The Odessa Review №2 (May 2016)

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# 02/ May 2016




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Hares Youssef

Vladislav Davidzon

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Regina Maryanovska-Davidzon

Editor at large: Peter Dickinson

Senior Editor Julia Makarenko

Associate Editor Alexandra Koroleva


Emil Draitser, Chana Galvagni, Vadim Goloperov, Soren Gauger, Volodymyr Gutsol, Nikolai Holmov, Christopher Peter Isajiw, Boris Khersonsky, Ute Kilter, Yuliya Malikova, Inna Naydis, Sophie Schultze, Oleksandr Suslensky

Design & cover:

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Katja Bakurova, Dmitry Kharenko, Evgen Arefiev, Pavel Fedorov


Sasha Geifman, Oleg Andreyev, Dasha Fisay, Olga Gladushevskaya, Sergеy Enkov

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All materials published in The Odessa Review are the intellectual property of the publisher and remain protected by Ukraininan and international copyright laws.










From the Editor-in-Chief. Letter from the Publisher.

May-June Events.

The Latest News from Odessa.

France’s Most Divisive Philosophical Debates in Odessa. Interview with Michel Onfray.










The Broad Church of Reform in Ukraine. Interview with Boris Lozhkin.

The Lutheran Church of St. Paul

How Can We Return the Richters to Ukraine? The “Wolf Man” of Odessa. German Writers on Odessa.

Nineteenth Century Travelers In Odessa. Mark Twain in Odessa. On Laurence Oliphant. An English Sketch of Nineteenth Century Odessa. Adam Mickiewicz in Odessa.









Odessa in the Frame.

On Mikhail Braykevich.

Odessa Designer Julie Paskal The First Mobile Beauty App by MARAMAX.

Supporting the growth of Ukrainian SMEs. Can IT sector growth drive the new Ukrainian economy?









Interview with Ivan Liptuga The Secret of Bessarabia’s Cuisine. Restaurant Reviews

Hotels/ Restaurants.

How They Laugh In Odessa. Tales by Boris Khersonsky. Anecdotes.

Pavel Fedorov.









How Odessa Brought Football to the Tsarist Empire.

The Kirche.

Felix Shinder’s Odessa



From the Editor-in-Chief By Vladislav Davidzon

The cobblestone streets, Venetian revival architecture and Italianate structures of Pushkinska street haughtily demand an unhurried walk. One might spend the night attending the opera or a play, or in the back of a nineteenth century white carriage that is blocking traffic around the statue of Catherine the Great. It is in short, perhaps the most fantastic city in the world from the standpoint of unapologetic hedonism. This issue contains an interview with a self proclaimed hedonist, the French philosopher Michel Onfray. The spring tourist (and arts) season began earlier than expected this year because of unseasonably lovely weather. The streets are bustling with travelers and tourists babbling away in every tongue known to man. Later this month the beaches are set

One might spend the night attending the opera or a play, or in the back of a nineteenth century white carriage blocking traffic around the statue of Catherine the Great O, to be alive, exultant and young in spring time! Spring, it may be axiomatic to observe is great everywhere but, let us be so brash as to argue that nowhere is it so great as it is in Odessa! What can be better than sitting in a cafe on Deribasivska street, nursing a drink as the evening fills up with a shimmering May glow? Perhaps going down to the beach and walking along the Black Sea and having a large meal in one of the town’s many opulent restaurants.


to open. Also later this month, the summer arts season will see the beginning of a poetry lecture series at the newly renovated Green Theater. World famous cold war comedian Yakov Smirnoff will be returning to his roots in Odessa to perform a standup show for the first time in forty years. What a country!




Letter from the Publisher By Hares Youssef

The initial reaction from readers has been very encouraging. The Odessa Review is a magazine designed for our readers. And Odessans are some of the most shrewd and discriminating customers around. In fact, all sorts of people have contacted me to express their positive reactions to the magazine. Odessans, expatriates of the city who live far away but still cherish their memories of it, fellow Ukrainians and of course English speaking readers from all over the world.

