2013-14 toppled the government of former President Viktor Yanukovych and revealed the details of the criminality and venality of his inner circle, attacking corruption has been a focal point of public expectations.

With the establishment of a Western-backed National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) and the appointment of Yuri Lutsenko as prosecutor general on May 12, the anti-corruption effort has gradually but significantly begun to change.

While the Ukrainian public bristles at the slow pace of reforms, important progress is being made While the Ukrainian public bristles at the slow pace of reforms, important progress is being made. Under the presidency of Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine has taken impressive strides in balancing its budget, reaching for energy security, refinancing its debt, establishing a new police force, introducing transparent electronic public tenders for government contracts, and rebuilding its once-eviscerated armed forces. Still, the actual conviction and punishment of high-ranking state officials for corrupt acts has not yet occurred.


Lutsenko’s appointment was roundly criticized by some reformers. They pointed to his close political relationship with Poroshenko and his lack of a judicial education or background. Although Lutsenko served as minister of the interior under President Viktor Yuschenko between 2007 and 2010, critics were angered by the special legislation that was passed to allow him to qualify for his current post.


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Still, there is no question that Lutsenko has serious democratic street cred. He was one of the key leaders of the Orange Revolution of 2004 and was a major activist in the Maidan protests. From 2011 until 2013, he was imprisoned on frivolous and trumpedup charges by the Yanukovych regime; clearly, he has no reason to protect the previous regime from prosecution.

A healthy and sometimes heated rivalry has erupted between the procuracy and NABU. Together with significant anti-corruption arrests by Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU), the temperature against wrongdoers is gradually being raised. Lutsenko is vigorously going after those linked to the Yanukovych regime. In just over 100 days in office, he has filed criminal cases against the former regime’s legislative majority leader, the former minister of justice, the former head of the national park service, a pro-government deputy implicated in allegedly illegal gas trading, several heads of failed banks, the head of Ya-

A healthy and sometimes heated rivalry has erupted between the procuracy and NABU Lutsenko has brought on retired US prosecutor Bohdan Vitvitsky as an advisor. He has appointed noted human rights lawyer Valentyna Telychenko as his lead domestic advisor and head of a civic advisory council. Several deputy prosecutors with no links to the procuracy have also been appointed, including a former member of parliament, Dmytro Storozhuk; a 35-year old former diplomat, Yevheniy Yenin; and a former academic, Anzhela Stryzhevska, who distinguished herself as a judge by her independence and who once served as parliamentary aide to a crusading anti-corruption legislator.

nukovych’s special economic projects, and a former high-ranking judge. Officers from security and law enforcement services who have been implicated in the beatings and killings of protestors in 2013-14 are being

Though some suggest that some of the activity is more public relations than substance, assets are being seized and officials jailed and charged. And although Ukraine’s laws that offer wide ranging immunity to parliamentarians are cumbersome, and require parliamentary votes that take time and often allow wrongdoers to flee, the very fact of exile, potential confiscation of assets, and fear of extradition are an important deterrent against future corruption. Not to be outdone, NABU, which was created with the support of the president and government, has opened up criminal investigations against some prosecutors, university rectors, corrupt judges, and officials from the national railway. The SBU has also shown significant investigative vigor.

In truth, many if not most prosecutors, detectives, and judges were in one way or another on the take prosecuted, and numerous officials at the local level have been swept up in the dragnet as well. A major case against eighteen leading Russian officials implicated in organizing separatist violence is also moving forward.


Most significantly, the well-regarded Ukrainian-American advisor, Vitvitsky, has been asked to develop the procuracy’s office of Inspector General, a structure that will consist of independent investigators without longstanding links to the Prosecutor General’s office and so will investigate the activity of the agency to root out incompetence, malfeasance, and corruption.

Odessa politics

The tasks at hand are profound. Ukraine’s entire judicial system has been distorted by corruption, and the courts remain the last unreformed segment of the legal system. The flurry of cases launched could simply end up in a dustheap of judicial setbacks. Still, recent reforms of the judicial system, which will be phased in over the next few years, suggest that even here Ukraine will make progress. Ukraine’s anti-corruption fight sometimes seems like Schrödinger’s cat, simultaneously dead and alive. But which of these states it actually exists in will be answered when the impressive spate of arrests and charges is finally adjudicated in the courts.


In addition to healthy competition, however, there has been occasional open conflict and resentment between the reforming but predominantly “old school” procuracy and the newly minted anti-corruption bureau. There have been attacks against NABU by precincts of the procuracy that have not been purged of dubious leadership. In one case, reciprocal investigations resulted in violent clashes between the two agencies that are now being mediated. Part of the resentment is over the fact that Western-funded NABU employees are paid three times the wage of their counterparts in the procuracy and the SBU. Additionally, resentment is fed by the fact that NABU is routinely praised by the international community, the media, and civil society, while the procuracy and security service continue to be viewed with some suspicion.

One security official told me, “We all come from the same places. Some of us just scored higher on tests by a question or two, while others may have hidden assets more diligently and were taken into the new Anti-Corruption Bureau. We resent the idea that the new bureau is somehow pristine and we are hopelessly corrupt.”

Adrian Karatnycky is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and co-director of its Ukraine in Europe initiative.

In truth, many if not most prosecutors, detectives, and judges were in one way or another on the take. Wages in the judicial branch were so low that graft became a way of life. Some of those who engaged in this practice were trying to preserve a middle class lifestyle; others grew incredibly rich. And many of the bad eggs remain in the system, though some may be purged or will leave voluntarily after a new electronic asset declaration system comes into effect this autumn.


odessa architecture

(De)-Occupying One Street By Iryna Kyporenko In the middle of September, Odessites were able to witness a unique experiment. “Occupy Zhukova,” an initiative organized by urbanists in the center of the city, was ironically named, since the actual goal was the liberation of the street from cars. cafes located along the street tripled during those two days of the initiative, because their storefronts became much more visible to passersby.

Imagine that you are taking a leisurely Sunday walk with your sweetheart. Or perhaps you are in the company of a couple of friends. Or maybe you are hurrying through the city, going along your business: you literally have to maneuver between the parked cars. You need to bypass them on the sideways, slip between one car and another, while at the same time avoiding hitting another pedestrian or a cyclist. One should forget getting through with a baby stroller — one needs to be desperately bold and ready for acrobatic feats to accomplish that sort of thing. That is for the experts. Along with the support of Impact Hub Odessa and the Green Theater, the organization “Urban Inst,” radically transformed for the duration of one weekend the public space of the Vice-Admiral Zhukov alley which connects Deribasovska and Hretska streets. The removal of the usually entrenched illegal parking on the street was managed by means of a formal order of the mayor’s office (which had been in the works for six months) and maintained by a police guard that for two days did not allow cars


to pass into the area of the “Occupy Zhukova” initiative. In place of the usually parked cars, the urbanists put in place artificial lawns and trees in pots. As it became painfully evident once the cars were removed, there was no greenery at all in a 250-meter long alley. The Vice-Admiral Zhukov alley was transformed into a wide pedestrian street, with comfortable outdoor furniture where one could relax, wait for friends or drink a coffee in silent contemplation. The lane immediately acquired a European look, and photos of the experiment in social networks prompted the question “what city is this?” Even lifelong residents of Odessa did not immediately recognize this unfamiliar space. One of the most obvious results of the experiment was that the alley attracted people like a magnet. In the course of about 8 hours, more than six thousand people passed through it, rested on the furniture or made little picnics on the lawns — on regular days, there are about 35 cars parked here. The income of the businesses, shops and

The pilot project “Occupy Zhukova” is a start to the development of the city’s pedestrian strategy. ”Odessa is a tourist town, so the development of comfortable public spaces is essential. We decided to start with a specific small case, instead of launching into a large-scale concept that would be difficult to implement. The Vice-Admiral Zhukov lane in the center of the city and it is very indicative of Odessa. Many residents asked us to extend the experiment for another week and we were excited to know what’s next for Occupy Zhukova,” says one of the organizers, the urbanist Konstantin Emelyanov. Now the project team is working on summarizing the results of the experiment and preparing a public presentation, as well as communicating with the residents and businesses of the alley — they are the ones who will have to decide if they want to have their street remain liberated of cars forever.

Iryna Kyporenko is a journalist living in Odessa

odessa architecture

Charles Du Bouchet Clinic


Charles Du Bouchet Clinic Liberal Jewish Synagogue (currently contains Odessa archives) Address Year Architect Style

6 Yasna Street 1890 A.B. Minkus German and English Neo-gothic mix

In 1897, Ludmila Vasilyevna Orlova, the daughter of the Chairman of the Odessa branch of the Russian Music Society, returned to Odessa from Paris with her new husband — American doctor Charles Winchester du Bouchet, who eventually became the Vice-consul of the United States in Odessa. Du Bouchet opened a clinic on Yasnaya Street in a building constructed especially for that purpose in the German Neo-Gothic style popular at that time. According to historians, the du Bouchet family resided in the clinic and also used it to store and distribute issues of “Iskra” (the official organ of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party).

The clinic was rumored to have underground passages leading to boats moored at the seashore. There was certainly a path from the clinic courtyard to the back of the Orlov house, and from there — to the Frantzuskiy Boulevard. During the events of 1905, du Bouchet organized a squad of paramedics that picked up the injured on the streets and brought them for treatment at the clinic, including Sergey Utochkin, who was saved from a knife wound, securing his place in the history of Russian sport.

In the beginning of 1908 du Bouchet was arrested and deported, his wife having left Odessa even earlier because of police surveillance. The du Bouchets went to Paris and the clinic became home to a “sanatorium for nervous diseases.” Today, the beautiful building is occupied by the Department of Social Protection of the Population and the Center for Mercy. Only the hall and the main staircase remain in it’s original condition, all other rooms have undergone extensive change.


odessa fashion

On Dafna May: Ukraine’s Newest Young Design Star By Katya Michaels This September’s Mercedes Benz Kiev Fashion Days featured the world premiere of exciting new Ukrainian designer Dafna Mayberg.

Put together in just one month (with the collection itself being created in only two months), it was a hectic and nerve-wracking undertaking

It is a widely accepted belief, that an artist’s work gains depth and becomes enriched through greater variety and complexity of the artist’s experiences. It is no secret that some of Ukraine’s greatest artists have had complex and multilayered identities The more layers there are to the background, the more aspects there will be to the art work. For a fashion designer, diverse ethnic and cultural influences are especially instrumental in bringing metaphorical and literal texture into the designs. This is something to very much bear in mind when thinking about the work of twenty five year old Israeli-Ukrainian designer Dafna Mayberg, who is considered by fashion critics to be the most promising new Ukrainian designer to make her stage premiere this year.


Despite her relatively young age, Dafna Mayberg, also known by her design name of Dafna May, is quite familiar with the world’s complexity. Born in Haifa, Israel to Jewish-Ukrainian parents, she grew up in Israel until the family returned to Kyiv when she was 13 for the sake of her father’s business interests. Though Dafna grew up speaking Russian at home, the children of any diaspora will quickly explain that is not quite the same as growing up in a language environment. The difficulty of adjusting to a new language and a new country was compounded by the fact that Dafna is also dyslexic — something for which the Ukrainian educational system of the time (it has improved only slightly since) was not able to provide adequate support. After attending the Kyiv International School for two years, it became clear to Dafna and her parents that moving abroad would allow her to receive a quality education in an environment that she would be more comfort-

able in. And so, even though she came from a tightly knit family that preferred to always stay together, at the age of 15 she moved yet again. This time to London. It was around that same time that she was asked at her new school what she might want to do with her future. After giving it a bit of thought she began thinking about a career in the arts. She had always loved to draw and to create images, and the choice seemed easy enough. After three years and classes in graphic design, art, history and photography, she graduated and made a final decision to become a designer. She chose to attend the American University (now, Regent’s American College) in London. She recalls the next four years as an amazing experience. A heady time of meeting fascinating new people and learning a great deal about design, from hand sewing her own creations, to planning a full collec-

odessa fashion

Still, being young and cosmopolitan, she tries to keep her mind always open, enjoying the creations of different design houses every season, and paying special attention to new designers with a fresh and forward looking approach


tion and discovering where she would find the most inspiration. The city of London as even a casual visitor well knows is itself an incomparable teacher: bustling with thousands of fashion and arts events, and founded on the atmosphere of effortless elegance that has inspired so many eminent designers throughout history. Dafna’s dyslexia continued to be a serious challenge, but through her dedication to the art and the determined belief of her teachers, she was able to overcome the obstacles. In fact, the struggle endowed her with a sincere tolerance of human qualities and a faith in her own value as an artist, which are hard to come by if one is never faced with such a personal hurdle. Above all else, she discovered first hand how important it is to acknowledge the difficulties she has gone through, and at the same time to recognize how lucky she is to have had the opportunities that made her the designer she is today.


The Mercedes Benz Kiev Fashion Days in September marked a huge milestone in Dafna May’s life and career – the designer’s very first fashion show. Put together in just one month (with the collection itself being created in only two months), it was a hectic and nerve-wracking undertaking. The stage decorations were brought overnight from Lviv at the last moment, and working with local staff was an occasionally jarring experience of culture shock for the mostly Haifa- and London-raised designer. On the day of the show, Dafna was so nervous backstage, that she could only be prevailed upon to come out for a little peek and a round of applause at the end of the showing. But the young designer recognizes that this is par for the course in her difficult and competitive profession, and she would not be the first young artist in history to garner excitement from the adrenalin rush. The show was an exhausting marathon, and yet when meeting the Odessa Review’s editorial staff for a tea just a few days later, she was brimming with plans for the future. Dafna chose to name her first collection “Sweet 16,” a reference to both the year of it’s founding, as well as a pean to a universalized spirit of celebration of young femininity. The collection featured the sorts of dresses one would wear to a sweet 16 party or debutante’s ball. Floaty dresses with quirky details cut from gentle fabrics and covered with candy patterns that evoke a lighthearted sensuality. These are dressed for a girl who is aware of all the pitfalls that young womanhood entails, but is ready to

face them and rises to the challenges joyfully. Yet Dafna is adamant in her refusal to be limited by a specific client profile or age bracket. She believes that a woman must have the freedom to approach her age and express herself in the way that she most feels comfortable. While Dafna gives out her dresses to her friends and has been happy with the positive feedback to the first collection, she freely admits that she draws the most aesthetic inspiration from the example of her mother, who as attendees of the more than keeps up with Dafna’s contemporaries in terms of style and fashion sense. Indeed, the designer is a fan of timeless feminine style. Asked whom of


odessa fashion

the style icons she would choose to dress she does not need to think long to answer that she is drawn to Monica Bellucci, Grace Kelly and Lady Diana. She admires the designs of Dolce & Gabbana for the way their tailoring highlights the intrinsic perfection of a woman’s curves. There is nothing bad in having a classicist streak after all. Still, being young and cosmopolitan, she tries to keep her mind always open, enjoying the creations of different design houses every season, and paying special attention to new designers with a fresh and forward looking approach. The same kind of artistic freedom applies when she is asked to define herself as a Ukrainian designer — she is reluctant to do so, for understandable reasons. She would like to be known in her homeland, Israel, and would consider herself an Israeli designer because of her upbringing. She was educated in London, living there for a large portion of her life, and would naturally also love to be considered a London designer some day. Despite her dyslexia, she speaks three different languages on a daily basis (Hebrew with her father, Russian with her mother, and English everywhere else). Today, she is a Ukrainian designer, because of an intrinsic pride in her roots and because of the inspiration she draws from the life of contemporary Ukraine. “I think I can call myself an international designer, but not only a Ukrainian designer. I would love to be called an English designer, a designer from London, that’s my dream. But I’m very proud of having started in Ukraine, I want to support this country because I think it’s a great country and it’s developing a lot” she explains if one is brash enough to ask her to categorize herself.

Dafna would not be the only one to believe that whatever the social and political shortcomings of this country might be, it is experiencing a renaissance of arts and fashion which showcases levels of talent that are astonishing considering the relative lack of educational opportunities. Speaking about her “Sweet 16” collection, Dafna wondered if it might be the time for Ukraine, after two years of conflict and crisis, to graduate into “adulthood,” and turn its face, joyfully, to the new opportunities and challenges ahead. Perhaps the crisis helped alert the Ukrainian public to the necessity of change, awakening a sense of artistic and civic responsibility she wonders. Dafna herself considers becoming an activist for certain social issues in Ukraine, such as the cause of advancing equal opportunity education for children with learning disabilities such as her own. She speaks about that issue and the negative aftereffects of antiquated Soviet pedagogical methods quite passionately.

The Dafna May journey is at it’s very start. At the moment, the brand is Dafna’s “baby,” and she still gets butterflies in her stomach every time she sees her newly minted creations being worn in the real world by real women. Nevertheless, she has very defined ambitions and plans for expanding the brand, the first of which is to open a dedicated showroom in Kyiv. Like every other bright and talented young designer she also hopes to someday have showrooms in London, Milan, and New York. The opportunity to showcase her work in a showroom in Paris at the end of September will be followed by a showcase in Milan, which will undoubtedly take her closer to the goals she has set for herself. Meanwhile, her first foray into the fashion industry was just as it should be for a young designer — girly, nervous, strong, sensual and unrestrained by categorization. A little bit off kilter but full of infinite promise. Let’s hope that we will see Dafna May developing these qualities in her diverse and affirming way during the fashion seasons to come. Katya Michaels is Senior Editor at The Odessa Review.


odessa fashion



odessa fashion

The Highest Standard Of Chic Style And Gracious Service At The Barbara Bui Boutique By Katya Michaels With the weather turning cold, a warm welcome, a cup of tea and an exciting winter collection where high Odessa fashion meets refined southern hospitality.

Today, without a doubt, Odessa is the most fashionable Ukrainian city, known for its beautiful and exquisitely dressed women, dapper and charismatic men. Not only that, but Odessa is also famous for wonderful, cordial places that always make one feel comfortable and sincerely welcome. It is because of the impeccable taste of Odessa residents that the city was chosen as the location for the only official Barbara Bui representation in Ukraine. The initial idea of creating a Barbara Bui boutique was inspired by the desire to create a stylish place for ourselves and our closest friends. A place where the highest quality and the most exquisite style would complement each other. A place where the staff would treat each client as a welcome Guest, always ready to help him or her feel more confident, to share a sense of polished style and positive energy. A place where coffee and tea would always be complimentary for the clients.


The owner of the Odessa boutique is often seen on the premises, greeting guests personally, as often happens with typical small European shops. She has long been a fan of the brand, and brings her own perfect fashion sense to the boutique. We created an atmosphere of comfort and safety that encourages clients to return again and again. We are especially proud of our team of stylists and consultants, who all love their profession and are excited to work with every boutique client. On weekends, guests will always find pleasant little surprises like a glass of champagne, sweets and fruit.

disrupts a black background. The designs are in keeping with the classic Barbara Bui approach: alluring, powerful, but also exceptionally elegant. Тhe collection is a perfect contemporary street style choice for the Odessan fashionista personality. Visit the Barbara Bui boutique store in Odessa at 39 Katerynynska Street.

As the colder weather moves in, it is time for Odessan fashionistas to consider if their fall wardrobes are missing the essential pieces of the season. The winter collection at Barbara Bui evidences the designer’s signature delicate balance between masculine and feminine energies, as well as her love for leather. Strength and confidence are combined with sophisticated, sensitive sensuality, while the energy of vibrant colors

Katya Michaels is Senior Editor at The Odessa Review.

odessa fashion


odessa personality

A Conversation About Contemporary Ukrainian Poetry With Ukraine’s Renowned Poet Serhiy Zhadan By Regina Maryanovska-Davidzon

Serhiy Zhadan’s youthful looks into his early 40’s are symbolic of his cult status among Ukraine’s younger generation. The events of the Maidan have propelled the poet into the ranks of international stardom as a bright new face of contemporary Ukrainian literature and civil society. A native of the industrial and academic eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, his poetry and prose examine the lives of anti-heroes and ordinary people. Typologically, his work would not be out of place among that of the beats and their literary progeny. This interview with the poet took place in tandem with the publication of “Tampliery” (Templars) his latest book of verse. It was conducted at a restaurant close to the Maidan Square in central Kyiv.




Odessa Review (Regina Maryanovska -Davidzon): Is “Tampliery” your first book written entirely after the events of the Maidan? Serhiy Zhadan (SZ): No. The first book after the Maidan was “Life of Maria,” released in March 2014. The first poems from that book were written before 2013, but mostly it contains poetry from 2014/15. So the subject of the war in the East was first touched upon in that book. OR: What is the difference between the themes of this book and the previous one? SZ: Actually, each one of my new books has been a continuation of the previous. I don’t try to reinvent the bicycle every time. For me, literature is a continual process. All of my books are the one same book that I’ve been writing for more than 20 years. The first was published in 1995. So it’s difficult for me to answer this question. All of my books are my diary, my reflections. In general, it is difficult to comment on poetry. It seems to me that compared to last year’s poems, these are more balanced. There is a sense of distancing from history, my view of the events taking place in the world and the country has changed. For example, when you see a tank for the first time, you want to climb inside and touch everything. When you see it for the second time, you don’t really have to climb in anymore — and this is not just a metaphor. Last year for Independence Day, my musician-friends, “The Dogs” (Ed: the name of his band) and I went to play a concert for our tankers. They showed us their tanks, it was a very interesting experience, but I wouldn’t want to have it again.

OR: In general the metaphor of war has a strong influence in the new direction of your poetry does it not?

OR: Tell us about the modern direction that Ukrainian and Russian poetry have taken after the Maidan.

SZ: Yes, I’ve been living it for 3 years now. It is the most important thing for me, but I wouldn’t say the only one.

SZ: There is no such singular direction. The poetry is very different, but it’s difficult to say that there are well-defined tendencies. Only a few can be pointed out: post-Maidan poetry is very social, it is oriented toward reflecting reality, which sometimes can descend into a kind of political kitsch. That is a kind of characteristic of modern literature compared to pre-war literature. There is a growing maturity, a departure from a certain infantilism. Art was a place where you could hide. In some situations, cynicism and irony are ethically ambiguous. Laughing at those killed in action, for example.

OR: Many consider you to be the foremost representative of a certain kind of new movement in contemporary Ukrainian poetry. You represent the “class interests” of modern young Ukrainian patriots. SZ: Any attempt at hierarchization is very limiting. Coming back to your question — today, many write about the war. You can pretend that there is not a war, but that won’t change the reality. You could just go somewhere around Lugansk, and you will understand that the reality of Kyiv or Kharkov and that city — are very different realities. You could ignore it, dissociate from it, but then there are a lot of ethical questions. It seems to me that contemporary Ukrainian art is not dissociating, but showing itself to be a healthy organism that is capable of reacting and rising to the most acute challenges. OR: What you are saying is very important, because in Eastern Europe, in this contemporary society, poetry still has a great deal of weight, and a strong influence on cultural and psychological development. Young people should know and want to know what poets think about war. Western society, for example, has drifted away from that. SZ: It’s true, Eastern Europe has retained some demand for cultural expression. This signifies that there are some niches that remain unfilled. Society really needs moral authorities, role models, but it is not always justified and doesn’t always make sense. A good poet is not always a good thinker, politician or analyst. In the West there is also a system of moral authorities, but with us it’s much less sophisticated. Our media space is fragmented, unstructured. I am always being questioned about politics, although I’m not a political scientist, but that doesn’t stop journalists from asking for my opinions on the matter. I often answer only to be polite.

OR: Poetry, as art, has changed a great deal in the last two years. SZ: Yes, it changed a lot. It became much more active, social and charged with а political awareness of what is happening. To me, the moment where transformations began is very clear. They began on Maidan, where not only politicians and activists, but poets, musicians, artists could also express their own position. For many of them the revolution is still ongoing. OR: After the Maidan, the Western public became much more interested in Ukrainian culture generally and your poetry specifically. Has your new book been translated to English? SZ: Not the new one yet. Poems about war from “Life of Maria” have been published in Russia and in America, and they are being released in English by Yale University Press next spring.



OR: How are you perceived in Russia? SZ: In Russia everything is very complicated. To begin with, the relations between Ukrainian and Russian literature were never that good. The last 15 years have seen a development of a more normal, functional and interactive relation-ship of mutual influence. That is translations have been published and we started to visit each other. Understandably, after the annexation of Crimea and then the war, there has been a rift in that relationship. Everyone is divided into two camps. I doubt that these relations will improve in the immediate future. Although, I released two books this year. Of course the large, serious publishers that I have worked with before the war are no longer interested in my work. But I have been contacted by a group of young Marxists from St. Petersburg who don’t accept Putin’s politics and are against the occupation of Ukraine — they are offering to publish my book with the crowdsourced financial resources of the readers. So it’s not the money of Russian businesses that cooperate with the government. This format is acceptable to me, so of course I agreed, especially because there are so many people in Russia who support me and are expressly against Russian chauvinism and imperialism. OR: Aside from English and Russian, are your books being translated into any other languages? SZ: This year “Voroshilovgrad” was published in America and Byelorussia. A short story about war was published in Austria, and now a book of poetry is coming out in Germany. Next week “Voroshilovgrad” will be out in Italy, and after that it will be published in Georgia. OR: What would you like to say about your work to Western readers who have never heard of you? SZ: I don’t really enjoy self-presentation. In truth, I write about very simple things. People who enjoy science fiction, melodrama, action or other kinds of genre literature — they wouldn’t be interested. I write


about simple ordinary people. I think that you find the strongest and sincerest emotions, the most un-expected plot twists in everyday situations. I was always interested in this kind of literature. For example, I love Hemingway or Faulkner, Bukowski (whose works I translated to Ukrainian, by the way). All their stories and the situa-tions they describe are close to me, because I can imagine being in them myself. It’s possible to see great depth in such simplicity and clarity. OR: Is there a genealogical connection between the direction of your work now and Soviet or post-Soviet literature? Do you feel like a descendant of 1930’s antirealism? SZ: I came to Kharkiv when I was 17 years old and I had the opportunity to know writers who had known people who were shot by Stalin’s squads. I dis-covered the mythology of metropolitan Kharkiv of the 1920’s-30’s, when it was a cultural center of Europe. I worked in the Kharkiv Literary Museum and handled a number of important manuscripts. That literature is something very close to me, and also Ukrainian futurism. I wrote my dissertation on this topic at the Kharkiv Pedagogical University. Those are the books that are always with me. There are some of the writers whose books I always carry with me: Michael Semenok, Evgeny Pluzhnik, Vladimir Svidzinsky, Mykolai Khvyliovyi. These people shaped the Ukrainian literature of the 1920’s. Even now I am reading the biography of Mayakovsky, although I’ve read it a hundred times by different authors. OR: No one knows about Ukrainian futurism in the West, even among the most educated people and in academic circles where Russian futurism is studied. SZ: This is a complex systematic problem — the problem of Ukraine’s existence as a cultural and historic presence in the informational-cultural space. The Ukrainian Kharkiv avantgarde is very interesting and unique. Often, Western people know about it, but don’t realize that it’s Ukrainian art. Last year I had a literary evening in New

York’s Ukrainian Museum which featured a large exhibition “Kharkiv theatrical design.” They presented the works of extraordi-nary artists — Aleksandra Ekster and Vasyl Yermylov. And this is part of another huge problem that is developing now: what can be considered part of Ukrainian culture? There is a view that it should be exclusively in Ukrainian language and Ukraine-centric. In that case, we are cutting off a great stratum of culture that was created by those who were born and lived on Ukraine’s terri-tory. Like Malevich or Gogol, for instance. In my opinion they belong equally to both cultures. Even today’s political and historical crisis shows that Ukraine can’t be limited by the boundaries of Ukrainian language. For example, Boris Khersonskiy (ed: a contributor to this magazine) is a great Ukrainian poet. He belongs equally to Russian and Ukrainian cultures. OR: What more do you think could or should be done for the promotion of Ukrainian culture in the Western world? SZ: We need a different state mechanism. If we are talking not about sporadic presentations, but a systematic presentation of culture, then it must be the work of the state. I doubt that such cultural diplomacy work can be done on some private level. Admittedly, Ukraine doesn’t have a clear overarching polit-ical position, nor a defined external cultural policy. We could learn quite a bit from the Polish. In the last 20 years they have accomplished a great deal in terms of popularization and self-presentation in the world, and they are doing it right: showing how to popularize the classics without neglecting modern literature. We do have a good, close and fruitful relationship with Poland.

Regina Maryanovska-Davidzon is Managing Editor of The Odessa Review.




Odessa Literature

Eugene Ostashevsky On “The Life And Opinions Of DJ Spinoza” Eugene Ostashevsky is an American poet who was born in Leningrad into a family partially deriving from Odessa. He is now living in Berlin. His next book of poetry, “The Pirate Who Does Not Know the Value of Pi,” is forthcoming from the New York Review of Books in March, 2017. “The Life And Opinions Of DJ Spinoza” was first published by the Ugly Duckling Presse in New York in 2008 and quickly became a New York poetry world classic. It reacts to the geometrical method of the Ethics of Benedict (or Baruch) Spinoza, a seventeenth-century Dutch philosopher, who sought to make his philosophy indubitable by constructing theorems upon notions he judged to be self-evident, after the form of Euclid’s Elements. The Odessa Review met with Ostashevsky during the Lviv Book Festival where he was presenting the newly translated Russian edition of his book.



Odessa Literature

It gives me great pleasure to appear in The Odessa Review. I’ve never been to Odessa but I’ve always wanted to go. My great grandparents are from Odessa and they died in Odessa in predictable circumstances, but I’ve never been back. In fact, coming to Lviv for the book festival is my first time in Ukraine ever since we emigrated when I was 10. My book is called “The Life and Opinions of DJ Spinoza.” The first edition came out in Brooklyn in 2008. Now, the second bilingual edition came out with Russian translations by the Latvian poet Alexandr Zapol. It was published by Dmitry Kuzmin as part of the literary project “Literature Without Borders” run out of Latvia. There is a number of books in Russian that they have published and there is a pair of books in translation. There is my book from the English and Serhiy Zhadan from the Ukrainian. It’s a literary project whose aim is to open Russian literature to other literatures, such as Ukrainian. This is a book of poetry, except that there is a protagonist named DJ Spinoza. He has friends, enemies and frenemies including MC Squared, the Begriff in (which is a pun on griffin and Begriff, which means “concept” in German), and a number of other characters.

I started writing the book in the year 2000 when I was teaching in Turkey. I just finished my PhD in comparative literature and I wanted to go somewhere exciting where I’ve never been, so I went to Turkey to teach. One night I was taking an extremely slow train from Ankara to Istanbul. I had a single compartment. I took Spinoza’s Ethics with me — one of the things that I worked on in graduate school was the relationship between mathematics, philosophy and literature in the 17th century. Spinoza’s Ethics is written in a method which he calls “more geometrico,” which is an imitation of the way Euclid explains geometry. You are given the initial definitions and axioms, and then, using syllogisms and the law of non-contradiction you build theorems. The basic idea is that if the presuppositions are true, what you are creating is a set of true statements. They are true and universally provable: since they are logical everybody can check for themselves whether they work or not. It’s a kind of language that is superior to regular natural language like English, French, Dutch. What Spinoza tries to do, is to take this geometric language, which is “the” language to him for arriving at true statements, and build a philosophy where the results would be true. It’s part of the rationalist project. It is a kind of continuation of what Descartes starts, except it’s much more methodical. When you open up Spinoza’s Ethics, it starts by giving you definitions and axioms, and almost immediately you start doing proofs concerning the nature of God using a mathematical language. I found this very funny, because of certain changes that have taken place since the time of Spinoza. Change number one: Spinoza has this idea that you can do math in a regular language (Latin in his case), but we think of

human languages as too full of ambiguity, of ambivalence. They are very different from a mathematical language, where you are supposed to be able to exhaustively explain any concept. They are very different from the idea of a mathematical language, where you are supposed to be able to exhaustively explain any concept. Change number two: he starts with axioms and definitions that have to be true and self-evident to arrive at true statements. Euclid’s definitions and Euclid’s axioms were considered in the 17th century to be true statements of the nature of space. Since then, new geometries have appeared in the Romantic period — Gauss, Lobachevsky. Suddenly, the thing that is absolutely true becomes only one way of talking among many. Instead of being a science of space, it becomes a logical mental game, it stops being about anything but itself. Besides, things that seem self-evident to Spinoza might not seem self evident to anyone else. The third change happened to logic in the 20th century with Kurt Gödel, and the whole concept of the axiomatic system became relativized. So, the Ethics are an attempt of a person sitting in a room to figure out completely indubitable, clear, universal truths about the nature of the world and the nature of God, using what he thinks is the only language for doing so. And then, 200-300 years later, it turns out that this language is just a game, it’s like any other language, relativizable.


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It seems funny, and sad in a way, that now we’ll never arrive at truth, that was the reaction I had. At this point my friend Alexei Parshchikov was visiting me in New York, and he said why don’t you try writing poems about Spinoza. So I started writing and I came up with this character DJ Spinoza. It turned into something between poetry and a philosophical comic book: he fights different monsters, he talks to God, nothing ever quite works out. It’s weird, but it is poetry — it is about me, it is about emotions, but in the way that philosophy is about the person who speaks and the person’s emotions. It’s not direct. It’s very, very mediated by the language. I write in English because I emigrated when I was 10 years old and I guess I’m an American poet. Although now I live in Berlin, and this year I’m working in Paris and commuting. I also lived in Florence — I work for New York University and usually teach history of literature for their programs in Europe. Right now I’ve been living in Europe continuously for quite a while, and it’s hard for me. Because poets don’t write for themselves, in some ways they wind up representing classes of people.


I don’t know anymore whom I represent. I think there was one point in my life when I guess I represented “Russian immigrants in New York,” but I can’t really do that from Berlin. So now I represent only myself, and maybe that makes me not a poet. Because all that equipment from the 18th and the 19th century, the connection between the poet and the people, brings you to the question “who are my people?” I don’t know who my people are. Right now there’s a funny convergence between Russian and American poetry, suddenly people turn towards history. In the States, it’s because of Ferguson and all the recent events with the police. People turn towards the legacy of slavery and try to deal with that in their poetry. Russian poetry has also turned to the history of the 20th century, to the blockades, the camps, the experience of Stalinism, the war experience. Zhadan is also, in many ways, a poet with a historical consciousness. I have a very developed historical consciousness, I just don’t know who my historical consciousness is of and for. I can’t really write in English about the Russian (by which I mean the former USSR) historical experience, which is closest to me. Somehow it doesn’t work in English, it becomes commodified in a way. But I can’t really write about it in Russian either, it’s not processed, it’s too raw.

My next book, which is coming out in New York in the spring of 2017, is called “The Pirate who Does Not Know the Value of Pi.” It’s about emigration and it’s about being bilingual, which in some ways is being no-lingual, cause you don’t have a language that is your own to the extent that you can actually believe it. It’s about all that, but once again as with “Spinoza,” it’s very mediated and very encoded. And like “Spinoza” it’s also funny, or I hope it’s funny. Maybe that’s my Odessa ancestors speaking through me.

Odessa Literature

The Last DJ Spinoza DJ Spinoza is a mighty wrestler His angel is a book He dreams he climbs lines of print He shall be a father of notions O DJ Spinoza dandruff speckles your gabardine Your wife squints as if threading a needle Behind your house your children torture a cat Nations shall cast off your yoke after murderous convulsions Your streets shall fill with confusion of faces Your synagogues shall convert to movie theaters and swimming pools You shall be replaced with the silicon chip since you are both so small and so black.


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Now the Lord Said to DJ Spinoza Now the Lord said to DJ Spinoza, Get out of your country! And DJ Spinoza said to the Lord, What country are you talking about, Lord? And the Lord said to DJ Spinoza, Good start, good start, for I shall make you lost among nations. And DJ Spinoza said to the Lord, Make me lost among nations, Lord, for I am already lost among myself. And the Lord said to DJ Spinoza, Why do you bring up personal problems? Hire a therapist — you who made the schools ring with Sic probo! And DJ Spinoza said to the Lord, Lord, is not the set of things in your apprehension infinite? And the Lord said to DJ Spinoza, All things are one thing but the irrationals are something else. Haven’t you heard of the diagonal proof? And DJ Spinoza said to the Lord, So there is another God above you? And the Lord said to DJ Spinoza, Read my lips: get out of your country! And DJ Spinoza said to the Lord, But surely just the fact that you’re talking in language means you admit of emotions. And the Lord said to DJ Spinoza, Do you want to be numbered on the tip of my boot? And DJ Spinoza made himself scarce. He lived among the deaf and became as one blind. He lived among the blind and became as one deaf. He saw never the sea. He awoke in a room with four walls. The room moved. He heard the voice of a child but what it said he ignored. He awoke from awaking. He was aged, wrinkled, hairless, toothless. He remembered nothing of what had happened to him.


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DJ Spinoza Does Not Fight the Begriffon Said DJ Spinoza to his friend MC Squared: Let us go slay the Begriffon! Frightful is the Begriffon and sharp are his claws, He disobeys rules and cares nothing for laws, He is full of effects but do they have a cause? Let us go slay the Begriffon! Said MC Squared to his friend DJ Spinoza: Why should we add to the misery of the world? Even the wicked have feelings! They shout and they quarrel Cause they’re anal and oral, Problems make them immoral — They’re wicked because they have feelings! DJ Spinoza: Well, what do you want to do then? Do you want to watch TV? No! Do you want to play cards? No! Do you want to go get a beer? “I’m sick of beer, it’s so fattening!” Let us go slay the Begriffon! MC Squared: Are you always so restless because you’re reckless Or are you so reckless because you are restless? Can’t you even for a moment Think of how it’ll make you feel in the morning? Tell me you won’t be a) whining; b) kvetching; c) moaning! And besides — even the wicked have feelings! So the two friends went off to slay the Begriffon. But when they were halfway to the House of Mostly Unlike, DJ Spinoza realized he forgot his sword at home — and you can’t slay the Begriffon with no sword! They had to return for the sword but by the time they did, it was already too late to do anything. They put slaying the Begriffon off for tomorrow and went to sleep extremely content with themselves.


Odessa Literature

Tractatus Axiomaticus DJ Spinoza is shewn as a thing of n heads He rewrites and he rewrites he rewrongs Zum Beispiel: What have I done to my world It had an l in it Now I sit in this poem with no place to go! Excuse me, are these letters or ladders I shall discard them after use, as the instructions indicated I climbed to the apex of the haystack although I’m allergic to hay and any kind of height makes me nauseated but the apex of the haystack was identical with the base of the haystack Is there a beginning that is not also an end? Twenty-three years of school and I don’t even know whether ‘this is my foot’ is a true statement If I could write a poem about my intercourse with the world, it would go like this: Huh?! Or this: The color of the sky cannot be named Having been in love perhaps alters the way you walk or perhaps it doesn’t Arithmetical operations may also express emotions (but do not have to) Ramat, I promised to write you a letter I write you the wonderful letter l Use it wisely It does well in all sorts of statements We have the Phoenicians to thank for it Think of me as you do We speak in circles, I teach the Odyssey, it is 2004 What kind of philosophy do you want to do, I don’t know, what kind of philosophy do you want to do I need to say something true but before that I need to say something true What are the conditions of truth, can a proposition end with a preposition


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Why are you talking to yourself, isn’t talking meant for another, but I is, yeah you “is” alright Let A equal A and not-A, let it equal B and not-B, several animals walk on grass The sign says Don’t walk on grass, but they still walk on grass because they don’t know how to read We know how to read, we walk on grass for other reasons Excuse me is this a dictionary or a fictionary, dysfunctionary or correctionary, visionary or distractionary Excuse me are these vowels or howls Are they our howls, they are so distant Let A be: Imagine a language that is like the world Let B see: It is not like anything that is like language Music swells up composed of violins It seems to be true It is not verifiable O music that ends Each thing is an axiom My shoulder is an axiom and my hand, my foot This glass, this table this wall There are so many axioms There is not a single proof.


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On The Languages Of Ukrainian Poetry By Boris Khersonsky The events of the past two years have divided Ukrainian poets no less than they have divided other sectors of society. The Russian-language publishing scene has changed radically. Ukraine’s best-known Russian language poet explains the literary situation.

A wonderful poet from Odessa (who now resides in Sydney), Yuriy Mikhaylik, told me this story. During the first year of Ukrainian independence, when government grants for writers had not yet been exhausted, a river trip was organized for a group of writers. They were going to be traveling down the Dnipro river on a boat. The festivities included a banquet, drinks, and of course — poetry recitals. Mikhaylik was introduced by the poet Ivan Drach. “Mikhaylik” — he said — “is a great Russian poet who lives in Odessa”. After a pause, he added: “Well, what can we do? We have good Russian poets living in Ukraine…” *** At the advent of national independence, two Soviet literatures coexisted peacefully in Ukraine — that which was written in Ukrainian and that which was written in Russian. This was in total accordance with comrade Stalin’s thesis — which stated that art must be national in form and socialist in content. Both types of literature coexisted without incident in the bleak Writers’ Union. Of course, not only “verse mongers” with party memberships belonged to this organization, some people were normal poets. Especially in Odessa, the situation stood in perfect equilibrium. The wonderful Ukrainian poet Boris Necherda and the equally great Russian poet Yuriy Mikhaylik both lived and worked in Odessa.


The term “Russian-speaking” already existed at that time, but it was not considered to be “politically correct”. The term “Russian-speaking” was used mostly by nationally conscious Russians, the kind who sneered at using the term “Russian” to refer to those who dared to write in the Russian language without also having Russian blood flowing through their veins. There were many who thought that way. The main divide in those days was not between literature written in Russian and Ukrainian, but between pretense and authenticity. It must be noted that authenticity does not necessarily guarantee quality (neither in literature nor other spheres of life), but nevertheless, any authenticity that managed to make its way through the moldy wall of the perestroika “pretense” years could not fail to impress. It was an opportunity. An opportunity that was sadly missed, like many other opportunities before and after. *** I always believed that any formal association of writers was a true enemy of real creativity. There are several reasons for this, chief among them being the fact that any organization necessarily strives towards limitless growth, expansion and mass appeal. Real art on the other hand, by definition, cannot have mass appeal.


Greyness and conformity will always make up the bulk of any official organization, and as the majority, it will inevitably impose its own rules. It will self-generate a ruthless and vindictive bureaucracy and devour any creativity and non-conformism from the inside.

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Unpublished works often exert pressure on the writer from within. The writer simply needs to make her texts “the subject of social dialogue” — as my “culturologist” friend used to say. In Soviet times, there were many borders between the author and getting published — censorship, editors, the personal sympathies and agendas of people who served as gatekeepers to publication. Not to speak of the time necessary to thoroughly prepare materials.

The exclusion and blacklisting of truly great writers such as Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn and others was not a by-product, but rather the primary intended function of the Soviet state-sanctioned literary process. And as much as I disagree with the political views of Minakov, it is clear to see that his exclusion from literature is a result of the same exact processes. The temporary gatherings and associations which are borne of literary festivals are, to me, a valid alternative to the Soviet-style organizations. The writers’ unions of Soviet times were all in one way or another fixated on grants and the distribution of those grants was the foremost area of conflict — anonymous denunciations were not unheard of in those days. The creative process itself, for its own sake, was the aim of only a few of those who took part in the organization.

After the fall of the USSR, the grants disappeared. Not everyone understood that right away. Just to be safe, the most loyal servants of the fallen regime began serving the new one with redoubled ardor. However, it turned out that the new regime had little need for professional writers (professional journalists were another story). They did not need poems glorifying Ukraine, and they did not need historical epics. It turned out that the rapidly vanishing reader base did not need them either. Some of them did not even have that readership base to begin with. Those that did — they quickly lost it. The wild 90’s were advancing in full force. The grants were soon gone. But there was a twist to the story. It turned out that the literary unions owned property. Real estate. After privatization, this property could be managed to someone’s profit. And it could be warred over with great enthusiasm. *** The 10th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence was marked by a great upsurge of “literary activity”. All the material that had spent years collecting dust inside the desk drawers of Soviet writers could now finally be released.