This month’s literary portfolio focuses on a trio of swashbuckling literary travelers in the Odessa of the nineteenth century This second issue of The Odessa Review promises to be even better than the first. This month’s literary portfolio focuses on a trio of swashbuckling literary travelers in the Odessa of the nineteenth century. They are an odd trio, almost like the set up

for a joke. The Polish national poet, the famous American writer and the eccentric British diplomat walk into a bar. Yet, reading about the experiences that they had in Odessa, one gets a sense of the sort of place it was 150 years ago, and more broadly, that what has attracted people to the city in the first place has not changed drastically in the intervening years. Reading about those adventures of the nineteenth century is also a great way to get into the spirit of your own visit.




Odessa Calendar

May Calendar of Events What A Country!?: Great Cold War Comedian Yakov Smirnoff Returns To Odessa For First Show In Decades. On May 14th, at 8 p.m the Odessa Review will host a conversation with the Comedian. Join us at co-working space Terminal 42, at Uspenska street 44 (the entrance is on Rishelyevskaya st.) Tickets need to be purchased prior to the show.

Born in Odessa, after emigrating to the United States Yakov Smirnoff became arguably the most famous American stand up comedian of the late eighties. His personal story and his skeptical relations to the Soviet Union, which he needled endlessly, propelled him into a front line position in the cold war. He gained remarkable fame, and he accrued remarkable successes in the mid-to-late 1980s, when he also appeared in several films and

television shows, including his own television sitcom. His comic persona was that of the preternaturally naive immigrant who is both confused by the odd rituals of American life as well as entranced by the opportunity to make it in the new country. His onstage persona represents the Borat of his time, and his jokes are rooted in the linguistic slips of a new immigrant trying to learn the language and culture. While his act teased both the old world and the new, it was obvious

which of the two he preferred. His signature catchphrase was “What a country!” Smirnoff was President Ronald Reagan’s favorite comedian and performed in the white house multiple times. Reagan, himself a Hollywood actor in romantic comedies very well understood the place of comedy in the ideological conflict between the Soviet Union and the West. When the cold war ended, Smirnoff’s career plummeted with it. In timeless American fashion, he had to reinvent himself.

The evening certainly promises to be a rare treat. Though Smirnoff has visited his home town several times since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, he has never performed here or in any other city in the former Soviet Union. He will explain the whole journey he has taken and will also discuss what he owes Odessa and Ukraine in a Russian language conversation with The Odessa Review’s Vladislav Davidzon. Afterwards he will perform his show in English.

MAY 14 AT 7PM “The Dachas of Odessa”

MAY 14 AT 7PM Gala-Concert in Odessa with Special Guest – Andrey Makarevich

by Aleksey Gorbunov, Valentina Kuba, “Maminy Deti”, Anastasiya Bukina, and many others. The special guest of the night is Andrey Makarevitch, who will be performing the greatest hits from his legendary band “Mashina Vremeni”! POTEMKIN STEPS

INTERNATIONAL JAZZ NIGHT COME FLY WITH ME! USA-Austria-Ukraine 3-time Grammy nominee and a performer with 9 albums to her name, the famous American Jazz singer and pianist Dena DeRose performs as part of the INTERNATIONAL JAZZ PROJECT. Dena DeRose will perform with a quintet of Ukraine’s best Jazz musicians. DeRose will perform her original songs, as well as a selection of Jazz classics from the past century. Dena DeRose’s concerts attract full-house audiences of Jazz enthusiasts all over the world – don’t miss the chance to see her in Odessa!