All of this vanished. Publication became an assembly line. The sole issue now was paying for the typography, purchasing wine for the presentation, and to have some money set aside for the critics — who were ready to write the most positive review for the most mediocre book for a very modest sum of money. The old writer hierarchy was dismantled. The authority of formerly leading poets was reduced to zero. Money, the obtaining of money, and money again — this is what came to the forefront. A fourteen year old boy reads poetry intended for children, he is accompanied by the city’s leading musicians and documented by all the local TV stations. His father — a businessman — decided to give his child 15 minutes of fame. Against the background of famine (sometimes quite literal), the figure of the wealthy patron gained special appeal. And if such a person were to become an “author”… what could be better? I was observing this in Odessa and in Ukraine — but it was like this everywhere across the former Soviet Republics. ***


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The twin phenomenon of the downfall of the authorial hierarchy together with the economic crisis brought about what I call the “feudal splintering” of literature. Books that were published in a given city (with the exception of crime and romance novels) were doomed to stay within the limits of that city. This was accurate even for publishing houses in Kyiv and Moscow. In order for a book to get to another city, someone had to bring it there physically — usually, a friend of the author. For many years, my own books published in Moscow did not make it to Odessa. And this is not to mention the poets in Lviv, Kharkiv, Donetsk… During that time, I was in communication with writers from all over the other Ukrainian cities. In this way I met the beautiful and now, sadly, deceased Nataliya Khatkina from Donetsk. I met many Kharkiv poets, namely Anastasia Afanasyeva and Sergei Zhadan, Irina Yevsa and Stanislav Minakov — a wonderfully morbid and very Eastern Orthodox poet, whose talent has been in recent days been sadly obscured by his rabid pro-Russian rhetoric. This comparison may be crude, but the literary exchange of those days bore many resemblances to the shadow market in smuggled trade in goods that was at that time simultaneously taking place on the post-Soviet market. ***


The splintering happened not only across territorial lines, but across linguistic ones as well. The Russian and Ukrainian literatures were now completely separate and totally parallel. Later, we would discover that we lived in a non-Euclidian plane and the parallels could intersect. That would take 20 years to happen. And, just like the territorial divide, this one was only overcome through personal relations, friendship, even love — if you will. Mutual translations by the Russian and Ukrainian poets living in Ukraine, invitations to Ukrainian literature festivals extended to the Russian writers living here, these were the acts of community that bridged the lines between the two communities. You might ask — why were they not invited before? Well, an ideology existed which encouraged this — now, thankfully that sort of thinking is deceased. Russian authors from Russia were welcome guests. Russian authors from Ukraine, on the other hand, were much less welcome. It must be said here that a certain feeling of humiliation and anger existed on both sides. To some Ukrainian poets, the very existence of Russian poets in the same country meant an infringement on their space. Some believed that Russian literature was taking away valuable resources from Ukrainian literature, stifling its potential for growth. Identical sentiments in reverse were often expressed by Russian authors. Eventually, we all understood that no one was taking away anyone’s resources — the resources weren’t there in the first place. Once it became obvious there was nothing to divide, the tensions began to ease. To this day, the language divide has not been completely resolved — and I sometimes fear it might not ever be fully resolved. Some will always be of the opinion that the ethnic background of a writer is the inextricable basis of his self-identification, and that such descriptors are necessarily embedded in his creativity. Some will continue to insist on the “citizenship” of art — anything created by any citizen of Ukraine, in any language, belongs to Ukraine.

I am a firm believer that a writer’s work belongs to the language in which he writes. However, language itself does not belong to any government or state structure. The Ukrainian writer Vasyl Makhno can live and work in New York City. The writing of Aleksey Tsvetkov belongs to the Russian language — but in no way to the Russian Federation. Earlier in this essay, I mentioned that temporary associations such as literary festivals can serve as a valid alternatives to official rigidly structured “writers’ unions”. Today, literary festivals have become something similar to scientific conferences – for several days, authors listen (or pretend to listen) to each other, communicate and network. Paradoxically, experts gain most of their information on the literary society from performances at festivals rather than directly from books themselves. An interesting example: in the span of two years, Marina Kiyanovskaya saw a sharp climb in her popularity ratings and entered the Top 10 of Ukrainian writers. This happened even though Marina had not published a single book in six years (though as of writing this essay, a large collection of her poems is set to be published after a lengthy break). It was festival presence and networking which allowed the public to appreciate her immense talents. And now, to speak about the festivals. I’ll name three here: Kyiv Laurels organized by Aleksandr Kabanov, the Voloshinsky Festival organized by Andrey Korovin and the Lviv Literary Forum Festival directed by Aleksandra Koval.

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Out of these three festivals, only Kyiv Laurels was initially intended to be a bilingual festival. There were two nominations, the categories being Russian-language and Ukrainian-language. The nominees were diverse: a Georgian and a Polish poet were among the laureates. That being said, for the first few years of the festival, the programs ran separately. At first, I attended the Ukrainian-language events — but I soon noticed there was no reciprocity from the Ukrainian side. Unfortunately, this caused me to swear off the program for two years. Then, things began to change — Ukrainian, Russian, and Belarussian poets were included in the same program. At my last Kyiv Laurels, I was paired with Marina Kiyanovskaya (I sincerely hope not for the last time!) The Lviv festival, for a long time, was exclusively Ukrainian – but it also featured Russian poets from Russia. Later (with the help of SHO magazine editor Sasha Kabanov), some of the programs began to feature Russian-speaking authors from Ukraine and the USA. It would be difficult to imagine the forum today without the involvement of Russian-language literature in Ukraine. On the reverse side, the Voloshinsky Festival was exclusively Russian-language. Today, especially following the illegal annexation of Crimea, the festival is something I boycott on principle — although I have no qualms with Andrey Korovin personally.

There is one more important thing to know: until recent times, for the Russian-language writers in Ukraine (including yours truly) the main axis of activity was Moscow rather than Kyiv. It was in Moscow that all the “heavyweight” anthologies and magazines of Russian-language literature were published. Moscow had publishing houses which not only did not demand payment from authors, but even paid them a modest amount — even if that payment sometimes translated only to “author’s copies”. It was home to some of the most prestigious awards, as well as festivals that encompassed an enormous territory — from Moscow to the far reaches of the Russian Federation.

The fate of many Kyiv publishing houses was catastrophic — Fakt ended its existence due to bankruptcy, Spadschina- Integral, which published many of my own books, has virtually ceased to exist as well.

Kyiv lacks a lot of these resources. There are virtually only two notable literary magazines that will publish Russian-language work — the aforementioned SHO which has only a small section dedicated to literature, and Raduga — a very conservative, traditional publication which has changed very little since its Soviet incarnation. New, promising magazines will sometimes crop up – but sponsors usually stick around for only a few issues. Kharkiv has always led a somewhat separate literary life and, even in the past, orientated itself towards St. Petersburg rather than Moscow. The excellent and notable Lviv publishing house Stary Lev published its first Russian-language book only this year.

In the immortal words of Ivan Drach — “well, what can we do about it?”

Two years ago, the events of the Maidan drew a definitive line between those of us who value Ukraine over publication, and those of us for whom the language and the country are one and the same. Russian-language poets, even the very good ones and even the great ones, still live and work in Ukraine, and their art and their opinions may well be polarizing.

Boris Khersonsky is a physician and poet. One of the most prolific Ukrainian poets in the Russian language, he is the author of more than a dozen volumes of poetry.

There is a fourth festival that takes place in Chernivtsi — the Meridian. It is wonderfully organized, but has a strict quota of 1-2 Russian-language authors per year. I believe that any criteria or quota other than the quality of the writing itself has no place in literature and especially poetry. ***


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Aleksandr Pushkin June 6, 1799 – February 10, 1837

Vera Inber June 10, 1890 – November 11, 1972

A pioneer of the new Russian literature, his literary heritage unites people of different epochs, nationalities and world views.

The girl was born in the family of a wealthy publisher and a teacher. Her mother was the aunt of Leon Trotsky. Vera was well educated, married the journalist Natan Inber and left Russia. She started writing poetry, that was rather sharp for a Jewish girl, during her gymnasium years. Her first publications impressed Alexander Blok, Ilya Ehrenburg. The critic Ivanov-Razumnik put her book “Melancholy wine” in line with Akhmatova’s “Rosary.”

The boy was born into a family of an untitled nobleman and spent a lot of time at his grandmother’s, who hired the beloved nanny of the little poet — Arina Rodionovna Yakovleva. The two of them cultivated love of reading in the boy, and literary evenings in his family home, attended by prominent artists, opened the world of poetry to Pushkin. He started writing poetry while educated at Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum and was first published at the age of 15. During his lifetime, Pushkin acquired incredible fame, but fell into disfavor with the state for epigrams that quickly made their way around Petersburg. The poet was exiled to the South, specifically to Odessa in 1823. Living on the Black Sea, he wrote his famous works, basking in the attention of high society, but continued to miss Petersburg, especially after hearing the news of the Decembrist revolt which took the lives of many of his friends. In 1826 Nicholas I lets Pushkin return to Moscow, intending to make him the “court poet,” forbidding him to read his poems anywhere without the Emperor’s permission. In a few years Pushkin marries the greatest Moscow beauty, Natalia Goncharova, and they have four children together. Aside from his creative work, Pushkin had two great passions — women and gambling. The complications of his affairs with married women and his gambling debts created a lot of problems for Pushkin. On one hand, the debts encouraged him to write more works and earn money. On the other, he took part in dozens of duels. The last duel, fought in 1836 to defend the honor of his wife, turned out to be fatal. “The sun of Russian poetry has gone down,” — wrote Vladimir Odoevsky.

In 1914, before the beginning of the war, Vera Inber with her husband and 2 year old daughter Zhanna left Europe and returned home to Odessa. She continued to write poetry and publish in local newspapers, attended poetic evenings, felt herself to be a fashion icon and shared her style advice in lectures and articles. The October events forced wealthy and famous people to abandon Moscow and Petersburg for Odessa. Among them were Bunin, Voloshin, Aldanov, Alexey Tolstoy. Their arrival revived the literary life of the city. Vera Inber spent the beginning of the 1920’s in Odessa. After a trip to Constantinople with her husband, she returned alone (he was against the new regime and stayed behind). During the war, Inber was in Leningrad with her second husband Ilya Strashun. Her experiences of the blockaded city were reflected in her diary “Almost three years.” Having a fragile position because of her birth and connection to Trotsky, Vera lost her talent in the attempts to conform to the system. The authorities valued Vera Inber. She was chosen to be on the board of the Writers Union of the USSR, and as director of the Poetry section there. A lot of things depended on her, and she enjoyed the power. Over the years, she got used to it so much, that she could not, and probably did not want to, part with that image of herself. “As long as we haven’t forgotten the blue waltzes While hearing the red songs, As long as our hands are still tender, kiss them.” Vera Inber wrote these lines at some point, seemingly foreshadowing what happened to her eventually.


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Anna Akhmatova June 23, 1889 – March 5, 1966

Hayim Nahman Bialik January 9, 1873 – July 4, 1934

“The Northern Star,” born on the Black Sea, she was a woman with a deep soul and a difficult life. She survived wars, revolutions, arrests and deaths of her loved ones. Adored by the entire country at the beginning of her career, she was then prohibited. A poetess with a Russian soul and a Tatar surname — Anna Akhmatova.

Bialik spent his childhood in the country, where he would sit for hours by the pond and watch the sun reflected in it, which became a kind of symbol of his writing.

As a child, she spent every summer on the Black Sea, and according to her brother’s words, “she swam like a bird.” Her mother recited poems by memory to the kids. At the age of ten, after a serious illness, Anna started writing. With her first book of poems, Anna bathes in glory and lives the high life — she is a celebrated beauty, she has a lot of admirers, artists paint her portraits, poems are dedicated to her, young poetesses imitate her manner. But this woman was attracted to weaker men, who were not able to make her truly happy. With her noble blood and apolitical views, she was prohibited by the Soviet regime. Eventually Anna found herself alone — her friends were dead or emigrated. Her son was several times under arrest, and once Anna even had to go against her heart and write poems dedicated to Stalin. Anna met the war in Leningrad, where she publicly spoke to Leningrad’s women, did lookout duty on the roofs and dug trenches. She was even recognized as a very important person and evacuated to Tashkent. There she made friends with Lidia Chukovskaya and Faina Ranevskaya and desperately wrote poems about Leningrad, expressing her concern for the city. In 1946 Akhmatova met Randolph Churchill (Winston Churchill’s son) which became fatal for her – Anna was again marked as ideologically harmful, her book was destroyed. Anna died in 1966. Her body was in the Moscow morgue that bore the inscription, the same as her Fontan home, “Deus conservat omnia.”

The boy’s father lost his job, relocated to a small town by Zhitomir where poor Jews were coming to live and opened a tavern. Later, in one of his poems “Avi” (“My father”), Bialik looks at the tragic circumstances that forced his father, a dreamer and mystic in his soul, into the lowly way of life that surrounded him. After his father’s death, Hayim lived with his grandfather. It was during this time that he acquired three of his biggest passions: the enjoyment of pranks and games (opposing the grandfather’s strict atmosphere), the desire to be alone with his dreams and fantasies, and a consuming love for books. After marrying Manya Averbukh, poverty forced Bialik to take on various jobs like selling wood and teaching Jewish subjects in schools, leaving only his spare time for literature. During this period the poet wrote his first accusatory poem, “Ahen Khatsir Ha-‘am” (“As dry grass”), followed by the famous cycle “Songs of wrath” in which the author castigates the people for inertness, spiritual poverty and lack of renewal: “Even on the morning of the fight, to the sound of the trumpets/ The dead won’t wake and the bodies won’t stir.” Bialik was sent to Kishinev to collect materials about the crimes committed during the pogroms. That experience moved Bialik to write the poem “Be-‘ir ha-harega” (“The city of slaughter”). Unflinching realism, combined with the exposure of a weak will in a people that let themselves be butchered, inspired Jewish youth to defend themselves and fight for the life of the people. This poem made Bialik the most popular Jewish poet of his time. In 1921, thanks to the efforts of Maxim Gorky, Bialik was able to leave the Soviet Union and settle in Tel-Aviv, where he immediately became the center of the city’s cultural life. Bialik was a pioneer of children’s literature in Hebrew. Shortly before death, he published the unfinished poem “Yatmut” (“Orphanhood”), recalling the images of his childhood and of his parents.



Odessa Photographer In Focus Andrey Moskvichov Andrey Moskvichov was born in Odessa on September 18, 1960. He graduated from Odessa Polytechnic University. Andrey took up photography in the 1990s and since then has taken part in various exhibitions of photography and modern art.












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Making Modernism: French-Ukrainian Artist Sonia Delaunay Returns To Odessa Or Does She? by Yevgeniy Demenok Sonia Delaunay (November 14, 1885 – December 5, 1979) was a French painter and textile designer born in Ukraine, who spent most of her life in Paris and was a cofounder of the Orphism art movement along with Robert Delaunay based on strong colors and geometric shapes. Through painstaking historical research Demenok solves the long standing historical mystery of Delaunay’s birthplace in Ukraine. This article is part of Yevgeniy Demenok’s Odessa Review column on the history of the Modernist movement in Odessa and Ukraine.

What more can be said about an artist whose name has been entered into every encyclopedia on modern painting? A cavalier of the French order of the Legion of Honor as well as the first living woman to have had a personal exhibit at the Louvre? It might seem like we know everything there is to know about Sonia Delaunay. That was certainly the impression I had when I first began gathering material for an article about Sonia several years ago — but, as it turns out, that impression was completely unfounded. Sonia Delaunay (born Sara Stern) lived a long, colorful and fascinating life. At the age of five, she was adopted into the family of her maternal uncle, the successful St. Petersburg lawyer Heinrich Terk (she would later take on his family name). Being brought up in a lawyer’s family afforded young Sonia the chance to receive a quality education. During school holidays, she traveled around Europe familiarizing herself with the museums of France, Germany, and Italy. Her talent for painting was noticed by her teacher,


and upon his suggestion the eighteen year old Sonia entered the Art Academy in Karlsruhe. After two years, Sonia — now known as Sophie Terk — decided to move to Paris, which was at that time the capital of the European art world. Once there, she entered the La Palette Academy. She was unsatisfied with the academy’s manner of teaching, but she made up for it by spending all her time at the city’s galleries, salons, and studios; as well as embedding herself in the social circles of radical Paris youth. The young artist was influenced by Van Gogh, Gaugin, Rousseau and the Fauvists in her work. At 23, Sonia married the German gallerist, collector and art critic Wilhelm Uhde, whose work was focused primarily on the primitivist and modern currents in art. The opulent wedding took place in London, but only a year later in 1910, Sonia would leave her husband for the young abstractionist Robert Delaunay (whom she met, ironically enough, through her husband). Despite the unfortunate circumstances in which their love developed, it gave rise to one of the most enduring, romantic and


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fertile creative partnerships in modern art history. Within a year, Sonia gave birth to a son, Charles (who would go on to become a famous Jazz historian). Amazingly, despite the divorce the Delaunays enjoyed a very warm friendship with Wilhelm Uhde throughout their lives. He would purchase works from Robert as well as Sonia, realizing full well the talent of both artists. After 1911, she came under the influence of Cubism and departed from the naturalism that she was practicing at the time, as well as a kind of realism in her works in favor of geometrical abstraction. She experimented with visual rhythm and color. In 1913, Guillaume Apollinaire, who introduced the Delaunay spouses to Blaise Cendrars, dubbed the Delaunays’ particular approach to cubism to be “Orphism”. Sonia created the illustrations for Blaise Cendrars’ 1913 cubist poem “Prose of the Trans-Siberian and of Little Jehanne of France”, which remains in print to this day. The basis for the book’s design was the “simultaneism” principle developed in tandem by Sonia and Robert. Sonia was impressed and influenced by the color experimentation of her husband. She began to create simultaneist canvases alongside Robert, and their works were shown together at exhibitions in Paris, Prague, Berlin, Budapest, Warsaw and America. In the early 1910’s together with Robert she developed the principles of Orphism — a variation on cubism built on emphasizing the vital dynamics of coloration. In 1913, Sonia presents her first Orphist canvases at the Independent Salon.

01 / This daguerreotype with a portrait of Sonia Delaunay was made in Saint Petersburg.


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In 1931 Sonia becomes one of the organizers of the “Abstraction — Creation” salon, and in 1939 of the avant-garde “New Reality” salon. She made an immense contribution to the post-war revival of French Abstractionism, preserving her style of vivid spectral dynamics. She also tried her hand at mosaic and stained glass, ceramics, textiles, and book design. In 1937 Sonia and Robert assisted with the interior design of the French pavilion at the World Fair in Paris. Sonia created a 235 square meter mural for the pavilion, for which she received a gold medal. The next year, she is honored with a large personal retrospective in the Amsterdam City Museum.

02 / Sonia and Robert Delaunay

In 1931 Sonia becomes one of the organizers of the “Abstraction — Creation” salon, and in 1939 of the avantgarde “New Reality” salon The First World War forced the couple to relocate from Paris to Spain, and later to Portugal. During their years in exile (1914-1920), the Delaunays formed many friendships with local artists. In Spain, Sonia Delaunay met with Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Dyagilev, and Vaslav Nizhinsky. She would create costume and set designs for Dyagilev’s staging of “Cleopatra”, which was set to the music of A.S. Arensky in 1918. In 1916, Sonia exhibited Cubist and Orphist objets d’art. She had personal exhibitions in Stockholm (1916), Bilbao (1919), and Berlin (1920). At this time she enjoyed a period of great creativity: creating fashion designs for shoes and clothing, designs for playing cards, cars, theater costumes. She created carpets and illustrated books. Sonia ceaselessly switched from one field to another, and enjoyed creative success in everything and anything that she took up.


In 1920, the Delaunays were able to return to Paris. In 1923, together with V. S. Bart and H. Granovsky, Sonia became part of the history of Dadaism when she assisted in the staging of Tristan Tzara’s “The Gas Heart”. In 1925, she participated in the International Decorative Arts Exhibition along with Aleksandra Ekster, Nathan Altman, David Sternberg. Sonia Delaunay also become a master of the Art Deco style, her discoveries being widely used in many areas of decorative art: ceramics, theater design, advertising. She created fabric designs for Lyons factories, and in 1924 together with Jacques Heim she opened the “Simultaneist Boutique” fashion atelier, where she showcased her fashion work, interior designs, fabric patterns, and even automobile designs.

Robert Delaunay succumbed to cancer in 1941. Despite the tragedy in her life, Sonia went back to work with redoubled energy. Her aim is to see their joint projects to completion and immortalize her husband by publishing his theoretical works. She also begins writing down her recollections of Robert and their friends — Apollinaire, Picasso, Max Jacob, Fernand Leger, Georges Braque, Aleksandra Ekster, Wassily Kandinsky, Aleksander Arkhipenko and many others. At all the exhibitions of abstract art which spring up all over post-war Europe, she brought her husband’s works to be shown alongside hers. In 1963, Sonia gifted 117 canvases authored by herself and Robert to the National Museum of Modern Art. The next year, a lavish ceremony to commemorate the gift took place in the Louvre. Sonia Delaunay became the first ever female artist to have a personal exhibition in the famous museum. This was a significant milestone in the history of art. Her contributions to the art world yielded the recognition that she was due — she became a cavalier of Arts and Literature, received the Paris grand prize for her service to the arts in 1973, and in 1975 received the highest existing award in France — the order of the Legion of Honor. Sonia died in Paris on December 5, 1979.

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In 1985, the Paris Museum of Modern Art hosted an exhibition dedicated to the 100 year anniversary of her birth. Her works are to this day highly appraised by collectors and lovers of art — in 2002 with her painting “Market in Minho” selling for 4.5 million euro and far exceeding the catalog price with a final bid more than five times than the expected reserve price. The painting was purchased by a Russian collector. While Delaunay’s works are exhibited all over the world, unfortunately, the one country that truly deserves to have one of her paintings but lacks one one of her canvases is her native Ukraine.

ly, French versions all give the location as “Gradijsk, near Odessa”. However, no town or village with the name Gradijsk exists anywhere near Odessa. The Spanish version confidently cites the artist’s place of birth as Odessa itself. Other reputable internet resources such as Encyclopedia Britannica and various versions of the Jewish Encyclopedia again refer to Gradijsk; but numerous articles about the painter again alternate between Gradijsk and Odessa. Print sources are split as well – for example, TASCHEN’s “Women Artists in the 20 and 21 Century” cites “Gradisk”, while the extensive album “Modern Paintings” published by Moscow’s AST/ Astrel give the location as “Grazhist, near Odessa”. Getting to the bottom of the matter seemed almost impossible.

After 1911, she came under the influence of Cubism and departed from the naturalism that she was practicing at the time, as well as a kind of realism in her works in favor of geometrical abstraction It seems that a figure of such scale and fame as Sonia Delaunay should not have any discrepancies or gaps in her biography. However, I encountered them almost instantly in my research. For example, different sources cite different locations of birth for the artist. Even Wikipedia, one of the most popular internet resources, is still error prone — the article on Delaunay is available in nearly 20 languages, but all the articles are distinctly split into 3 camps on the critical question of where she was born. The Russian, Ukrainian, Italian and Dutch versions all agree that Sara Stern was born in Gradijsk, a town in the Ukrainian region of Poltava. The English version also mentions Gradijsk, but only as a “possible” location of Sonia’s birth. The German, Portuguese, and most important-

I became obsessed with the idea of solving this mystery. My first step was to purchase every significant biography of Delaunay available, as well as her only published autobiography which was released in Paris when she was 93 years old. I quickly found that the source of the ambiguity seems to stem from several lines in Delaunay’s autobiographical book, “Nous Irons Jusqu’au Soleil” (“We Follow the Sun”). The book came out in 1978, just one year before the artist’s death, and was written with the help of Jacques Damase and Patrick Reino. On page 12, in the small chapter dedicated to her childhood, Delaunay only once mentions that her father worked at a factory in ”Gradzihsk”. The mention of the town would then make its way into the chronology compiled at the end of the book – listed there as the artist’s place of birth. In the same chronology, her name is given as Sophie

instead of Sonia — more chaos! Seeing as there is no town with the name “Gradzihsk” in Ukraine, in further books and articles the places is named as “Gradijsk” — the closest name of an existing city. One of the best Delaunay biographies was published in New York in 1995. The author, Stanley Barron, worked in collaboration with Jacques Damase, the artist’s friend who also helped her work on her own memoirs. Barron dedicates a similarly brief space to Delaunay’s childhood. He writes: “Most official biographies and catalogues cite the Ukrainian city of Gradijsk on the Dnieper river as the place of her birth; however, in her own book Delaunay only mentions Gradijsk as a city where her father worked. Her last will and testament, which was certified by a notary, gives Odessa as the city of her birth. It is difficult to explain how Odessa came to be replaced by Gradijsk.” Ukrainian authors Aleksandr Noga and Irina Kodlubai in their spectacular monograph “Sonia Delaunay Returns To Ukraine Via Lviv” cite documents from the archive of Kyiv art historian Dmitri Gorbachev: an announcement in a 1908 French newspaper about the wedding of Sonia and Wilhelm Uhde, where it is specified that the bride was born to parents Elias and Hannah Stern. A document issued in the same year in St. Petersburg specifies that Sarah Stern was born on November 1, 1885 in Odessa to the family of reserve soldier Elias Stern and Frau Hannah Stern (nee Terk). The Odessa Rabbinate also has a record of the birth. It would seem that this information solves the uncertainty once and for all — but the authors are careful not to rush to conclusions. It remains unexplained why the overwhelming majority of sources list Delaunay’s place of birth as some variation of “Gradijsk”.


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It seems that a figure of such scale and fame as Sonia Delaunay should not have any discrepancies or gaps in her biography. However, I encountered them almost instantly in my research It became obvious that there was only one way to establish the truth: refer to the original, authentic documents. I managed to receive archive documents from the regional archives in Odessa and Poltava (Gradijsk has only 7000 residents and does not have its own archive). With the help of one of Odessa’s best local historians, Aleksandr Rozenboym, I obtained the important document which would finally help me tie up the loose ends of this story. This document was none other than a page

To be completely sure, I first phoned and then made an official request to the Poltava Regional State Archive. I received a verbal response informing me that most of the archival data regarding Jews who were born and lived in Poltava prior to World War II had been destroyed during wartime. I also received an official response in writing which elaborated that the Poltava State Archive had never received data regarding births in the town of Gradijsk, Kremenchug area. So, where did Gradijsk come from? My theory is that, recalling the distant events of her childhood in her twilight years, Sonia Delaunay made a simple human error. After all, Sonia saw her father only once after moving to her uncle’s home in St. Petersburg, and as for her mother — she never saw her again. She also never returned to Odessa. To be sure, she had vivid and emotional recollections — sparkling deep white snow in the winters,

In Spain, Sonia Delaunay met with Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Dyagilev, and Vaslav Nizhinsky. She would create costume and set designs for Dyagilev’s staging of “Cleopatra”, which was set to the music of A.S. Arensky in 1918 from the books of the Odessa rabbinate for the day of November 1, 1885 — specifically the section under the header “Births”. The deputy of the St. Petersburg notary responsible for the aforementioned wedding document made a mistake of one number — Entry no. 1173 informs that on this day, Eli Stern and his wife Hannah had a baby girl named Sara. A few months earlier, there is an entry numbered 244 regarding the wedding of Eli Stern to the daughter of Odessa merchant Tovy Terk, Hannah, The wedding was officiated by Rabbi Politkovsky. Elias was 27, and Hannah 22. For both of them, it was their first marriage.

giant yellow sunflowers in the summer, all the bright colors of Ukraine which she would never cease to speak of and which inspired her art. Of course, emotions are much better preserved in our memory than facts. I believe that “Gradijsk” is simply the Russian word for “tiny town” (“gorodishko”) which stuck in little Sonia’s memory and over the years, transformed into a real place in her mind. There is a similar story which occurred with the grandfather of famous French singer Joe Dassin — who, by the way, also hails from Odessa. But that is a whole different story… Yevgeniy 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.


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The British Council is giving Ukrainian civil servants the English language skills to engage effectively with Ukraine’s international partners. The government of Ukraine has set a requirement for all civil servants to speak a relevant foreign language by 2020, with English inevitably in most demand. The British Council has been supporting this since 2012, teaching English to 500 officials in key ministries and agencies each year, particularly those involved in Ukraine’s growing engagement and cooperation with its international partners.

The English for Civil Servants project began in 2012, but was given added impetus by the Revolution of Dignity in 2014 and Ukraine’s aspirations for European integration. Focusing on civil servants actively involved in Ukraine’s international engagement, we have designed courses offering English alongside job-related skills improvement. We work with the parliament, President’s Administration, Cabinet of Ministers and key sectoral ministries and agencies, as well as providing one-to-one teaching to some very senior officials.

In June 2016 we celebrated the graduation of 130 civil servants from the programme, bringing the total number of programme participants to nearly 2,500. Many of these report increased confidence and competence in representing Ukraine in international meetings and discussions, an improvement commented on equally by international partners such as the European Commission and NATO.



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Korney Chukovsky: Odessa’s Famed And Also Unknown Writer By Vadim Goloperov He was Vladimir Zhabotinsky’s childhood friend; a defender of Boris Pasternak and Anna Akhmatova; translator of Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain and Rudyard Kipling; chronicler of the work of the poetry of Nikolay Nekrasov and a prolific literary critic. Korney Chukovsky gained extensive fame — unexpectedly — mostly for his poems for children. The writer was raised in Odessa, a city which he considered to be quite plebeian and lacking in taste.

Nikolay Korneychukov was born out of wedlock to Emmanuil Solomonovich Levinson, a Jew, and Yekaterina Osipovna Korneychukova, a Ukrainian woman from Poltava. The future writer’s mother worked as a maid in the Levinsons’ St. Petersburg home before marrying Emmanuil — and it was there that Nikolay, who would later take on the pen name Korney Chukovsky, was born on March 19, 1882. Unfortunately, the young family would fall apart soon after Nikolay’s birth: Emmanuil refused to officially marry Yekaterina, despite having two children together with her (Nikolay as well as his older sister Mariya) as well as having lived for three years in a common-law marriage. The children were unable even to take on their father’s surname. After discovering Emmanuil’s decision to marry another woman, Yekaterina took her two children and moved to Odessa, settling on Novorybnaya (which is now Panteleymonovskaya) street. The tragic end of his parents’ relationship had a strong influence on the young Chukovsky. His peers teased him mercilessly, never letting him forget his status as a bastard child. He frequently had to witness the rude and hostile treatment of his mother by the neighbors, who judged the unwed mother harshly. Already as a child, Chukovsky


began to escape into writing, the fantasies of battles between good and evil characters serving as a reflection of the conflicts raging in his mind. The feeling of inferiority, instilled in him as a child, continued to plague the author into adulthood — those sorrowful memories can also be traced in the author’s first novel, “Silver Coat of Arms.” In the book, he describes his childhood home on Novorybnaya Street: a dirty and noisy place inhabited by the lowest strata of society. His family was very poor. Yekaterina worked most of the time, while her children spent their free time on the street, in a typical Odessa courtyard where the residents “…fry fish in sunflower oil in the same spot where they dispose of their trash; argue, fight, and reconcile — and all day, from morning to night scream at their countless children who scream back like wild animals. Anytime you walk into the yard, it sounds as if a catastrophe has just occurred — the roof fell through, or someone was murdered. However, it is just an ordinary courtyard — filled to the brim with southerners who simply do not know how to keep quiet.” Many Odessa writers found inspiration in such surroundings, but to Chukovsky, there was little charm to be found in this kind of life.


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It seems that Emmanuil provided at least some degree of financial support for his children, as Yekaterina was able to send the 6-year old Chukovsky to the very reputable kindergarten on 22 Yevreyskaya Street, run by Madam Buchteyeva. It was there that Nikolay’s first meeting with Volodya Zhabotinsky — future poet, publicist and one of the founders of the state of Israel — took place. The friendship with Zhabotinsky would go on to play an important part in Chukovsky’s life. Later, as classmates at one of the city’s gymnasiums, they collaborated on a satirical student magazine. Nikolay would get expelled from the school for this early literary endeavor (although some versions cite his family circumstances as the cause of his expulsion), but this did not end the friend-ship between the two young men. After being expelled, Chukovsky spent most of his newfound free time in his books. Coming across an English workbook, he taught himself the language to the point of being able to read English authors in the original: Edgar Allan Poe and Walt Whitman, Thomas Mayne Reid, Alexander Dumas, Robert Steven-son and Walter Scott. Later, Nikolay became fascinated by Western philosophy and devoted himself to studying the works of Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Spencer, Engels and others. The young writer even formulated his own philo-sophical theory, which only three people agreed to hear out: a street-sweeper named Saveliy, a girl who would go on to become Chukovsky’s wife. His best friend at the time was Zhabotinsky. The latter became interested in his friend’s theories and recommended Chukovsky to his boss at the Odessa Novosty newspaper. Upon being hired as a journalist in 1901, Nikolay came up with what would become his famous pen name — “Korney Chukovsky.” He wrote articles and feuilletons for the Odessa Novosty, and interviewed writers who visited Odessa, such as Lazar Karmen, Ivan Bunin, Aleksandr Kuprin. His knowledge of English came in handy in 1903, when he was sent as a reporter to England. There, in the course of his work, Chukovsky met Winston Churchill and the future British monarch George V.


Already as a child, Chukovsky began to escape into writing, the fantasies of battles between good and evil characters serving as a reflection of the conflicts raging in his mind After returning to Odessa in 1904, Chukovsky continued writing for publications in Odessa, Kyiv and St. Petersburg. By that time, he had already moved to another address in Odessa, at the corner of Kanatnaya and Bazarnaya streets. In 1906, he moved to the small Finnish town of Kuokkala (known to-day as Repino), and after that to the Peredelkino village on the outskirts of St. Petersburg. He gained renown as a critic and translator, and made connections with

many famous poets and writers: Vladimir Mayakovsky, Vladimir Korolenko, Anna Akhmatova and Osip Mandelshtam, among others. Chukovsky was especially proud of his friendship with Boris Pasternak. He was also the first person to congratulate Pasternak on his receiving the Nobel Prize in literature in 1958, something for which he would later be subjected to persecution by the Soviet authorities.


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Interesting Facts About Korney Chukovsky: Although he taught himself English, Chukovsky lacked the opportunity to practice the spoken language, and had rather poor pronunciation and gram-mar. During his first visit to England in 1903, he often had a hard time making himself understood. The reason was that Chukovsky pronounced almost all the words phonetically: for instance, he said “wreeter” instead of “writer” and “tkhe tablay” instead of “the table.” In 1905, Chukovsky witnessed the battleship Potemkin uprising while in Odessa. He was on board the ship twice, and delivered letters from the sailors to land. In the 1960s, Chukovsky decided to adapt the Bible for Soviet children. This was a risky project for any Soviet writer to undertake. The authorities demanded that the words “God” and “Jews” be excluded from the text. For this purpose, a creative pseudonym was invented for God — he would be referred to as “Yahweh the Wizard.” The book, titled “The Tower of Babel and other Biblical Tales” was released in 1968, but soon thereafter, all copies were destroyed. Chukovsky was a friend to many Soviet dissidents and offered them assistance to the best of his ability. Sergei Yesenin, Alexander Blok, Isaac Babel, Osip Mandelshtam, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Anna Akhmatova were frequent guests at his home. Chukovsky’s contemporaries, as well as literary historians, note that Chukovsky often used coded language to write friends and enemies into his children’s books. One of the most well-known examples is Josef Stalin as the villain in “Tarakanische.” When awarding Chukovsky with the Order of Lenin in 1957, Nikita Khruschev complained to the writer that even though he gets very tired at work, his grandchildren still force him to read “Moydodyr” to them in the evenings. In 1962, Chukovsky received an honorary Doctorate in Letters from Oxford University.


In 1907, Chukovsky published his translations of Walt Whitman’s poems, cementing his reputation in the literary community. In 1917 he would begin extensive work on his favorite Russian poet, Nikolay Nekrasov. It was a project that went on for many years. He was the first to publish many of Nekrasov’s poems that were censored in Czarist Russia. In 1962, the completed work — “The Craft of Nekrasov” — received a prestigious state award, the Order of Lenin.

warming the hearts of nostalgic adults and entertaining young children today. Perhaps, Chukovsky’s secret is in retaining a childlike wonder at life, walking the fine line between reality and the imagined, fairytale world we leave behind as grownups.

Korney Chukovsky only became interested in children’s literature and psychology when he was already an established literary critic Korney Chukovsky only became interested in children’s literature and psychology when he was already an established literary critic. His study of “child language” would become one of his greatest contributions to Russian and world literature. Chukovsky’s book “From Two to Five” is widely considered one of the most important books in the Russian-language field of child psychology and pedagogy, but it was the poems he wrote for children which made him known and loved across the USSR. It must be said that achieving success as a children’s writer is much more difficult than gaining renown with an adult audience. It is very hard to put yourself in a child’s place and see the world through their eyes. Chukovsky turned out to be a master at this, and his poems continue to delight children even a century later. His characters, brought to life in movies and cartoons — the kind animal doctor Aibolit, the pirate Barmaley, Krokodil and the talking wash stand Moydodyr — are still

Of course, the foundation of Chukovsky’s great talent was laid in his childhood — and it was a childhood spent in Odessa, although Chukovsky himself did not have any particularly warm feelings about it. He called Odessa a “revolting” city and considered himself to be “from St. Petersburg.” It is not hard to understand the writer’s resentment — his childhood was far from worry-free. But Odessa does not take offense at his mixed feelings! Indeed, every year in August, Odessa hosts the Korney Chukovsky Literary Festival, and the house in which he is thought to have lived as a child bears a commemorative plaque with his name.

Vadim Goloperov is a staff writer at The Odessa Review.



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A Dialogue With Historian Serhii Plokhii By Vladislav Davidzon Serhii Plokhii is one of the most prominent contemporary historians specializing in the history of Ukraine across the English speaking world. Plokhii is the Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History at Harvard University, and also serves as the director of the Ukrainian Research Institute. Over the last decade and a half he has emerged as one of the premiere explainers of Ukrainian History to Anglophone readers, for which he has been showered with accolades and awards. His latest book is the critically acclaimed “The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine.” This conversation between The Odessa Review’s chief editor and Plokhii took place immediately after the 25th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union on August 24th, 2016.

The Odessa Review (Vladislav Davidzon): So can you tell us about the reception of your book, “The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union,’’ which was about Gorbachev and the final historical moments before the collapse of the Soviet Union? Serhii Plokhii: I am actually now busy promoting the book that appeared after that, which is called “The Gates of Europe.” I have just supervised the release of the Ukrainian translation in Kharkiv. But, yes, “The Last Empire” really got a lot of attention. When I was working on that book and I started to look for a publisher, there was very little interest around. Publishers generally looked at the collapse of the Soviet Union as ancient history, something that no one would be interested in. That changed with the events of Maidan, and with the Russo-Ukrainian conflict, and the book got a lot of attention. OR: Did you expect as much attention as that book wound up getting?



SP: No, I didn’t expect it at all. Especially given the initial reaction that came from the publishers, that is to say, that I was turned down by a number of prominent publishers. Although it was a work of history that the readers looked at and considered to be a kind of historical introduction to what was happening in the region at that time, meaning the time period between 2014 and 2015.

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OR: So it turned out that your book hit the Zeitgeist and not the other way around? You didn’t write this book predicting that events would make it so timely? SP: No, no. As all historians, I’m probably more interested in the past than in the present, and with that particular book, I was too slow and missed the next anniversary. It was 20 years or something like that. So from that point of view I was behind that deadline. Then, unfortunately of course, all these dramatic and tragic events in Ukraine happened.

OR: That process is just taking place now. SP: Right, and the disintegration of the Soviet Union didn’t end in 1991. To a degree, a new chapter in that drama of disintegration has just started. It’s not over today, at this moment. We have to look at the events in Ukraine, the events in the post-Soviet space, events in Russia and Eastern Europe as a continuation of that collapse. The Soviet collapse itself is not an absolutely unique thing in world history. What I mean is that a disintegration of the USSR understood as one of the last empires, one of the last traditional empires that were

I have chosen to write an overall history of Ukraine in order to explain to myself, to the public in the West, and to the Ukrainian public, where Ukrainian society of 2014-2015 came from

OR: So, what was the connection, what was the liminal part that connected that book and the “Gates of Europe” book? Having finished work on the disintegration of the Soviet Union and having written a remarkably granular account of the insider politics that were taking place, what was the connection between what you were doing there and what you wound up doing in the next book? SP: History played an important role in the conflict that unfolded in Ukraine. We witnessed a competition of different narratives and interpretations of history, as history played an important role in terms of the justification laws by both sides of what was happening when the military actions began in 2014-15. Let’s take the example of Novorossiya, or New Russia project, which as far as its architects are concerned is deeply rooted in the Russian Imperial past. But from the Ukrainian perspective “New Russia” is part of the lands that were home to the Tatars and Noghays and were first settled by Ukrainian Cossacks. You have clear parallels between the annexation of Crimea in 1783 and now in 2014.

OR: So to return to the Gorbachev book, what lessons from it are most timely in terms of the independence of Ukraine? What would be the most germane lesson that history could teach us 25 years later?

in place during the 19th and 20th centuries, is not unique. From that point of view, we can gain a better understanding of history unfolding in front of our eyes by putting the events of 1991, 2014, 2015, 2016 in the context

SP: Probably that empires and multi-ethnic states do not disappear overnight. The collapse of an empire is a process rather than an event. I was writing the book as a work of history, and history is something where people generally agree that it is a process that already came to an end. I was writing this work on the end of the Soviet Union, and what I didn’t realize — was that it was not exactly the last chapter in the history of the Soviet Union, and that the process had a continuation.

The Soviet collapse itself is not an absolutely unique thing in world history of the disintegration of those empires, much like those of the British or the French or the Portuguese. That seems to me the most productive framework for us to think about today and also for looking at the future.

To mark the latest annexation of the peninsula in Russia, they struck medals which are really very similar to the ones from the time of Catherine the II — on the background is the map of Crimea. There was a lot of history that was involved in the conflict, and a lot of that history was presented wrongly, it was misread.


Odessa History

OR: By whom? SP: First of all by the Russian side, it was really an instrumental use of history. The imperial narrative was pushed far ahead. I was appalled with the way that the Russian propaganda played the Bandera card, and how Ukraine was playing it in response. That was something that I thought really needed the intervention of a historian. Historians can intervene in a number of ways. I have chosen to write an overall history of Ukraine in order to explain to myself, to the public in the West, and to the Ukrainian public, where Ukrainian society of 2014-2015 came from. How could it be possible

SP: There are partisans of different approaches. One of the partisans that stayed clearly on a very strict position, which can be called pro-Russian, would be Stephen Cohen (of the left wing “Nation” magazine) of the United States, and that’s maybe one extreme. Then you have people who have a very strong pro-Ukrainian position, that it would be Volodymyr Viatrovych of course. We all know about the controversies created by the so called “de-communization” laws. I was trying to look as objectively as I could, not making a particular point about who is right and who is wrong, but trying to explain what is happening first of all in historical terms. My main goal was to understand and explain the phenomenon of the Ukrainian society of 2014-15.

The challenge of the times from my perspective is the transition of the Ukrainian society from its imperial and post-imperial condition and creation of a modern nation that Russian speakers and Ukrainian speakers, that Ukrainians and Russians, Jews and Ukrainians got together and decided that the Ukrainian state was something that they are prepared to risk their lives for? It is to a degree a new phenomenon, a commitment to the state, a commitment to a political nation that crosses ethnic, linguistic, cultural boundaries. My book tries to explain what is in the history of Ukraine that contributed to that factor. OR: Do you think other Anglo-American and English speaking historians in Western academia are dealing with this issue appropriately or cogently?