A premiere from the “Na Nezhynskoi” Theatre – a play about Odessa’s iconic summer “dacha” residences based on the book with the same title by renowned Odessa humorist, Mikhail Zhvanetsky. «BEIT GRAND» JEWISH CULTURAL CENTER 79 NEZHYNSKA STREET


Lightek celebrates 20 years together with Odessa! To celebrate its 20 year anniversary in Odessa, Lightek will present a grand concert right in the heart of the city featuring performances

MAY 14 AT 8.30PM Dena DeRose Quintet


Odessa Calendar MAY 15 AT 6.30PM Scream

“Scream” is a ballet in 2 acts based on Aleksandr Zinoviev’s novel, “Walk to Golgotha”. The contemporary ballet draws from the philosophical text without interpreting it literally. The main aspect it takes from the novel is the non-conformism of the main character, the poet and preacher Ivan Laptev. Odessa has the good fortune to host the world premiere of “Scream”, which will also be the debut of wellknown dancer Andrey Merkurtev as choreographer. ODESSA NATIONAL ACADEMIC OPERA AND BALLET THEATER 1 CHAIKOVSKOHO LANE

MAY 15 AT 7PM Dina Rubina

A household name, an author with a cult following and more than 40 books to her name which have been translated into numerous languages, the laureate of several literature awards. Her work may create polarized opinions, but it certainly doesn’t leave anyone unmoved. This “literary concert” provides a chance to delve into the author’s complex and strange worlds. Hearing Rubina recite her own works is an incredible experience of the literary Russian language with all its nuances and charm, an inimitable style, sharp humor, and a penetrating worldly wisdom. V. S. VASILKO ODESSA ACADEMIC MUSIC AND DRAMA THEATER 15 PASTERA STREET

MAY 15 AT 10PM Friends of Gagarin

Frontman Vanya Yakimov’s incredible charisma, combined with the authenticity of the music and the poetic depth of his lyrics makes the songs of this awesome band of cosmonauts impossible to forget from the very first chords! TERMINAL 42 44 USPENSKA STREET


Welcome to a new world! A fairytale where familiar things are seen in a completely new light, with music combining traditional and modern sounds. Explore the mysterious, beautiful, and provocative world of the rock musical “Divka”, presented by the Aleksey Kolomiytsev Theater! «BEIT GRAND» JEWISH CULTURE CENTER 79 NEZHYNSKA STREET

MAY 18 AT 7PM Resonance: Black Tour

Although “Resonance” is technically part of a symphonic chamber orchestra, and at the same time often referred to as a rock band; it really is neither. The band’s repertoire is not simply rock music. Their songs have long since become part of the world’s musical heritage – pieces created by some of the world’s most talented musicians. The program of the upcoming concert is an invitation to rethink the very concept of song – to move past the established boundaries and relate to the very heart of the music, grasping the creator’s original intention. V. S. VASILKO ODESSA ACADEMIC MUSIC AND DRAMA THEATER 15 PASTERA STREET

The “Wild 90s” project is more than just a reconstruction of the art exhibit scene in Odessa and a desire to recreate the atmosphere of the 1990s. It is also an attempt to see Odessa art from the 90s in the context of today’s realities, to see it in a whole new light and offer a different interpretation. Who knows for sure? Perhaps yesterday’s “virtual reality” has simply become today’s “reality”.


MAY 19 AT 7PM Lords of the Sound - “Gamer Symphony”

MAY 18 AT 8PM Facebook P.S. The best OSTs from the most legendary games await you at the unprecedented “Gamer Symphony” concert. Lords of Sound play well-know and beloved soundtrack hits from cult video games. MIKHAIL VODYANY ODESSA ACADEMIC MUSICAL COMEDY THEATER 3 PANTELEIMONIVSKA STREET

MAY 17 AT 7PM Trap for a Handsome Man

A Young Peoples’ Theater actor has aspired his whole life to become a star of the cinematic screen. Finally, fate grants him this coveted chance – but no one could have expected what an unusual film this is! What can he do now? The contract has been signed, filming is set to start, but will the actor be able to handle his first leading role? V. S. VASILKO ODESSA ACADEMIC MUSIC AND DRAMA THEATER 15 PASTERA STREET