OR: What would you say about the history wars that are taking place here within the Ukrainian intellectual sphere? What would be your detached view as a historian of the former Soviet Union, Russia and Ukraine who is now living in Boston? SP: The history wars started before 2014. Though the lines in that war were drawn long before the real war began, and when the Ukrainian society in 2014-15 came together across all sorts of dividing lines, the intellectuals, the historians refused to do it. There was lull for a while and now the lines are drawn again and they are just fighting each other, and that’s a counterproductive way of conducting any kind of business, especially the business of keeping this society together. That comes because people continue to push their lines, people have personal animosities, people

just refuse to respond to the challenge of the times. The challenge of the times from my perspective is the transition of the Ukrainian society from its imperial and post-imperial condition and creation of a modern nation. This is a very complex and difficult process. In today’s conditions we see the collapse of the former communist Soviet narrative of Ukrainian history, which is caused by the annexation of Crimea, by the war in Donbas. OR: So that’s a healthy process? SP: It’s a healthy process but what you see as a result of that is the creation of a vacuum. The big question is what that vacuum will be filled with. Either it will be an old fashioned nationalist narrative, which is making inroads now, or it will be an idea, an understanding, a platform which is based on civic nationalism and patriotism. For me the main problem with the Ukrainian national discourse today is its inability to divorce itself from the tropes of the mid-twentieth century. The Ukrainian national narrative is very young and immature, UPA, OUN, Bandera, it’s all the same, there’s no differentiation. That narrative is much less developed and sophisticated than the narrative of the Great Patriotic War. The Ukrainian narrative is still struggling trying to differentiate between the sacrifice of ordinary Ukrainians for the freedom of their country and nationalist ideology of interwar times. It’s immature, it needs to be differentiated and developed, and at this point it’s just a quarrel instead of a discussion. OR: Well thank you for speaking to us. We look forward to your forthcoming book about the life of Stepan Bandera.


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7 PM





ELGAR Cello Concerto

SIBELIUS Finlandia Tone Poem




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A Conversation With Lithuanian Film Maker Mantas Kvedaravicius By Ute Kilter The Odessa Review spoke with the Lithuanian director who represented Ukraine at the world-renowned Berlinale film festival this year. The Odessa Review’s Ute Kilter met Kvedaravicius at a café on Deribasovska Street where they discussed his latest work over bowls of hot soup. Kvedaravicius has quickly made a name for himself. His film “Barzakh” took home the award for Best Documentary at the 2011 Berlinale, and “Mariupolis” was nominated for the 2016 Amnesty International Film Award. His very first film was produced by the notable Finnish screenwriter and film director Aki Kaurismäki — Kvedaravicius’s erstwhile teacher with whom he worked as an assistant in the early stages of his career. The premiere of “Mariupolis” took place in the Forum Cinema Vingis theater in Vilnius as part of the Vilnius International Film Festival and was attended by Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė. “Mantas Kvedaravicius and I met during the Odessa International Film Festival,” Kilter explains. “Right away in the course of our conversation, the director revealed his deep knowledge of cultural anthropology — something that caught my interest at once. We struck up an immediate and easy friendship. When we were first introduced, I instantly became curious about Mantas’s family name — while “Lithuanianized,” it seemed to have a Greek provenance. I surprised him by asking if he had any Greek ancestry, which he confirmed. I was later involved in one of Mantas’s projects, and interviewing someone you know quite well often proves to be a very difficult task. However, it turned out that I did not know Mantas quite as well as I thought, and the interview turned out to be much more exciting than I anticipated, as he revealed many amazing details about his life.



The Odessa Review (Ute Kilter): Thank you for joining us. Can you tell us about the background for “Mariupolis”?

MK: You have to take yourself out of the picture. To film from an objective point of view where you are not part of the picture.

Mantas Kvedaravicius (MK): The idea of “Mariupolis” was to show the course of life during wartime — how regular people carry on with their everyday lives mere steps away from a war zone, gunshots, explosions and death. It is a film about the pricelessness of every second of life. It is not about war, but about life next to war and lived in spite of war.

OR: What for you dominates the message of your movie, carries it across most clearly — is it the visuals or the concept itself?

OR: Is it difficult to make a documentary film when one is involved as a subject or as a participant observer?

MK: To me, filming is pleasurable, so I would say the process. My thoughts, my own approach to the subject becomes part of the message. In this case, that fear is inevitable. Violence is an inevitable part of reality. All of these things are an objective, inextricable part of our existence.

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After all, our actions affect everything. Even the two of us, eating our soup right now and right here, is an action in a chain of events. We have free will with which to direct our actions, which in turn affects our future decisions and actions, and so on, and so on. More than anything, I am talking about personal accountability. My surroundings dictate my actions, but I have no control over the final result of the creative process. I can attempt to change it in the ways that I want, but I am not in total control of it.

OR: Were you afraid during the bombings?

OR: What is your intended result, then? And how do you achieve it?

OR: One of the most difficult parts of the documentary process is getting your subjects to open up to you. How did you achieve this?

MK: I love places which are attractive for unknown reasons. Places where everything is going wrong, and suddenly people begin to appear, to materialize against this backdrop. This film is dedicated as much to the poets of Mariupol as it is to its shoemakers. Indeed, I see shoemaking as a kind of poetry: we can’t walk around barefoot, just like we can’t live without imagination and art. It would be very hard to focus on art when you are unshod.

OR: This is why you focus on the unembellished stories of real people? MK: I don’t care about actors or big names. People, actually existing people are important to me: the living, breathing people that I work with in creating a film. Their stories are my raw material, the components from which I create my narrative. Of course, there are some preliminary guidelines, the intended topics are written down — I prepare myself exhaustively for filming. That part is indeed all me, but past that point entropy takes over.

Mariupol is a place with a very specific atmosphere. On the one hand, it still bears imprints of its ancient Greek mythology, from the first historical inhabitants of the area. On the other, it exists in this very current, very strange but concrete and present post-Soviet reality, which brings a feeling of great unease and even fear. The factories, the sea, the omnipresent soldiers, the sounds of the violin blending with the sound of the exploding shells — all of this forms the surrealism of an ordinary city during wartime. The newscaster who is also the shoemaker’s daughter, the wedding, the news reports, the transit system… There is, of course, the Greek component. Only after exploring that history did I truly understand the town. This could have been the first, the Greek part of the “Stasis” project. But after World War II, the government exiled the entire Greek population to the Middle East. Two millennia of culture were destroyed in one fell swoop, and Mariupol’s ancient traditions with them.

MK: Well, after having been in Chechnya… Not really. OR: Can documentary filmmaking be discussed separately from politics? MK: You could make a movie about a simple butterfly. Someone will inevitably extrapolate it into ecology, and so it goes.

MK: This is definitely true. When you put someone in front of a camera, even people that you had already established a rapport with, they start behaving differently. Getting someone to be truly “open” is difficult and rare. People are reluctant, they don’t know how to be open, they don’t want to repeat the things they had revealed earlier. All of these were part of my approach in the case of “Stasis,” but even when they failed, I did not give up on the project as a whole. “Stasis” is a sort of cultural anthropology study of three cities: Athens, Istanbul and Odessa. OR: Do you personally believe in the concept of “happiness”? MK: That is a silly question. Happiness is not something that can be measured, grasped, bought or sold. It’s not a material good, it’s not a trip to the Canary Islands.

Ute Kilter is an art critic.


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Ukrainian Film Submission For The 2017 Academy Awards By Ulyana Dovgan The Ukrainian Oscar Committee, set up by Ukraine’s National Union of Cinematographers with the participation of Ukraine’s Association of Producers and the Ukrainian State Film Agency, has announced the Ukrainian submission for the Best Foreign-Language Film category at the 2017 Academy Awards. It is to be Roman Bondarchuk’s scabrous “Ukrainian Sheriffs.”

Before the Ukrainian Oscar submission was announced, the members of the selection committee released a shortlist of three award-winning contender films. The first of these was Eva Neymnann’s “The Song of Songs.” The feature was presented at the Odessa International Film Festival 2015 and became a winner of both the National and International Competition Programs. The story, based on a Jewish tale by Odessa writer Sholem Aleichem, is a romantic drama about the impossible love between Shimek and Buzie, who happens to be the daughter

The next on the list was “Ukrainian Sheriffs,” a documentary feature directed by Roman Bondarchuk. The picture was presented in Odessa within the framework of the DOCU/ХІТ program, a part of the Docudays UA festival of documentary features about human rights. “Ukrainian Sheriffs” was the winner of the special jury prize in the main competition at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam (IDFA), where the film’s world premiere took place. The documentary is about two “sheriffs” of a southern Ukrainian village who take it upon themselves to solve the problems of their community because of scarce police presence. Outdated Soviet symbols, values of enslavement which are

In 2015 Ukraine was not a participant in the Academy Awards nominations program as the country’s film selection committee was undergoing a full reorganization process of Shimek’s dead brother. In “The Song of Songs,” Eva Neymann meets with the genius director Kira Muratova, who inspired Neymann’s screenplay.


unacceptable in freedom-loving modern Ukrainian society as well as fears of prison, starvation and war are interlaced with humor, the struggles of love and the miracle of birth. The film leaves an ambiguous


impression, but in spite of this, remains the most powerful feature among contenders, conquering the hearts of national and international audiences. “The Nest of the Turtledove,” directed by Taras Tkachenko and starring Ukrainian actors Rymma Ziubina and Vitaly Linetsky, was the third potential selection for submission to the Academy Awards. The film won the ‘Work in Progress’ Award at the 2014 Odessa International Film Festival. The world premiere of the film took place later

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at the 2016 OIFF and received the prize for Best Picture in the National Competition Program. The film was shot in both Ukraine and Italy with the support of the Ukrainian State Film Agency. “The Nest of the Turtledove” is about the emigration of a Ukrainian woman to Italy. She chooses to work abroad because of her country’s problems, considering Ukraine to be socially, financially and spiritually draining. The cinematography tries to shine a light on the constant problems of “developing countries.” However, this film also shows that “developed countries” cannot provide one with everything, as the protagonist lives in lonely solitude in advanced Italy. The director of “The Nest of the Turtledove” attempts to question social norms in the intertwined two worlds through the narrative of one family.

It is important to note that in 2015, Ukraine was not a participant in the Academy Awards nominations program as the country’s film selection committee was undergoing a full reorganization process. The Ukrainian National Union of Cinematographers now works in collaboration with the Association of Producers and the Ukrainian State Film Agency. This year, the committee resumed their work governed by new set of regulations and a new panel consisting of sixteen active Ukrainian cinematographers. Thus, films will not only be nominated by individuals well versed in cinematography, but those who have worked and created them as well. As a result of their expertise and experience, these panel members can more astutely nominate films for Academy Awards categories, as they fully understand the styles and underlying messages of films which are successful both in the United States and across the globe. The film “Ukrainian Sheriffs” meets those demands perfectly: the film is unique in that it portrays the intricacies of human nature,

rather than merely satisfying the aesthetic needs and underlying patriotic perceptions of the committee. It is also very funny. Furthermore, the committee’s new regulations prohibit panel members from nominating a film before viewing all possible contenders thus allowing for a well-rounded decision. The complete list of nominees of the 89th annual Academy Awards will be released on January 24th, 2017. The ceremony will take place on February 26th, 2017 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California.

Ulyana Dovgan is The Odessa Review’s film critic.


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The “FreierFest” Contemporary Art Festival By Ute Kilter

The “FreierFest” festival was just that — a true festival consisting of six exhibitions, multiple lectures (mostly by Kyiv representatives, but also notable foreign artists like Russia’s notorious Oleg Kulikov), DJs and parties. The official opening took place in the courtyard of the Odessa Modern Art Museum. The festival opened with three simultaneous exhibitions, the main among them being a collection of works by Theophil Freierman, the festival’s namesake.


Today Theophil Freierman’s name bears legendary status as one of Odessa’s “Parisians.” The artist not only lived and studied (from 1903 to 1917) in Odessa, but was also a participant and jury member in the city’s “Autumn Salons.” He returned to Odessa in 1917, after his stay in Europe, to establish the Museum of Western and Eastern Art. In 1919, Freierman was also one of the organizers of the very Museum of Modern Art in which the festival bearing his name currently took place. He assisted in the creation of Odessa’s Art Academy as well, where he also served as a professor for three decades. Unfortunately, even after all of these contributions to the city’s culture, Freierman — like many artists at the time — faced persecution from Soviet authorities. Thankfully, he was spared the tragic fate of death that befell some of the others, but the persecution did effectively end his career. He retired and continued working with select students at his home. From the 1930s and on, Freierman shared his works only with these students.


The works themselves suffered a tragic fate under the Soviet regime. After a large exhibition in Kyiv, the Ministry of Culture purchased all the exhibited works in order to sell them overseas. In 1923, most of the collection was bought by an art collector named Mr. Perelman, who took the paintings with him to Israel. In 1999, after being exhibited in Baltimore, eight of the remaining works were auctioned off at “Sothebys.” This is part of the reason why today, at the Museum of Modern Art, all that reaches us from Freierman are mostly graphic works and only a few canvases, the most notable of which is the exquisitely done “Portrait of Unknown Man.” Some puzzled guests ask — why are all the works on such a small scale? Did the artist not create larger works? The sad answer to this question is: he certainly did, but fate would have it so they unfortunately do not reach us today.

At the festival grounds, the viewer is presented with an exhibition space of a thousand square meters, with a ceiling height of seven meters and an almost overwhelming multitude of pieces in an array of different styles. The variety of the art calls to mind the motley nature of a group exhibit, in which wildly different authors present their wildly different works. Variation is everywhere: in the themes, the visuals, even in the mediums used. The enormous size of the exhibition space provides an opportunity to showcase some immense works, with dimensions up to 6 by 6 meters. A lot of the works are from Kyiv, but many were brought from Germany, the USA, Belgium and other countries. The curators, Roman Gromov and Dimitry Ehrlich, deserve praise for their diligent work: they truly undertook a titanic effort in organizing, transporting,

Odessa Art bition with their mere presence: Ukrainians Olexa Mann, Aleksandr Roytburd, Larisa Zvezdochetova and notable guests from Berlin, Rotterdam, Paris and Barcelona.

Konstantin Lizogub (Kharkiv), project “Putanitsa” (“Tangle”)

and setting up the exhibits. In all honesty, after the completion of the opening ceremonies, the curators looked positively exhausted despite their youth, braving not only the logistics and technical aspects of the festival, but also the many lectures and parties punctuating it.

rubber hand-sized birds himself, the installation consists of a large number of roosters standing in an orderly formation on the roof and then falling in a cascade, filling up the roof’s surface. It’s as aesthetically pleasing as its meaning is mysterious: what did the artist intend to say with this gesture?

The enormous space hosted so many paintings that it would be impossible to encompass even just those that are my favorites in this small format, yet three works stood out for me most of all: Konstantin Pavlishin’s “Return of Dante” — a large figurative canvas with some gaps and “incomplete” patches which only added to it’s expressive quality, Nikita Tsoi’s interpretation of the classical story of “Romus and Remulus” accompanied by gypsum sculptural elements, and Zoya Orlova’s untitled black and white photo composition which invites many possible interpretations depending on the angle and distance from which it is viewed.

Dimitriy Ehrlich and Roman Gromov, founders and creators of the festival; Semen Kantor, director of the Odessa Museum of Modern Art.

Photographer Oksana Kanivets

The second exhibit, taking place at the Tea Factory, was also on a grand scale with a fittingly large amount of works. The installations were some of the most interesting, such as Nikolay Karabinovich’s large rusted cage in which an animatronic parrot constantly exclaimed: “Why? Why was I brought to this exhibition?” The effect was suitably annoying, much like a real parrot, but did provoke some thought — namely, “so what is this exhibition about?” Another attractive installation was located on the roof of the venue and titled “PivnykTime” (“Rooster Time”). Created by Kyiv artist Yevgeniy Krymchak, who manufactures the colorful

Dutch artist Hageman Elleke’s short format video installation, which featured kaleidoscopic, splitting and doubling images of snarling, vicious dogs was another compelling piece, with its powerful connotations of hate, anger and menace. It seems to imply how much easier and more visceral it is to hate and threaten than to understand and empathize. Another work which merits mention was an actionist photo triptych by Arnold Zheleznov and Vasilina Verdi. The work, titled “Man in Shell,” shows the author hiding his body inside a curled palm branch and subsequently burying himself in sand, water, and withdrawing into complete hiding. “Where else can I hide from this world?” Some artists featured among the multitude of works are prolific enough to bolster the exhi-

Irina Valdron (Paris)

Nikolay Lukin is, as always, impeccable: his contribution featured a figure next to a black tire on a white background, calling to mind the purpose tires had served only recently: not for transportation, but for burning at the barricades, expressing protest with their black smoke. Corporeality was one of the themes on display. “Thread Game” was a round canvas filled with human hands, a representation of the similarly named children’s gamе, with its connotations of chaos and deception.


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Andrey Babchenko also chose hands for his “Polymers” — his are metallic, blue, dead-like. The sight is as unappealing as it is compelling. Nearby, Oksana Kanivets’s photos feature living designs on human necks and faces.

Aleksandr Dremov “Gangsta”

Anatoliy Gankevich “Victim or Odessan laocoon”

Sergey Melnichenko, from the series “Behind the scenes”

The Parisian Irina Waldron’s small works stood out with their poignant, ironic kind of take on the “social art” of the late Soviet period. In one, a sign reading “Moscow Modern Art Biennale” is inserted into a magazine cutout of stereotypically healthy, happy Soviet youngsters. In another, a little girl carefully embroiders a dainty pillow with the name “Marilyn Manson.” The medium of painting was well represented at the exhibition, including works by Ukrainian-Parisian artist Sergey Kononov with his small and intricate female portraits, Ukrainian-Dutch Larisa Zvezdochetova’s thought-provoking meat grinder devouring all that surrounds it, Igor Gankevich’s enormous “Laocoon” canvas, and Stas Zhalobnyuk’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The color yellow was a thematic element of the festival, and was represented across many works. In Andrey Salov’s “Bio2Be,” yellow pipes evoke an ecologically charged meaning. One thing which particularly appealed to me about the exhibition is that the “greats” of our art world (like the aforementioned Roytburd, Mann, and Zvezdochetova) are exhibited alongside young, up-and-coming artists who, it must be said, do not disappoint in terms of quality and meaning. I want to thank Dimitry Ehrlich and Roman Gromov for their work in making the festival succeed, and I sincerely hope that this “First Annual” festival truly becomes a recurring annual tradition.

Irina Waldron (Paris)

Irina Waldron (Paris)

Ute Kilter is an art critic. Vadim Bondarenko Bondero (Odessa-Rotterdam) “Country workers”


Aleksandr Dremov “TT”, “Gangsta”

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Oleg Kulik In Odessa By Ute Kilter The notorious Moscow performance artist turned Buddhist returned to Odessa for a provocative and charming talk.

Oleg Kulik is a citizen of the Russian Federation with Kyiv roots. Though he has lived in Moscow for almost twenty years Kulik is connected to our fine city in more ways than one might initially think: first and foremost, through his collaborations with Odessa artists. He has not only promoted and exhibited their work in Moscow by inviting them to participate in his projects, but has also spent a great deal of time in the city (including his vacationing in the Kinburn Spit) and assisted in the creation of the “Art Raiders” project that took place last year at the Starokonny Market. Before giving his lecture as part of the “FreierFest” festival, he showed his Odessa art world ease by greeting audience members Leonid Wojcekhov, Sergey Anufriev, Dmitry Dulfan, Igor Gusev, Lesia Verba; he also mentioned Igor Chatskin. To art world insiders, the whole talk felt like a family reunion. For myself, I was entrusted with interviewing Kulik for this magazine. However, while I was preparing, I began to become more and more nervous. I wondered which aspect of Kulik I would encounter — the persona of the well-known artist? The radical Actionist and former “dog man”? As it turns out, Kulik has another facet — an amicable, pleasant, approachable person. My worries about meeting him were in vain. I joined him for breakfast in the courtyard of the “Odessa Dvorik” hotel and we shared a wholesome, hearty meal. Our meeting almost reminded me of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”



Oleg claims that the purpose of his life is “to break away from the herd, to find meaning, under-stand yourself.” As well as to reach a deeper understanding of life and to “… accept life, to rise above the self and circumstances.” The first statement is not outside the realm of artist thinking, it conveys the definite understanding of individualistic destiny germane to all artists everywhere. However, if the second sounds reminiscent of a Buddhist maxim, one will not be surprised to learn that Oleg has spent seven years learning and meditating in Inner Mongolia and Tibet.

Up until recently, Kulik has been known as a “right radical” author in Moscow society, connected tangentially with the group “Voina,” “Pussy Riot” as well as to the controversial Russian conceptual artist Petr Pavlensky. In conversation, the artist came off exponentially more like a Buddhist than a radical: “One needs to be careful when searching for a primal source of ethics or morality, because then one’s aggression can turn inwards. Then (during my performance art phase), I did not feel any sort of triumph. The conflict deepens, aggression cannot stand any humor, any self-irony

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— everything becomes cyclical.” Now, his mannerisms and movements show a measure of elegance and his tone of voice betrays some gentleness, which lends credence to his self-reported joy in raising his child — something he now sees as his main calling in life, a “truth” that was revealed to him during time spent in an ashram. Kulik also comments on the cultural changes and contrasts that he had noticed in Odessa: “I have many relatives here, maybe fifty people. They all used to be quite serious, repressed — this is one of the reasons I left, really. Now they have all become spirited people, wearing vyshivankas, some even brought tea to the Maidan protesters!” He seems to sense a special kind of vitality and freedom, too, comparing Odessa to other places he knows well: “I once flew from Moscow to Odessa, transferring in Minsk. Driving through Moscow early in the morning, it’s all clean and plastic, sterile, futuristic — it looks like Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis.” Then I spent three hours in Minsk, wandering through the city. It was like taking a trip to the past, back to the USSR: everything is grey, clean enough, but bleak. And then, suddenly there’s Odessa: the buildings are in ruin, but the architecture is old-world, unique; there’s fruits and vegetables everywhere, things are “alive.” People walk around dressed however they want. The first store I went to, the sales-woman cursed me out, but with what character — “Now I’m going to show you AND tell you!” — and she did! Think about that contrast. It shows a lot.”


Speaking of vitality, I asked Kulik, who became famous for behaving like a dog chained up in a Chelsea art gallery if he sees himself as an animal in some way, and how strong is the animal aspect of humanity, especially in a place where war is raging and violence has a special significance. He revealed that “the dog idea did not come about accidentally. I’m partial to the fate of dogs in our part of the world. I think it is useful to visit zoos, they are a litmus test for a society’s views on everything, including people. Amusement parks are also revealing about human nature. Europe has excellent zoos, but the amusement parks are often boring, just so-so. Here, in Odessa, we have a wonderful one right by Shevchenko Park.” Kulik continues working with corporeality in the form of small sculptures in nanoplastic: when he sculpts, he feels like he imprints his entire emotional state, his entity into the object: sadness, hope and sometimes happiness. At the moment, he describes his feelings as rather clear and balanced: “Obviously, I am against war, but right now I feel like it would go against the nature of being a real artist to get enmeshed in this situation. While in Tibet, I received a clear message as to what was my current purpose should be and I am fulfilling it. It’s pure joy — raising your own child. I consider it my sacred mission. Although in general I am against

artists who consider themselves “missionaries,” who take themselves too seriously, make official statements, hold actions. I don’t believe in this separation between “us” and “them,” like we had in the 90’s.” Some of Kulik’s statements can be somewhat off-putting however, such as when he says “I am above science, I have no attachments…” It is unclear how such a statement should be interpreted — is he above physical constraints? Or above ethics and clearly demarcated moral values? Still, Kulik’s intelligence is not to be doubted. He is eloquent, but can also convey his ideas in accessible forms — the audience of his lecture at the Green Theater was thoroughly charmed. I was impressed by Kulik’s manner of brushing off those who came forth with stupid or provocative questions (something I plan to adopt for my myself). Although a certain sense of imperial pomposity of “the great artist coming from Moscow itself to lecture in the small province” lingered, the importance of Kulik’s lecture to Odessa was clear — and for this, I would like to thank him.

Ute Kilter is an art critic.


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The Erised: From Ukraine With Love By Eugene Chukhriy The Erised, a band originally from Kharkiv, are fresh blood in Ukrainian music and perhaps also something absolutely new for the world music industry. Young and talented, they also have quite a bit of experience and accomplishment behind them. Although only at the start of their journey, they have already been signed to the British music label “Med School Music” and have presented their first music video to the song “Even If” from debut album “Room 414,” which was released earlier this summer.

The Erised consist of: vocalist Sonya Sukhorukova, Daniil Marin on the keyboard (of the Ukrainian bands “Detail” and “Kotkee”), guitarist Igor Kirilenko (“Hidden Element”) and drummer Aleksandr Lulyakin (also known for being part of the popular Ukrainian band “Boombox”). We met Sonya and Daniil on Independence Day to discuss the release of their album next autumn, what they think of the state of Ukrainian music industry today and what it’s like to be the first Ukrainian band to sign a contract with a big British music label.

The Odessa Review (Eugene Chukhriy): Hello, it’s a pleasure to have you in Odessa. How do you feel about giving your first show in the south, at the Koktebel Jazz Fest? Daniil Marin (DM): To be honest, we’re beat, not having slept for the past 3 days. We’ve been partying and having our vacation by the sea (laughs).



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OR: How did The Erised become the band that it is today?

OR: What was the reaction of audiences here in Ukraine and abroad?

DM: Initially, there were six members, but now it’s four of us left in the band. We have been friends with our guitarist Igor since 2012. Igor and another musician friend of his had been making music together for some time. We decided to collaborate, made a few tracks together, and one day they sent me a demo. That became our first song — “Pray.” The track really evolved in the studio, and after we finished the musical part we realized that we needed an English-speaking singer. Since we had experience working with foreign labels, we started doing research. We had been asking our friends if they know anyone who could sing and write songs in English, and at the same time be the main vocalist in our project. Then, one day, we met Sonya. She sang “Pray”… We were shocked — she blew us out of the water with her beautiful voice and perfect English. From that moment on, we were a real band!

SS: We’ve heard many reviews, some of them saying: “This music is just too slow for me.” But we have to admit, the most unexpected reaction was from the worldwide music community. The British band “Enter Shikari” became fans after we posted our first video, so we made a re-mix to one of their songs shortly thereafter — everyone was happy. It was also our first experience working with a foreign band.

OR: Can you tell us a little about the process of recording your debut album? What was it like for Ukrainian pioneers to work with a British label? Sonya Sukhorukova (SS): We are all working together, sometimes remotely. Guys send me demos, while I work on the song in my own time, trying to find the best vocal line for that music. Then we write lyrics all together. The process of recording our debut album took place in our home studios. But the finishing touches were a job for the “Med School Music Label” professionals. We’re happy with the results! DM: To be honest, we want to show that it’s not some pipe dream for Ukrainian bands to work with foreign labels. You just need to be confident in what you’re doing and you’ll have a shot at becoming a successful project worldwide.

DM: Selena Gomez’s manager tweeted that he’s a fan, after he discovered our album. Sometimes such things happen to us. OR: You released your debut album “Room 414” this June, and of course it’s a bit early to ask, but are you working on new material while you’re on tour? DM and SS: Yes! We have a little secret to share, we are planning to release our next album by next fall, so we’ve just begun working on it! We want to show that we’re not just a “one-album-band” — all the members of our band see a bright future for The Erised and we are ready to make more music together! OR: What about the other projects you’re involved in? SS: Well, my solo project is on pause, I think. I’m in no hurry with it. DM: So is mine. Time will tell, for now we’re all into The Erised. OR: You’re working with a British label but still living here in Ukraine. What is the difference between working with Ukrainian labels and British? DM: They are much more professional, and the thing that we want to do is bring our experience to Ukraine. I think Ukrainian bands deserve to have the same opportunities! We know a lot of good musicians from our country and we’re always open to collaborating with anyone who asks. The more good music we discover — the better for everyone.


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OR: What was your inspiration during the recording of your debut album? DM: The final stage of recording was between October and December. So there’s a sort of autumnal feel to it. I can describe the whole mood of the album in three words — easy going, melancholic and erotic. SS: Erotic? DM: Yes! A friend of mine wrote me a message not so long ago. She said that it’s very sensual, that’s what she discovered with her boyfriend while they were listening to our album (laughs)! OR: In which Ukrainian cities have you performed so far? And which ones are you planning to visit? SS: The first one who dared to invite an unknown (at the time) band was a girl from Lviv. She was a super open-minded organizer, who has always invited brand new bands. I was sure that we’d just be playing a show for a few bystanders, but by the time we came on stage there was around 700 people who were into our music and who gave us extraordinary energy that night. DM: We’ve also played in Kyiv. To answer the question about our plans for new gigs — we can hardly wait to play in Kharkiv. It’s where we met, and we have a big local fan


base there and friends’ support. We are also glad to announce our upcoming show in London this September, it will be our first gig outside Ukraine.

DM: “Dumna Sumish” is one of our old favorites. Not so long ago they came out with a new song — and we liked it! We’re eagerly awaiting their next release.

OR: How is festival season going for your band this summer? Where have you played already? Tell us about the festival of your dreams!

OR: Continuing our conversation about Ukrainian music, can you share your thoughts about the situation in Ukrainian music these days?

DM: We performed at the Atlas Weekend festival in Kiev this July. Another great experience for us was our performance at the opening ceremony of the Odessa International Film Festival this year. The next one will take place in Chernomorsk over the next few days and its name is well known — Koktebel Jazz Festival.

DM: After the Maidan happened in Kyiv in 2014, significant changes occurred in the music industry in general, people became much more enthusiastic about local artists. The audiences started paying for music again. We are delighted by people coming to our concerts with vinyl records for us to sign! We would be happy to see as many interested listeners as possible now and in the future, so we’re doing as much as we can to support the Ukrainian music industry.

SS: We all think that the best festival to play at is Coachella, and it doesn’t matter on which stage, if there will be a chance in the future for us to perform there. OR: Which contemporary Ukrainian musicians would you recommend everyone should know? SS: “Cape Cod” (aka Maksim Sikalenko) and “Constantine” (participant of “The Voice. Ukraine”). A few months ago this fresh duo released their first album and already got a few warm-up shows during the tour with Ivan Dorn. Another artist we’d like to mention would be another duo — “Dvoe.”

OR: Do you have any words of inspiration for our readers? DM: Be confident and listen to good music. It’s a little funny to say “good music” because everyone has their own opinion. Don’t forget to experiment! You’ll never create anything new without experimenting. Leave your comfort zone. It’s the only way to succeed. Eugene Chukhriy is a music journalist.

odessa music

The Modern Music Scene In Odessa By Alexandr Topilov The Odessa Rock music scene is as healthy and diverse as it has ever been, but the problems facing it are formidable as well.

Despite the overall creative nature of the city, excellent rock music is not exactly something that Odessa is known for. From time to time, however, Odessa does produce truly promising new bands. Some of them rise to national fame, but the majority remain in obscurity — known only to the loyal regulars of the few city clubs who host live performances for local musicians.

a sort of dark folk with many stylistic nods to the sound associated with the British independent 4AD label. No one had brought music quite like this to Odessa before, and the band quickly became a favorite for fans of the burgeoning alternative acoustic music. The band releases new albums regularly, with several records having been recently released in France, and their tour schedule is also packed. The members of “Fleur”

In a city where virtually every musician has collaborated with every other musician, this sort of repeated collaboration can often lead to a lack of creative “fresh blood” When thinking of contemporary Odessa bands who have made the leap to Ukraine wide fame, “Fleur” is one of the first to come to mind. It was founded in 2000 by Olga Pulatova and Yelena Voynarovskaya. The band has an extensive lineup — at times no less than 10 musicians are present on the stage. At the time, both Olga and Lena were already familiar names to Odessa music fans due to their having had several projects in the 90’s. Their style can be described as

describe their own style as “cardiowave”, which is an allusion to heart rhythms which also alludes to their proximity to “newwave”. Much like in the case of the influence of 4AD, Cardiowave has grown into an entire movement within Odessa — it includes a radio station, production studio, and lends its name to musical events and projects around the city. Andrey Basov’s band “Legendary Plasticine Legs” is also related to the Cardiowave movement, although their music is radically different from that of “Fleur”. The sound of LPL


is significantly closer to the standard rock format, their signature sound being defined by traditional song structures, and clear influences from Russian rock — although this is to be found in a sort of mutated form. Both Andrey’s lyrics and melodies are minimalistic and simple, with some of the melodies fitting into one octave. In fact, he rarely sings — rather he throatily speaks his words in a quiet hoarse voice, with an emotionally detached manner reminiscent of Mick Harvey. The band has a dedicated fan base, and their first album has received very positive reviews in the Russian “Rolling Stone” from the prominent critic Andrei Bukharin. LPL’s second release is expected in September, and is awaited impatiently by fans. As members of the same movement, the two bands often intersect: they have been on joint tours and members cross pollinate between the two ensembles — some even being permanent members of both bands simultaneously. While this is definitely a positive thing in terms of establishing a cohesive musical collective and refining a distinct style, in Odessa’s case, this widespread intersectionality of bands has its drawbacks. In a city


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“Mr. Skatkoff” is in fact Odessa’s hidden musical jewel as most of the city’s rock and jazz musicians have at one point or another been members of the band where virtually every musician has collaborated with every other musician, this sort of repeated collaboration can often lead to a lack of creative “fresh blood.” Nevertheless, there are many examples of truly successful and talented joint projects to be found in the history of the music scene of the city. MOD is composed of a trio of Odessa virtuosos: guitarist Denis Bal, the drummer Oleg “Zbivka” Reznichenko and the bass guitarist Maks Belous. All of them are known in Odessa in their own right, having played in a variety of cult favorite Odessa bands over the years. At the time of the band’s formation, their own musical interests could not have been more distinct: Oleg was a longtime fan of heavy metal, Maks an admirer of grunge, and Denis an aficionado of funk. Together, they play a sort of instrumental funk-rock, creating a very distinct and interesting sound. Their music is complex, aggressive, and technically refined. They easily


sell out every Odessa club they play in. Improvisation is a big part of their stage act, and often the piece is created live right in front of the audience — free improvisation intertwines with complex rhythm structures, the deep bass and Denis Bal’s vivid cosmic guitar (it calls to mind the musical skills of Jeff Beck) — all this combines to make their live shows rather memorable. Odessa could well become the focal point for a new wave of instrumental music. Unfortunately, Odessa’s musical history — much like its history in general — is full of too many “could have beens.” The city has an abundance of musical education options — the Stolyarsky Music School, music academy and conservatory make sure that the city is saturated with classically trained musicians. A few years ago, another instrumental trio was prolific on the Odessa scene — DeePole. The group fell apart for the same reasons as most other Odessa

bands — a lack of competent management which resulted in a lack of live engagements. Many bands are trapped in a futile cycle of practicing and performing for themselves and their friends. Odessa has basically three or four clubs which host live shows on a consistent basis — and, of course, the same artists are booked over and over. This makes the example of veteran Odessa rocker Yura Zhvanetsky’s project “Mr. Skatkoff”, which has existed for over 20 years, all the more extraordinary. “Mr. Skatkoff” is in fact Odessa’s hidden musical jewel as most of the city’s rock and jazz musicians have at one point or another been members of the band. Yura Zhvanetsky, its only permanent member, is a very multi-faceted personality. He is a painter as well as a multi-instrumentalist. Frequently he records albums completely on his own, responsible for performing and layering the instrumental parts himself. Currently, Denis Bal and Oleg Zbivka from MOD are members of Zhvanetsky’s project. “Mr. Skatkoff” often seems like more of an art project than a conventional band. They are frequent guests at art openings, under-

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ground club nights and other trendy hangouts. Only one thing is constant about their live performances — the totally unconventional and magical atmosphere. During their last show, “Mr. Skatkoff” truly outdid themselves by dedicating 27 minutes to one fantastically rambling, psychedelic track. Clearly, improvisation has a very important part in their music. The result is captivating — it’s hard to look away once the band begins playing. The synchronicity and mutual understanding between the players can make one feel despair at the injustice at a lack of similarly competent management options in Odessa who could do justice to its musicians. Producers who are looking for polished, European sound — if you’re reading, we have a few bands you’ll want to look into! You might have noticed a pattern — all of the above mentioned projects seem to be instrumental. Why is that? Well, the musicians themselves say there is a dearth of talented vocalists to work with on the scene. But creative impulses demand to be satisfied — so the show goes on, must go on, often even without a frontman. This makes Dmitriy Datskov — the charismatic and talented frontman of “Equipage Calypso” — a very valuable commodity. The duet’s (the band is made up of Dima Datskov on guitar and vocals and Ira Lukyanchuk on mandolin)

origin story is interesting as well. The collective began their existence as a traditional rock ensemble under the name of “The Blooming Plum”. However, upon encountering the usual bane of Odessa’s musicians — a lack of competent management and production opportunities — the band fell apart. Members “Dima and Ira”, not willing to give up music, then formed “Equipage Calypso”. The result was a unique mix of acoustic folk with psychedelia, 90’s grunge, and original lyrics often written in English. Another interesting aspect of EC is that they seem to stand outside of the Odessa culture of musical intermingling. They did not rely on the established scene or collaborations with known figures to establish themselves — something which speaks to the quality of their own product. Odessa continues to generate new names, promising and talented musicians in many genres — not least of them rock. Although it does this at a very gradual rate — and despite the many obstacles up-and-coming musicians may encounter — the continuous quality on offer by Odessa’s music scene can reassure even the most skeptical fan. Alexandr Topilov is a musician, critic, and author of the book “That’s All There Is”.



Odessa Small And Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Hope To Get Back On Feet By Iryna Fedets

The results of a USAID Leadership in Economic Governance Program survey of Odessan and Ukrainian SMEs provided some very interesting results about the state of the business climate.

The economic and political turmoil in Ukraine in recent years has been something that small and medium businesses have experienced in their daily operations. In Odessa city as well as the region, and across wider Ukraine, small and medium enterprises have faced a drop in demand, declining incomes, and loss of employees. All this, in addition to burdensome regulations, corruption, strenuous taxation, and other persistent problems for enterprises in Ukraine, has resulted in business conditions far from conducive to SMEs. However, businesses are looking forward to economic recovery over the next several years, which they attribute to reforms and changes in government policy. This is what we saw in the answers that small and medium businesses gave us in a sociological survey that took place in late 2015 — early 2016. The USAID Leadership in Economic Governance Program where I work conducted this survey in all the regions of Ukraine (with the exception of occupied Crimea and parts of eastern regions). We wanted to learn how SMEs feel about the current business climate in the country, what problems they face, and what they expect from the government.


With more than 100 SMEs polled in the Odessa region, one can compare the local business leader’s opinions to those held in Ukraine overall. The composition of the firms and individual business persons that we surveyed in Odessa region reflects the general makeup of the respondents to our survey: most of them are owners or managers of legal business entities, but one out of every five poll participants was a private entrepreneur. The sectors where their businesses operate also mostly follow the national breakdown. Half of all the SMEs we polled in the Odessa region work in the service sector, while others represented trade, industry, and agriculture. And the majority of all the SMEs in this survey — around 70 percent — fell into the category of “micro-enterprises”, which means those that employ up to 10 people. When asked about the current business environment, few people from the Odessa SME community described it as positive, as was the case with SMEs in Ukraine in general. More than half of Odessa SMEs (58 percent) said that the environment for doing business was unfavorable. This share is somewhat smaller but still substantial across the country: 48 percent of businesses in Ukraine assessed the current business environment as unfavorable. 37 percent of SMEs in Odessa said that the business environment was satisfactory. In wider Ukraine, 45 percent agreed with them.



Looking at what the last couple of years have meant for individual businesses, it is not hard to see why the assessments are relatively low. There are many more SMEs in the region that reduced their number of their employees over the last two years (48 percent in our survey) than ones that hired more workers (15 percent of Odessa SMEs). This development is in line with the national tendency: on average, each SME in Ukraine lost around five employees in 2014-2015. The levels of SME business activity also declined in Odessa region and in the country overall. 43 percent of Odessa SMEs polled reduced their business activity over the previous two-year period, and only 22 percent increased the scope of work of their businesses. Among all the surveyed SMEs in Ukraine, the situation was comparable: 40.5 percent of the small and medium businesses in the country experienced a reduction of their business operations, while a lesser part — 29.5 percent of SMEs — reported an expansion of business activity. The downturn in business activity can be explained by a number of factors, the obvious one being political turbulence. When we asked businesses to name the barriers that hinder their growth and development, more than half of the polled SMEs in Odessa region as well as all Ukraine pointed out the political situation as the main culprit. Insecurity and unpredictability associated with political events in the country or in the region pose the highest risk for Odessa businesses. This factor does not include the war in Ukraine’s east, though. Even while approximately one fourth of the SMEs in Odessa region said that the war has a negative impact on their business, this share is two times smaller than the percentage of businesses that blamed their poor performance on unfavorable political conditions. But the war and political uncertainty are not the only things holding back small and medium businesses. Another critical barrier for SMEs is lack of demand for their goods and services. As customers have had

to limit their purchases due to financial constraints, SMEs of all sizes and forms of ownership in Ukraine have experienced declining orders and incomes. This is true for Odessa region as well: lack of demand is the second factor on the list of obstacles, as 40 percent of local SMEs polled called it a problem for their business. There are more than a few other important obstacles for business, which affect between 20 to 30 percent of Odessa SMEs: high tax rates and complicated administration of taxes, price inflation, inaccessibility of bank loans, frequent regulatory changes in the area of business and economy, corruption, and also intense competition. The ranking of these problems in the Odessa region matches that of the all-Ukraine survey. But the proportion of Odessa SMEs reporting some of these barriers, especially problems with taxes and difficulties with getting loans, exceeds the average in the country by several percentage points. This suggests that businesses in Odessa region are more affected by obstacles related to taxes and loans than are businesses in the rest of the country. Still, SMEs in Odessa region and in Ukraine in general remain optimistic about the future. They are looking forward to a better chapter for their businesses that should come over the next couple of years — provided that current economic and political hardships give way to tangible transformations of the business environment. In the short term, a more reserved approach wins. Odessa businesses did not have high expectations for the next six months (Q1Q2 2016). Only 26 percent of local SMEs thought that the business environment would improve in the first half of 2016, while 42 percent believed that it would get even worse. SMEs in Ukraine in general shared this opinion: more respondents expected deterioration in the business environment than improvement in the short term. But when it comes to the next two years, Odessa businesses are aiming high. More than half of SMEs in the region think they

will expand their business activity over this period, which corresponds to the national trend. In Ukraine in general, more than 50 percent of SMEs believe their businesses will do much better in the coming years. For this to happen, business anticipates very specific steps in government policy that would support SMEs and improve conditions for doing business in Ukraine. SMEs that we surveyed identified four key actions they want the government to take. First, simplification of tax administration. Our survey shows that businesses spend a considerable amount of operational time and money to go through all the tax-related procedures. The second most awaited step is deregulation. SMEs want to deal with less documents when doing business. The third thing SMEs want most is an online resource where they will be able to see all the laws, rules, and news that concern their business. With the frequently changing requirements from the state, business managers are looking for a straightforward way to access the information they need. The fourth action expected from the government is a transformation of the tax administration into a business-friendly agency that would treat taxpayers fairly and provide assistance. This is what Odessa businesses want, too. More than 70 percent of the SMEs that we polled in Odessa region supported these reforms. These actions will make it easier to do business in all of the country, including Odessa.

Iryna Fedets is an expert of the USAID Leadership in Economic Governance (LEV) Program, which aims to improve business climate in Ukraine by uniting the efforts of reform-minded nongovernment organizations and government institutions.



How Is Ukraine Advancing In E-Government And E-Democracy? By Jordanka Tomkova E-government has transformed societies where it has been implemented for the better. A western expert examines the obstacles to bringing it to Ukraine.

It has long since become a truism that diverse uses of information and communication technologies (ICT) permeate our daily lived realities. Global trends and practices also show that apart from their commercial, private and entertainment value, informa-

Increased transparency over state budgets, procurement procedures and participatory tools such as e-petitions, e-consultations and ICT enhanced urban planning are also changing the way that the government communicates and interacts with citizens, busi-

Commonly known as “electronic government” or e-government, 24/7 access to government information and the provision of a wider range of public services is revolutionizing the relationship between citizens and their governments tion communication technologies can act as important drivers in making public administration and service delivery systems more efficient. Commonly known as “electronic government” or e-government, 24/7 access to government information and the provision of a wider range of public services has revolutionized the relationship between citizens and their governments. Some of the new public electronic services such as speedier online tax returns, passport applications and business registrations are making former paper-based administrative transactions more time and cost effective.


ness and civil society. When used effectively, ICT can contribute to the optimization of administrative efficiency and democratic dividends such as government’s greater transparency, accountability, the lowering of corruption and enhanced citizens’ participation in decision making. Ukraine is a country that is currently undergoing profound and tumultuous reforms, and thus it is all the more in need of a more transparent, efficient and accountable public sector. The usage of electronic government and related technologies can — and should


— play a decisive role in improving public services, in increasing the responsiveness and transparency of government and in helping to contribute to the (badly needed) public expenditure savings, as well as helping Ukrainians to become more proactively engaged in public life. Most importantly for a country like Ukraine, both e-government and e-democracy offer instruments for curbing corruption.