MAY 18 AT 6PM The Wild 90s

From the creators of the legendary play “Savage Forever” – a new interactive performance, in which audience members can participate a story about a modern man in a virtual world full of bizarre and funny realities, where profile pictures are closer than real friends and the greatest joy in life is one more “like”. Enjoy the spectrum of positive emotions – from empathizing with the hero all the way to hysterical laughter – that this unconventional play has to offer! «BEIT GRAND» JEWISH CULTURE CENTER 79 NEZHYNSKA STREET

MAY 19 AT 8PM 13 Illusions

Internationally known Ukrainian illusionists Vitaliy Gorbachevsky and Vitaliy Luzkar bring their magic show to Odessa! Mysterious and romantic, often describes as – experience their magic for yourself! ODESSA PHILHARMONIC HALL 15 BUNINA STREET


Odessa Calendar MAY 20 AT 12AM Max Barskih

This scandalously successful young artist earned his sex-symbol status with his innovative music and lyrics – all of which he composes himself. His rebellious spirit can be heard clearly in his music which ignores boundaries and strives towards total freedom – which is exactly what led him to the top of the charts. “ITAKA” NIGHT CLUB ARCADIA BEACH

MAY 21 AT 12PM “Commisionary” Charity Market

The “Commisionary” is a charity initiative by the people for the people – it is a charity flea market. Brand names, vintage items, and rarities will be on offer. They are neither second-hand nor overstock – these are unique items with a history, and the proceeds from their sale will go to charitable causes. ODESSA SEAPORT 47/2 PRYMORSKA STREET


MAY 21-22 AT 11AM “Revolution” Trade Festival

The first annual “People’s Market REVOLUTION” festival aims to transform the trade industry in Odessa by promoting Ukrainian-made products and services, providing a platform for experience exchange and presentation of new ideas, and supporting Ukrainian entrepreneurship in all its manifestations. The festival space will be divided into themed sections: clothing and footwear, food and drink, furniture and décor. A section dedicated to creative arts will unite hand-made artisans, artists, photographers, and journalists. There will also be a food court, a children’s area, as well as recreational activities for children, adults, and the whole family. The open-air center stage will host performances for kids during the day.



This will be the 8th march in Odessa – the original idea behind the march was created by Kyiv university students. We extend a sincere invitation to join us in this celebration of the Ukrainian spirit! Wear your own vyshivanka, borrow one from a friend, use this great excuse to buy a new one or simply improvise a patriotic ensemble yourself – the most important thing is to come and invite your friends! “PASSAGE” SHOPPING CENTER 34 PREOBRAZHENSKA STREET

MAY 21 AT 4PM Strawberry Festival

An event for the whole family with the flavor of ripe sweet strawberries! Celebrate the coming summer

with its “dacha” summer-house season, and of course the ripe and juicy southern berry! Enjoy family leisure, healthy lifestyle and food, the appearance of the first berries and fruits heralding the warm Odessa summer. Learn new delicious recipes, make your own jam, taste strawberry smoothies and desserts! ODESSA CITY GARDEN GORSAD

civilians of the friendly southern city, and performing iconic Odessa folklore hits as a over-up? «BEIT GRAND» JEWISH CULTURAL CENTER 79 NEZHYNSKA STREET

MAY 21 AT 7PM Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors

MAY 21 AT 6PM Museum Landscape Night

“Museums and Cultural Landscapes” was the theme proposed by the International Council of Museums (ICOM) to conference participants in 2016. The “Bleschunov House” team is preparing a project throughout the implementation of which we will not only consider the role of the museum in the formation of the cultural environment, but also attempt to find (and if necessary, invent) a set of tools for the creation of such an environment. ODESSA CITY MUSEUM OF THE A. V. BLESCHUNOV PERSONAL COLLECTIONS 19 POLSKA STREET