Nonetheless, the implementation of e-government and e-democracy initiatives can be transitionally challenging as both require a comprehensive approach coupling resolute political will with longer-term strategic policy vision. Significant infrastructural and financial investment which includes systematic reengineering of various processes as well as the absorption of new skill sets into public administration systems is equally needed. All of this demands essential and radical behavioral changes among civil servants and within society as a whole. Exten-

Looking at the global e-government rankings, it is easy to see that Ukraine has had a mixed journey. The nation’s internet penetration figures and usage have steadily increased since the 1990s and in 2010 Ukraine ranked 54th out of 192 countries on the global UN E-government Development Index (EGDI). Yet by 2014 the post-Soviet nation’s EGDI ranking regressed by thirty-three positions to 87th place. The good news is that since 2014, Ukraine’s commitments to e-government and e-democracy strengthened yet again, a development which was reflected in its commendable return to 62nd place in the 2016 UN EGDI and 32nd place in the E-participation Index.

E-government is as much about technology as it is about the human dimension — people — both on the provider and the user end sive civic education and targeted training of civil servants can help facilitate awareness building and adoption of relevant new skills so that the benefits of ICT can be effectively implemented into real life processes. Notably, implementing governance changes of this magnitude is often complex. People and governance systems need allowances and windows for adaptation. Still, these new ICT inspired governance challenges and realities are not particular or unique to Ukraine. Public administration systems are affected by them all over the world and Ukraine has many historical examples to emulate. It is up to each government’s capacity and willingness, however, to harness these potential changes and push them into the mainstream for the equitable benefit of the entire citizenry.

Several factors have contributed to Ukraine’s recent rise in the global e-government rankings. First, several important legislative reforms such as the Law on Citizens’ Petitions (2015), Law on Access to Public Information and Open Data (2015) and the Law on the Open Use of Public Funds were passed. Second, several notable online tools were launched by civil society. These have included the notably successful Prozorro electronic procurement platform which in its first 14 months of operation already contributed 1.5 billion hrivna in state savings. The or the Price of the State platforms make tracking of state expenditures a more transparent and interactive process for citizens. E-petitions instruments were adopted by the Presidential Administration, by over 200 local government authorities and more recently by the Cabinet of Ministers. Smart City, open data, e-voting pilots and the growth of regional IT innovation centers such as the Impact Hub in Odessa, Space

Hub in Dnipro and iHUB in Vinnytsia are important catalysts to local civic initiatives that focus on social innovation. Lastly, momentum is gaining ground, albeit slowly, in the introduction of e-services where several Ministries (including Justice, Economic Development and Trade, Social Policy, Ecology, Regional Development, Building and Housing, Infrastructure and the State Fiscal Service) have launched some of their first electronic services. These newly launched services are facilitating more rapid and cost efficient business and construction licensing, monitoring of illegal waste dumps and the automation of a one-stop-shop style customs clearance service. The role of IT as a socio-economic driver in Ukraine should come as no surprise. Ukraine’s 402 universities and colleges annually produce more science graduates than many reputable hi-tech countries in Asia and Western Europe. Ukraine’s 90,000 IT professionals is the largest professional IT community in Europe with the numbers expected to rise to over 200,000 in 2020. At the same time, despite Ukraine’s labor sector assets and impressive recent advancements, it is essential to inquire how are all these accolades trickling down to and benefiting ordinary citizens? A recent national OMNIBUS public opinion survey conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology showed that a prototypical Ukrainian internet user is 18-35 years old, from a large city and holds a higher degree. On the other hand, persons older than 50 years of age, with high school or a lower level of education and living in a village are the least likely to use the Internet. The survey findings further conclude that ordinary Ukrainian citizens are not very aware of the possible benefits of e-government and e-democracy initiatives: 86% did not understand what e-government means, 79% have never heard of the term e-democracy and only 41% thought that they may have some idea of the term’s meaning.



Internet user patterns among respondents also point to the fact that the implementation of electronic government by Ukrainian citizens remains relatively low with 47% Ukrainians still preferring face-to-face contact and only 19% using ICT to interact with authorities. The vast majority of Ukrainian internet users (86%) also use the Internet primarily for general information searches, social networking (76%) and following the news. Only 21% have claimed that they use Internet for seeking public services, and even fewer use it for democratic participatory purposes such as e-petitioning, e-consultations or e-polls. Interestingly enough however, the majority did believe that e-government and e-democracy do offer new opportunities for improving the future of good governance in Ukraine.

tegic choices in its relevant allocation of resources for the purpose of making e-government a vital long-term priority. Even under a very modest state budget, which Ukraine can currently offer, this could be achieved if strategic prioritization, effective change management and agile public-private partnerships were to be put in place. The passing and implementation of robust new legislation with clear definitions of what an e-service entails would also help. Its current absence significantly undermines the advancement of systemic, quality standards for a citizenry centered on e-service delivery. The opening of state registries, development of effective interoperability and relevant data security systems is also a basic need for improving the efficient flow of data

The good news is that since 2014, Ukraine’s commitments to e-government and e-democracy strengthened yet again, a development which was reflected in its commendable return to 62nd place in the 2016 UN EGDI and 32nd place in the E-participation Index So where does that leave the status of e-government in Ukraine? On the one hand relevant reforms have gained momentum over the past year, but Ukraine can do much more in modernizing its public administration system and in utilizing domestic human capital in the IT sector. It is important that Ukraine thinks of its human capital as much more than a resource to export, but also as a key resource to strengthen its public sector. This requires the government to make stra-


between ministries and local administrative units. This would be particularly helpful for the undergoing efforts in administrative decentralization. E-government is as much about technology as it is about the human dimension — people — both on the supplier and the user end. Extensive capacity building of public servants and adoption of new skill sets into the system is thus essential. To quell Ukrainians’ fears and distrust of e-government initiatives and the govern-

ment in general, they need to be met by airtight measures in implementing state of the art privacy of information and personal data protection measures. To prevent digital divides and to ensure citizens’ equitable access to the Internet, Ukraine needs to develop rural as well as urban IT infrastructure. To further bolster its post-Maidan 2014 commitments to democracy, the government of Ukraine needs to collaborate and innovate jointly with civil society and the private sector on a diverse range of empowering transparency, participatory and anti-corruption instruments. Overall, Ukraine will need to find its own recipe for a successful model of governance. In today’s era, effective use of new technologies can certainly help to make it happen. As Steve Ballmer, a former CEO of Microsoft, once said — the key benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn’t think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about unleashing of the potential. Undoubtedly, Ukraine has the human capital and slowly emerging vision needed to unleash its own potential.

Jordanka Tomkova is a Swiss funded E-governance Advisor in Ukraine and a Senior Governance Advisor at the INNOVABRIDGE Foundation which is a co-implementing partner of the E-governance for Accountability and Participation Program in Ukraine financed by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation.



odessa sport

Olympic Success For Odessa Fencing School: A Well-Deserved Silver For Olena Kravatska By Volodymyr Gutsol For the first time in Odessa Fencing School history, it was represented by two fencers at the Olympics, both trained by Aleksandr Vasyutin. One was Andriy Yahodka, who unfortunately sustained a serious leg injury that prevented him from competing to full potential, and the other — Olena Kravatska, who brought home a silver, one of the eleven medals won by the Ukrainian delegation in Rio de Janeiro. This Odessa Fencing School trainee truly earned the honor, and now that she has the shiny medal in her hands, the thorny path of hard work, disillusions and doubts can fade away. Currently Olena is taking a hard-earned rest, but that doesn’t mean that she will rest on her laurels.

The Odessa Review (OR): Olena, what do you feel now, a few weeks after the conclusion of the Olympics? Olena Kravatska (OK): I have already gotten over the excitement. Finally, I understand that the medal is right here and that it’s not a dream! But I am enjoying my rest, and all the congratulations while it’s still on everyone’s mind. OR: Did you dream about a medal before the Olympics? OK: Of course I did, but I started dreaming 8 years ago, when our girls took the gold medal in Beijing. I realized then that the dream may come true. All of the past year we have been training hard, hoping and believing that we will get a medal. Of course, we would prefer gold. But that just means now we have to go to Tokyo and take the gold there (editor’s note — the next Olympics will take place in Tokyo in 2020). OR: What did you see in Rio except for the sports facilities?


OK: Unfortunately, we didn’t go anywhere because it was dangerous. Our team, as well as the other teams, had some bad experiences during the Olympics. On the other hand, after finishing our competitions, we went to cheer on our Ukrainian teammates. After two weeks of fencing we could go to the swimming pool to see our platform diving athletes. It was very unusual, I must say… Something new for me — the pool was so beautiful, and the diving, wow! OR: What do you think about the judging? OK: These Olympic Games the judging was awful in relation to our country. We had been monitoring Anna Rizatdinova’s (editor’s note — the Olympic bronze medalist) performance at rhythmic gymnastics, and everybody thought she was undeservingly marked down. Oleg Vernyaev (editor’s note — the Olympics gold and bronze medalist) told us that he made a little mistake in his last exercise, but it shouldn’t have cost him a full point and a gold medal. I guess we have to be two heads and shoulders above to get medals. OR: How old were you when you first wished to go to the Olympics? OK: I was 16. I was a teenager, I attended my activities and had no idea how successful one can be in sport until I saw our girls winning at the Olympics in China.

OR: Do you remember your first training? How did you come to fencing? OK: It was my father’s initiative to take me to fencing classes when I was 7 years old. I was the youngest one in the gym, the other kids were 10 years and older. I didn’t like it at first. My father made me attend the classes for the first two years and made sure I did not miss them. I tried to get out of it, I wanted to do dance or gymnastics. But my father insisted on fencing.

Odessa Sport

OR: But your father has seen you become a champion since then. OK: He first made me practice gymnastics, but in three months he realized that it was not really my thing. He and his friend Sergey Boriachinsky (who became my first coach) decided that I should try myself in fencing. I was very confused at first. When I came to the gym, there were people wearing weird outfits with masks on their faces and fighting with sabers. My first thought was: “Oh my gosh! It probably hurts! Plus, this is very uncomfortable outfit and mask… I will look like a Teletubby in it.” Today this outfit feels like my second skin. Back then, all I wanted is to go dancing like the rest of the girls. OR: Why didn’t you leave the sport after all? OK: For the first three years my parents made me go. My father is the kind of man, you know, who does not allow his words to be questioned. Then I went to my first competition in Kyiv and I won my first bronze. I loved the feeling I experienced — I won, I had a medal, people congratulated me, my parents were proud of me. So, step by step I got involved in fencing, got used to it and could not imagine myself without this sport. OR: You no longer wished to quit the sport and do something else?

OK: Oh, it still popped up several times. Three years ago I faced a choice and was thinking of quitting. I could not get into the Olympic team for quite a while. I told myself: “If I do not make into the team, I will give up the sport.” It just so happened that I got a good score at the very first competition, so I became a candidate to be a team member. The past year, when we were preparing for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, was the most challenging out of all the 16 years that I have been practicing fencing. It was very tough. And every time I went to the gym, I was telling myself: “As soon as the Olympics are over, I will not take the saber up ever again.” OR: So, the Olympics are over, and now? ОК: I changed my mind! After the Olympic competitions I decided to take a long break, have a good rest, and when I will start missing my saber I will get back to the gym!

2017. No way to tell what will happen with us and the gym in a couple of months. I myself asked our Mayor to give us an opportunity to train in the gym before the Tokyo Olympic Games. I hope that this problem will be solved. Last year the city administration gave us no financial aid. This is not about me, now I have financing for my trips and training camp. I am talking about the rising generation in our sport school, which is coming up to take our place. But no one is concerned about them. In order to win a medal, our financial problems should be solved and we should continually take part in competitions. Many parents just can’t afford these numerous trips, especially abroad. The city administration must grant some funds for this purpose, at least for the Ukrainian championships.

OR: How are you going to spend your vacation? OK: Our Ministry promised to send our fencing team on a trip somewhere, which is good. They used to judge us, like, “why are Ukrainian athletes always complaining if they have such huge bonuses (editor’s note — Ukrainian athletes get 125,000 USD as a premium for a Gold medal), while in the USA it is just 25,000 USD?” But, wait a moment, American athletes are likely to get number of commercial contracts after they win the Gold, and what do we have? Some glory for a while, and then we’re filed away as history. One year before the next Olympics they might pay us some interest. So, I hope that after Brazil something will change not only in our country, but that our city administration will change their attitude to our sport. OR: And what kind of attitude is it now? What is wrong? OK: I have the feeling that they are not interested in us. We had a lot of good results from the World and European Championships, but the fencing school struggles financially. We are hardly able to pay the gym rental up until

Volodymir Gutsol is The Odessa Review’s sports columnist.


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Paris Fashion Week

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Odessa Tourism

The Privoz: King Of The Markets By Vadim Goloperov

The legendary Odessa market attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world every year. Poets, historians and criminals have roamed it’s fabled premises. Books and art exhibits are dedicated to it. It’s called the “King of Markets”.

The first market appeared in Odessa within a year of the city’s existence — in 1795. However, the now-famous Privoz did not appear until much, much later. At first, it was merely an offshoot of the Old Bazaar — it did not have any of it the stands or storages sections for which it is now known. Merchants would bring their goods by carriages, and sold them right out of those same carriages. In fact, this is where the market got it’s eponymous name: “privoz” being a form of the verb “privozit”, which means

However, the main unique feature of the Privoz was not its size or its wide assortment of goods, but rather the people who gave their soul to it. Most believe that it is here that the famous “Odessa jargon” was born, as well as the archetype of the Odessite as a cheerful, witty, sharp natural-born salesman who loves to haggle and always comes out on top. Any guest of the city who wants to hear the “Odessa dialect” or experience the authentic Odessa temperament should head straight to the Privoz.

The market’s disorder and less-than-ideal organization — especially in the food sections — contributes both to its charm and its negative downsides “to bring in a vehicle”. In 1827, the territory of the Privoz was already being prepared to transform into a fully-functional market. The first major constructions on the site appeared in 1913, starting with a designated “Fruit Pavilion”. The location of the Privoz was optimal — it was outside of the city center, close to the railroad, had convenient entrances and ample space for expansion. It quickly, it became the primary market in Odessa — a city whose existence has always revolved around commerce.


However, the relationship of native Odessites to the Privoz is in no way uniform. Some are proud of it, and some also despise it. Many — like myself — have a love-hate relationship with it. This is not surprising, seeing as the Privoz is a place where all the best and worst parts of Odessa are concentrated. Everyone sees what they want to see. The beautiful and charming side of the Privoz — a friendly and memorable people, laughter, a carefree atmosphere — is its most well-known side. And with good reason, because for the most part this what the Privoz is about — unique people selling unique goods. Where else can you taste dozens of distinct varieties of farmers’ cheese, buy freshly harvested mussels and overhear the artfully crude jokes of loaders as they knock back a few beers? Simply


visiting the Privoz can be an instant mood-lifter — one often leaves with a warm feeling. Especially for the city dweller, the contrast between the grey office monotony of ordinary life and the authentic kind of communication taking place in the Privoz can have a very positive effect. The Privoz is a living, breathing entity — and it is often the place where new Odessa jokes, proverbs, and aphorisms are born. Any Odessa will tell you that no supermarket in the world can compare to the Privoz in terms of the quality and variety of its goods — especially the food! The Privoz supplies nearly all of Odessa with delicious and healthy food — and Odessa is a city which holds food in special reverence, creating a culinary cult. The Privoz assortment is sure to satisfy the tastes of even the most demanding gourmand. While recent years have seen an influx of “plastic” greenhouse-grown fruits and vegetables, the Privoz still boasts a thriving farmers’ market — one can still buy plump, sweet Mikado tomatoes, Moldovan peaches, and farm-fresh eggs with a bright golden yolk.

Odessa Tourism

During the habitual deficits of the Perestroika years, only the fortunate were able to shop for food at the Privoz. Those who were hit hard by the economic crisis had to brave the lines at the supermarkets. Someone who could afford meat instead of bones, cheese and cold-cuts instead of margarine and processed bologna, headed to the Privoz where delicacies could be found even during those very tough times. Even people with limited funds would sometimes scrape a few rubles together to buy their favorite foodstuffs and to indulge while trying to forget the hardships all around them.

Any Odessan will tell you that no supermarket in the world can compare to the Privoz in terms of the quality and variety of its goods — especially the food!

Some basic Things to remember at the Privoz: — Keep an eye out for the item you came for — it’s easy to get distracted — Take your time when examining the goods. Remember that it’s the seller’s job to CONVINCE you. — I haggle, therefore I am! — Choose fruits, vegetables and other food items yourself. If the seller doesn’t let you do this — find another seller. — The “evening Privoz” opens at the end of the work day — you can enter it from the side of Preobrazhenska street. The prices can drop drastically as sellers seek to get rid of product they failed to sell during the day. ILLUSTRATION BY OLEG ANDREEV

So, with all these positive traits, what possible reason could someone have to dislike the Privoz? Unfortunately, it should be acknowledged that it’s unfiltered nature means that you will run into rude and negative people as often as you will meet cheerful and pleasant ones. People often say that the Privoz is the number one destination if you want to be lied to or cheated. Some people even seem to accept this — especially tourists who take it as an expression of some sort of romanticized, criminal charm associated with Odessa. Deception and a benign sort of rip-off are the market’s calling card. Who hasn’t seen the online ads saying “Shop with us – the other guys will rip you off even more!” Some salespeople go as far as to write “real weight” on the price tags. I can give an example from my

own recent experience: one price is written in large numbers on the bright price tag, but once you pay and realize that something doesn’t add up the seller helpfully points out the tiny words “bulk price” written under the numbers. “The customer is always right” is an adage that not all of the sellers at the Privoz take to heart. The less hospitable salespeople are usually not the provincial farmers who come to the city to sell their wares, but rather the local businessmen, traders in bulk who usually do not make the friendliest impression. It’s very easy to understand the Eastern proverb which says “It is easy to be a saint at the top of a mountain, but it is tough to remain a saint at the market”. Still, one always hopes to encounter more saints than swindlers in their daily life.

Thankfully, the rude salespeople are not the only ones in the Privoz (although they do sometimes manage to single-handedly spoil a positive experience). There are many wonderful people — locals and hard-working provincials, friendly, charismatic and talkative. They will give you a bargain price, make you laugh and pose for photos, sharing some of their warmth and positivity. Often, you can meet this type of seller in the dairy part of the Privoz. It’s difficult to buy dairy products in bulk — this is why they are usually brought to the market early in the morning by babushkas and country girls, who quickly don their aprons and instantly begin to promote their wares — cottage cheese, goat and cow milk cheeses, sour cream, buttermilk, and of course fresh milk.


Odessa Tourism Of course, even when dealing with babushkas from the countryside, one can still run into interesting situations. I’ll give another personal example: my friend was once looking to purchase some veal tongue for her baby. She received a lot of advice telling her to find the most “country-looking” old lady at the market and buy the meat from her, as this would guarantee its local sourcing. She followed the directions and found a very authentic grandma, who swore up and down about the freshness of her meat — going as far as to cry while saying how the calf licked her with this very tongue just yesterday! My friend was sold. But when she got home to cook the tongue, she discovered the “Brasil Export” brand on it…


Overheard At The Privoz: Two saleswomen are talking: “How’s your daughter? Married yet?” “No. She’s like my sausage — they try it, they compliment it — but they don’t buy it...” A customer talking to a fish seller: “Is it fresh?” “Don’t you see? It’s still alive!” “Well, you know…my wife is alive too, but she’s not that fresh anymore...” A price tag at the Privoz reads: “1 watermelon — 13 hryvna. 3 watermelons — 40 hryvna.” A customer asks for one watermelon, pays 13 hryvna, and puts it away. He repeats this process two more times and tells the seller: “You are not very smart. I just bought these three watermelons for 39, while your price tag is selling them for 40.” The seller responds: “Oh, another one! They all buy three watermelons from me at a time, and then they try to teach ME how to sell!” “Can you tell me, what did you feed this chicken?” “Why?” “I’d like to get that skinny, too.” “Sara, dear, where are you going?” “To the Privoz.” “But we don’t need anything” “I’m just going there to argue!” A woman is shopping for sausage at the Privoz. The saleswoman chimes in: “Sweetie, just smell it! This isn’t sausage — this is French perfume!!”


In order to avoid situations like these, loyal Privoz shoppers often have an “inside man” in the meat, milk, and fish sections. They phone the seller in advance before their visit and fully believe that the best product will be set aside for them. It’s difficult to say whether or not this is really the case — but Odessites continue to believe this. Everyone want’s to feel like an insider. The market’s disorder and less-than-ideal organization — especially in the food sections — contributes both to its charm and its negative downsides. For those who prefer a more organized experience, the New Market is located in the very center of Odessa. It can be described as a more formal, organized Privoz. However, because of its organized nature, it loses a measure of innate charm — it lacks the charisma and the Eastern-market noise and mystique of the Privoz. If the Privoz is a raging sea, the New Market is a calm, quiet port with somewhat higher prices. Everyone in Odessa chooses according to their predilections. Still, the Privoz remains an absolute must-see tourist destination. This is the “other” face of Odessa — uncensored and unorganized, but absolutely indispensable to the unique charm of this beautiful city.

Vadim Goloperov is staff writer at The Odessa Review.






AREA: 236.9 km2

111.8 km2 1,010,000




1,5 million

St.George’s Hall

Odessa Philharmonic Theater MUSICAL ICONS:


Liver bird



Ukrainian, Russian, Jewish, Greek, French

The Beatles


Tate Liverpool


Liverpool F.C.

Leonid Utesov

Fine Arts Museum SEA:

Chernomorets F.C.

The Irish Sea

PORT ANNUAL CARGO TONNAGE: Liverpool 10,200,000 tonnes

Odessa 25,585,800 tonnes

The Black Sea

Odessa Tourism

Odessa: Salt Lake City By Dmytro Sikorsky Very often when we are trying to describe the flavors of the old Odessa, we forget to mention one crucially important element: Odessa always had its own salt! Remembering that, we can both spice up Odessa’s gastronomic history and observe it from an entirely new viewpoint.

To this very day in modern Europe spilling salt is still considered to be an omen of misfortune — because of its high cost, spilling it was associated with future economic losses in general


Historians tend to talk about the settlement of Khadjibey, occupying the location of modern-day Odessa from about the 14th to the 18th centuries, as a harbor mostly involved in grain transport. However, many of them often fail to mention the vigorous salt trade that was such an important part of the local economy. In medieval times, salt was an extremely important product. Without refrigeration, the best way to preserve food was to salt it, so its use was not dictated by taste preferences, but by the need for survival in times when fresh food was not to be readily available. For this reason also, salt was also very expensive. To this very day in modern Europe spilling salt is still considered to be an omen


of misfortune — because of its high cost, spilling it was associated with future economic losses in general. On the other hand, if somebody had access to large amounts of salt or worked in the salt trade, he was likely to be very rich. In the old days, Odessa provided such an opportunity: a very big lake lay near the city, salty like the Dead Sea in Israel is today. It had no fish at all, but was extremely rich with salt that was there for the taking. One didn’t need to dig in a mine, or boil water to extract the salt like in other places — just take it, carry it off, and sell it in the marketplace! The residents of the city did just that. Some of this salt was traded on the Black Sea, although there is no reliable historic data available about this trade or who the final consumers along this trade route were. Some salt was taken to the continent and sold all over Ukraine. In fact, it could be said that all of central Ukraine used salt from Khadjibey-Odessa in it’s household. Famous “chumaks” — Ukrainian merchants — were

primarily known for their involvement in the salt trade. They delivered salt to faraway locations by small wagons that were pulled by a pair of oxen. Despite all the risks associated with trade across the border, like being killed or robbed by brigands along the way, chumaks hazarded these adventures for the sake of turning a very good profit.


Odessa Tourism

Salt from the Kuyalnik continued to be sold at Odessa markets, and of course it wold continue to be used in Odessa’s kitchens to salt dishes and preserve fish, meat and the famous Bryndza cheeses of the Bessarabia region

It was these tradesmen who first promoted the future Odessa throughout Ukraine as a place where one could get rich very easily. Some of them would go on to organize the first Ukrainian settlements near the Black Sea. When the area became part of the Russian Empire, the glory and fame of the new Odessa and it’s economic success was spread throughout Ukraine together with the salt. Chumaks prospered until the second half of the 19th century, when competition from railroads made longer trade routes unprofitable. Salt from the Kuyalnik continued to be sold at Odessa markets, and of course it wold continue to be used in Odessa’s kitchens to salt dishes and preserve fish, meat and the famous Bryndza cheeses of the Bessarabia region. So, all the food in Odessa was salted with local salt, making it deeply rooted in Odessa soil. So to speak. Salt would be sourced from the Kuyalnik until 1932, when competition with very cheap mined salt from Donbas closed this business down. Salt started to be so common and inexpensive that most people in Odessa forgot about the local salt. However, some inhabitants that live near the lake still recognize and use only Kuyalnik salt, even though it is more difficult to obtain than merely buying salt at the supermarket.


Perhaps in the near future, the old “Odessa salt” will return to the city, sold in gourmet markets and souvenir shops, while local restaurateurs and chefs will use it to garnish their dishes. It is after all a local delicacy. For now, the best way to get this salt is to go to Kuyalnik and pick some up from the beach, perhaps taking the opportunity to do some swimming and to take in some mud baths while there, since that is the main attraction of the area in modern times!

Dmytro Sikorsky is a restaurateur, scholar and historian of the Odessa and Bessarabia regions.



UNO Design Hotel, situated in the heart of Odessa’s cultural, historic and business center, does not use the word “design” in its name gratuitously. Much more than just a modern boutique hotel in a good location, it is truly a work of art, conceived and brought to life by renowned Italian designer Nuntzio Da Via. Located in a beautifully restored historic building, with a classic European look from the beginning of 20th century, the hotel surprises visitors with the tasteful contemporary design they encounter inside. Innovative, but soothing, with clean lines and plenty of light, the decor of the rooms makes them perfect for restful sleep or productive work.


UNO Design Hotel is an inspiring study in the way old world charm on the outside can be outfitted with modern comfortable chic on the inside, combining the very best of both worlds. The hotel offers a wide range of accommodation options, from the cozy and comfortable Classic Rooms, to the lavishly appointed, spectacular Deluxe Suite. Whatever the budget of the traveler, at this hotel they will find a room that fits their needs best. Every one of the hotel’s 49 rooms contains exclusive design and decor elements, creating an atmosphere of effortless elegance and style. This hotel is constantly improving, expanding the list of its services and amenities. In the near future, a small conference room will be added accommodating presentations and meetings for about 20 people. Already setting a standard for European hospitality in Odessa, the staff of UNO Design Hotel understand that the guest’s experience is often defined by the details — therefore, the hotel continues to pursue excellence both in its appearance and the services it provides!


Hotel Ayvazovsky

Grand Marine Hotel&SPA | Medical Centre

The business hotel “Ayvazovskiy” is situated in the historic center of the city next to the Opera Theater, in the renowned Abramson building constructed in 1852 based on the design of architect I. S. Kozlov. The building possesses high architectural value and has been meticulously preserved during its 2007 reconstruction. This way, hotel guests have the opportunity to see Odessa’s picturesque past combined with modern style and classic interior design. The hotel displays over 80 painting reproductions by the famous marinist artist Ivan Ayvazovskiy, who was continually inspired by the city of Odessa.

Grand Marine is a recreational complex with the multifaceted medical center and premium class Hotel & SPA . Grand Marine, Medical Center is a leading private clinic that uses the latest medical technologies. Minimally invasive methods of treatment, endoscopic gynecology, otorhinolaryngology, plastic surgery, clinical and laboratory studies, functional diagnostics, physiotherapy, balneotherapy, detoxification, hemo-correction and efferent therapy of different somatic diseases will make your private medical treatment as smooth as possible. We guarantee the best quality, security and efficiency in patients’ rehabilitation and recovery for broad age groups.

19 Bunina Street

Tel.: +38(048)728-97-77, Fax: +38(048)728-11-34 e-mail:

5 Yuzhnosanatorny Lane, Sauvignon, Odessa

Tel.: +38 048 757 90 90, Fax: + 38 048 757 90 99

Orange Hotel

Metro Hotel Apartments

Orange Hotel is a great place to feel the energy of the city in yourself. Here in Orange Hotel, whether travelling for business or pleasure, guests can experience comfort and coziness for a budget price in the center of the city. Orange Hotel features 26 guest rooms, conference room, meeting room, café. Within an atmosphere of openness and hospitality, you feel like home. Your trip will not be forgotten if you will entrust on us your accommodation. To ensure your stay at hotel is perfect down to the last detail, our Front Office team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Odessa hotels can satisfy the tastes and preferences of any traveller! Some will choose an inexpensive hostel, others a private hotel on the Black Sea shore, or a mini-hotel located at a distance from the city center. The true connoisseurs of comfort and style, however, will surely prefer a hotel in the center of Odessa. Metro Hotel Apartments is a mini-hotel perfectly located in proximity to all attractions, remaining cozy and quiet at the same time. The famous Deribasivska Street, the Philharmonic, the Museum of Eastern and Western Art are only a block away, the Pushkin Museum is directly across the street, and the Odessa Opera Theater, the Archaeological and Literary Museums, and the Russian Drama Theater are just a 10-minute walk.

1a Hretska Street

12 Pushkinska Street

Tel.: +380 48 705 70 05 e-mail: www.

Tel.: +380 48 705 3000 e-mail:



The legendary cafe Fanconi is the place preferred for work and leisure by the Odessa elites since 1872: a warm atmosphere, pleasant lighting, WI-FI, and comfortable furniture that facilitates difficult decisions. The cafe features European and Japanese cuisine, a refined wine list and fabulous desserts. The food is prepared using the latest technology, the freshest produce, a creative approach and the virtuosity of the chef! Fanconi — prestigious, comfortable, and delectable!

Bourbon Rock Bar, located in the center of Odessa, is a bastard child of rock-nroll and the wild life that has become a favorite hangout for progressive youth and curious foreigners all week long. Crossing the threshold, every guest automatically becomes a good friend who will be offered a nice glass of authentic bourbon, as well as some delicious food and great soulful conversation.

15/17 Katerynyniska Street

8/10 Katerynyniska Street


Tel.: +38 (048) 722-03-07

Corresponding to its name, Central Bar has become a true mecca for the people of the city. The place impresses with its dynamics, live music 5 days a week and the unique atmosphere from the first moment that one enters. 3 Katerynynska Square


Tel.: +38 (048) 725-58-58


/Haute Cuisine

OYSTER BAR «Bar Ustrichnaya» 10 Primorsky Bulevard 139 Tel.: +380679863061


Odessa Tales By Boris Khersonsky


When the Odessa Intelligentsia was a little girl, her favorites among all of her toys were her dolls. In her expansive collection she had not only rubber Little Red Riding Hoods with holes in their sides and seamless celluloid baby dolls, but also the latest models of German dolls from the German Democratic Republic who quietly mewled “Mama” in electronic voices. On her birthdays, she would be given dolls who could open and close their eyes to anything. She would then get up onto a chair and recite the Pasternak poem “Snow is Falling,” even though her birthday was in the middle of the summer.


After that came the guests’ questions. The eternal classic “who do you love more, mommy or daddy?” was inapplicable in this case as the identity of the birthday girl’s father had never been established, so guests opted for “who do you want to be when you grow up?” To this, she would invariably respond with “I want to be the Odessa Intelligentsia!” Once, that question was also followed up with “and who will your dolls be when they grow up?” The birthday girl promptly responded — “They will be the prominent members of my society!”

The guests applauded and laughed for a long time. But as it turns out, they were completely wrong to laugh!

My Odessa


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YOU CAN FIND THE ODESSA REVIEW IN THESE FINE ESTABLISHMENTS BEAUTY SALON Barber Shop 3 Katerynivska Street +38 (067) 482-35-15 Chop-Chop 2 Vitse-Admirala Zhukova Lane +38 (097) 322-22-12 Dry Bar 4 Vitse-Admirala Zhukova Lane +38 (066) 834-55-00 Libro Dry Bar 18 Niny Onilovoi lane +38 (048) 783-38-88 Salon&cafe MARA team 3/7 Vitse Admirala Zhukov Lane Arcadia Parkway +38 (067) 484-45-65 Maramax Head SPA 12 Chaikovskoho lane +38 (048) 728-25-55 M-Street 27 Deribasivska Street +38 (048) 777-55-54 Mozart 13 Lanzheronivska Street (Hotel Mozart) +38 (0482) 32-22-22 Salon&cafe MARA team 3/7 Vitse Admirala Zhukov Lane Arcadia Parkway +38 (067) 484-45-65 COWORKING SPACE IPerron #7 56 Mala Arnautska Street +38 (048) 737-45-88



Continental Hotel 4* 5 Derybasivska Street +380 (48) 786-03-99

M1 Club Hotel 5* 1 Lidersivsky Boulevard +38 (048) 705-88-77

Royal Street 27 Deribasivska Street +3 (048) 777-29-99

Design-hotel Skopeli 3,5* 65 Lanzheron Beach +38 (048) 705-39-39

Morskoy Hotel 4* 1/1 Kryshtalevyi Lane +38 (0482) 33-90-90

Uno Design Hotel 17 Rishelievska Street +38 (048) 729-70-50

Deribas Apartments 27 Deribasivska Street +38 (067) 253-88-36

Mozart Hotel 4* 13 Lanzheronivska Street +38 (0482) 37-77-77

Vintage Hotel 55 Uspenska Street +38(048) 737-83-00

Duke Hotel 5* 10 Chaikovskoho Lane +38 (048) 705-36-36

Odesskiy Dvorik 4* 19 Uspenska Street +38 (048) 777-72-71

Villa le Premier 5* 3 Vannyi lane +38 (048) 705-74-74

Alexandrovskiy Hotel 4* 12 Oleksandrivskiy Lane +38 (098) 581-49-19

Frederic Koklen Boutique Hotel 4* 7 Nekrasova Lane +38 (048) 737-55-53

Orange Hotel 3* 1a Hretska Street +38 (048) 730-60-30


Arcadia Plaza 4* 1 Posmitnoho Street +38 (0482) 30-71-01

Geneva Apart Hotel 32 Evrejska Street 4* +38 (0482) 31-13-12

Otrada Hotel 5* 11 Zatyshna Straeet +38 (0482) 33-06-98

Ark Palace Hotel&SPA 4* 1B Henuezska Street +38 (048) 773-70-70

Grand Marine Medical SPA Hotel 5 Yuzhnosanatorniy lane +38 (048) 757-90-90

Palace Del Mar 5* 1 Kryshtalevyi Lane +38 (0482) 30-19-00

Beit Grand 77/79 Nezhynska Street +38 (048) 737-40-52 EDUCATIONAL CENTER Montessori 20B Pionerska Street +38 (048) 777-62-77 HOTEL Alarus Hotel&Restaurant 4* 82 Velyka Arnautska Street +38 (048) 784-71-71

Ayvazovskiy Hotel 5* 19 Bunina Street +38 (0482) 42-90-22 Beehive Hotel Odessa 9/1 Arkadia lane +38 (048) 796-87-48 Black Sea Hotel 4* (chain of hotels) Bristol Hotel 5* 15 Pushkinska Street +38 (048) 796-55-00

Kadorr Hotel Resort&SPA 5* 66/3 Frantsuzky Boulevard +38 (048) 705-99-04

Palais Royal Boutique-Hotel 3* 10 Lanzheronivska Street +38 (048) 737-88-81

La Gioconda 4* 1 Second Lermontovskyi Lane +38 (048) 774-40-00

Panorama De Luxe 5* 6/8 Mukachivskyi Lane +38 (048) 705-70-55

London Hotel 4* 95 Uspenska Street +38 (048) 784-08-98

Poet Art Hotel 28 Zhukovskogo Street +38 (048) 771-17-06

Londoska Hotel 4* 11 Prymorsky Boulevard +38 (048) 705-87-77

Ribas 3 Deribasivska Street +38 (048) 783-83-77

Oxford 33 Zhukovskoho Street +3 (048) 725-55-00

NIGHT CLUB Art-club Shkaf 32 Hretska Street +38 (048) 232-50-17 Bourbon Rock Bar 8/10 Katerynenska Street +38 (048) 796-10-07 Central bar 3 Katerynynska Square +38 (048) 725-58-58 The Roastery by Odessa Arkadia Parkway +38 (093) 787-87-85

odessa listings

RESTAURANT/ CAFE/PUB Belleville cafе 8/3 Shevchenkо Avenue +38 (048) 757-85-57 Benedikt. World of breakfasts 19 Sadova Street +38 (048) 759-99-95 Bernardazzi 15 Bunina Street +38 (048) 785-55-85

De Vine restaurant 1 Soborna square +38 (048) 793-04-73 Dizyngoff 5 Katerynynska Square +380 (050) 542-42-16 Fanconi 15/17 Katerynivska Street +38 (048) 234-66-66 Forty Five Booze&Bakery 1 Katerynynska Square +38 (095) 045-45-45

Bistekka Steakhouse&Bar 12 Deribasovska Street +38 (048) 737-57-07 /BISTEKKA Steakhouse-Bar -619422038078936

Fratelli 17 Hretska Street +38 (048) 738-48-48

Bize 26 Lanzheronivska Street +38 (048) 784-02-68

Grand Prix 24 Bunina Street +38 (048) 785-07-01

Bratia Gril 17 Derybasivska Street Arkadia Parkway +38 (067) 599-33-99

Irish Pub Mick O’Neills 13 Derybasivska Street +38 (048) 721-53-33

Budapest 34 Zhukovskoho Street +38 (048) 787-86-86 City Garden Restraunt&Lounge 10/12 Havanna Street +38 (048) 702-88-11 Corvin Pub 17 Lanzheronivska Street +38 (0482) 33-88-00 CUBE Un/Healthy Bar 10 Rishelievska Street +38 (063) 378-44-26

Jazzy Buzzy 19 Uspenska Street +38 (048) 777-20-31 Jardin French Restaurant 10 Havanna Street +38 (048) 700-14-71 Kadorr Restaurants 66/3 Frantsuzky Boulevard +38 (048) 705-99-01 Kumanets 7 Havanna Street +38 (0482) 37-69-46

Kotelok mussel bar 17 Sadova Street +38 (048) 736-60-30 Lustdorf 140V Lustdorfska Rode +38 (048) 777-96-77 Maman 18 Lanzheronivska Street +38 (048) 711-70-35 Mom in Cube 17 Leontovicha Street +38 (048) 783-50-17 10 Rishelievska Street +38 (063) 378 44 26 Omega Three 5 Lanzheronivska Street +38 (048) 796-89-81

The Churchill 1 Sabansky lane +380 (67) 711-03-10 The-Churchill The Dom Restaurant 55 Uspenska Street +38 (068) 808-08-80 Traveler’s Coffee 14 Derybasivska Street +38 (094) 917-54-07 True Restaurant 1 Sabansky lane +38 (048) 799-77-97 Villa Otrada Otrada Beach +38 (050) 391-39-47

Pizza & Grill 13 Vorontsovskyi Lane +38 (048) 770-08-07

White Whale 3/7 Vitse-Admirala Zhukova Street +38 (097) 058-80-83

Prichal №1 3 Otrada Beach +38 (048) 722-33-11

Zelen 85 Kanatna Street +38 (098) 878-37-00

Salieri 14 Lanzheronivska Street +38 (048) 725-00-00


Sherlock Café 11 Bunina Street +38 (0482) 32-12-00 Odessa Summer Garden 4 Sabaneiv Bridge +38 (066) 755-50-07 Terrace. Sea View 1B Lanzheron Beach +38 (048) 777-88-86

Wellness SPA Formula 12 Tchaikovsky Lane +38 (048) 728-99-21 STORE Barbara Bui 39 Kateryninska street +38 (048) 722-77-77 Book 3/7 Vitse-Admirala Zhukova +38 (063) 410-33-36

KYIV Arbequina Restaurant 4 Borisa Grinchenko Street +38 (044) 223-96-18 Kneipp Club Cupid 1-3 Pushkinska Street +38 (044) 279-71-71 Madia Hub 4/6 Suvorova Street +38 (099) 186-90-06 Indie bookstore Harms 45a Volodymyrska Street +38 (068) 308-88-93 Hilton Hotel 30 Tarasa Shevchenko Boulevard +38 (044) 393-54-00 SALES LOCATIONS Bodega 2K 32 Hretska Street +38 (096) 524-16-01 Bookshop – Cofee (Kavyarnia – Knygarnia) 77 Katerynynska Street +38 (048) 722-09-66 Книгарня-Кавярня189209431161828 British Book 47 Koblevska Street +38 (048) 705-88-00 Gippokampus 60 Pastera Street +38 (048) 737-54-23 Impact Hub Odessa 1A Hretska Street +38 (048) 703-35-55



My Odessa: Nelly Harchenko The legendary first presenter of Odessa television talks about the Odessa Philharmonic Theater.

musicians, actors — brought me to the Philharmonic again, but this time through the stage door rather than the front entrance. I hosted concerts, took interviews, prepared new television programming, wrote scripts for shows: I had to widen my horizons, explore this very new profession of a television presenter.

Do you remember that line, from Pushkin? “The time had come; she fell in love…” It seems those words could have been written about me in the spring of 1949. I was 17 years old, in 10th grade. Meanwhile, there was a boy attending the School of Stolyarsky. He was 18 years old, handsome, slender, very talented. I would frequently attend concerts at the Philharmonic; he took part in performances of gifted young musicians. We met and didn’t part for more than a year. In the grand hall of the Philharmonic, the arched windows, the colorful stained glass — everything creates a majestic and romantic atmosphere. The sounds of “Introduction and Rondo-capriccioso” by Saint-Saëns from the stage… How can you forget the place where you first fell in love, the tenderness and purity of that feeling? It is difficult to choose a favorite place in Odessa. So many are special to me because of events that happened there, or their beauty, or their relation to my work with Odessa television for so many years. In fact, you could point out almost any spot in the city, and it would be a favorite with me for one reason or another! But if I had to choose one place, I think it would have to be the Odessa Philharmonic Theater with its Moorish courtyard. Not only is it one of the most beautiful architectural sites in Odessa, but it has a very special meaning, even a cyclical significance to my life.


The talented boy, was the violinist Valery Klimov, a student of Beniamin Mordkovich and later of the greatest violinist of them all: David Oistrakh. He went on to win first prize in violin at the very first International Tchaikovsky Competition that was ever held, in 1958, the same year that Van Cliburn received the first prize for piano. Klimov left Odessa for Moscow, and eventually emigrated, like so many Odessan stars do, never to return to this city. I believe he is a professor at a German conservatory now. Many years passed, I graduated from university and fate led me toward fascinating work in television. Meeting new people in the creative professions — great directors,

A lot of this work was taking place in the beautiful Moorish courtyard next to the Philharmonic. The Actor’s House was located there, and you could always drop in for a cup of coffee or a drink, set up a meeting, get some advice from veterans of the stage. On New Year’s nights, the Actor’s House put on comedy sketch shows, with the most talented journalists, writers, actors. All of Odessa dreamed of being invited to these, and I was fortunate to take part in them for some years. Later, a new generation of artists came in our place, but the tradition remained. And so, in this place where I fell in love for the first time, my life and my work continued for years, up until the moment when I left the screen to work behind the scenes as television editor and producer — a symbolic arc, a long wonderful chapter. For me the Philharmonic is an oasis of joy, happiness and fulfillment. Of course, there were setbacks and misfortunes, but I truly remember only the good things…



Internet-catalog ROBERTOBRAVO.UA Jewelry House «VICENZA» 32 Bohdana Khmelnytskoho Street, Kyiv Tel.: (044) 360-1313 Jewelry Salon «Zolotoy Galeon» 81 Uspenska Street, Odessa Tel.: (0482)330-350


WELLNESS WEEKEND 5 Yuzhnosanatorniy Lane, Housing estate “Sovinyon” Odessa, Ukraine, 65037 Tel./ Fax: +38 048 757 90 90 mob. +38 097 066 30 10

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