MAY 21 AT 7PM Odessa Contrabass

Premiering at the “Na Nezhinskoy” theater: The setting is Odessa in the 1960s. Since time immemorial, the profession of “contrabandist” has been a highly dangerous but also very exciting and lucrative one. What should a naïve, small town musician from Berdichev do when he finds himself among a gang of seasoned Odessa contrabandists? How is he going to get out of this mix-up, especially with all the members of the criminal organization pretending to be law-abiding

The iconic masterpiece of Ukrainian literature and cinema is presented as a play. The tragic love story between Ivan and Marichka is at the center of the plot - a heart rending-story which portrays both the powerful love and hatred inherent in humankind. V. S. VASILKO ODESSA ACADEMIC MUSIC AND DRAMA THEATER 15 PASTERA STREET

MAY 22 AT 2PM Balalaika - SAX Project

The “Balalaika-SAX Project” will introduce Odessa to one of the most talented saxophonists of the Russian Academic Schools, laureate of the International Adolf Sachs Award, and president of the Eurasian Saxophonists’ Association, Nikita Zimin. ODESSA LITERARY MUSEUM 2 LANZHERONIVSKA STREET

Odessa Calendar MAY 22 AT 9PM Vera Brezhneva

The beloved Georgian jazz singer and composer presents her new album “Yellow”. Nino Katamadze’s inimitable style, unique energy and impressive talent are undeniable! ODESSA NATIONAL ACADEMIC OPERA AND BALLET THEATER 1 CHAIKOVSKOHO LANE

MAY 25 AT 7PM Teulis

MAY 24 AT 7.30PM Under the Paris Sky “Teulis” is a world-famous shadow theatre which has garnered impressive reactions in many countries. The original combination of high-grade acrobatics, theatrics, optical illusions, an excellent audio accompaniment and mesmerizing video projections has stunned audiences the world over, and now viewers in Odessa will have a chance to enjoy the unique show. V. S. VASILKO ODESSA ACADEMIC MUSIC AND DRAMA THEATER 15 PASTERA STREET

A famous Ukrainian singer, a former member of the girl group “VIA Gra” and one of the most flamboyant performers of the Ukrainian music scene gives a solo concert in Odessa. SADY POBEDY (VICTORY GARDENS) 10 APRIL SQUARE

MAY 24 AT 7PM The Pavel Virsky National Academic Dance Ensemble

This dance collective has performed in over 60 countries all over the world where it not only made Ukraine proud by exhibiting their skill and talent on behalf of the country, but contributed to the development of the world’s dance culture as a whole. The Virsky Ensemble is composed of 100 dancers. MIKHAIL VODYANY ODESSA ACADEMIC MUSICAL COMEDY THEATER 3 PANTELEIMONIVSKA STREET

MAY 24 AT 7PM Nino Katamadze in Concert

Darya Kovtun invites you to spend the evening “Under the Paris Sky”! The Ukrainian songstress with a French charm, was a finalist of the fourth season of “X Factor”. Darya immerses her audience into the French atmosphere of chanson. ODESSA FILM STUDIO 33 FRANTSUZKY BOULEVARD

MAY 25 AT 7 PM Strider. Story of a Horse.

MAY 27 AT 7 PM Marilyn Monroe: Triumph and Agony

MAY 26 AT 9AM The MarketingJazzz Fest 2016

The MarketingJazzz Fest is an annual platform for innovative marketing specialists and proactive entrepreneurs to gather and exchange ideas. The festival traditionally takes

place on the coast of the Black Sea, and this year (which will be its 11th) will be no exception. An all-inclusive option is available to participants.

The A. S. Griboedov Tbilisi National Academic Theater is on tour in Odessa with their interpretation of Lev Tolstoy’s classic tragic novel “Strider”. In 2013, “Strider. Story of a Horse” was awarded the grand prize of the “Golden Knight” XI International Dramatic Arts Forum in Moscow. V. S. VASILKO ODESSA ACADEMIC MUSIC AND DRAMA THEATER 15 PASTERA STREET

klezmer music ensemble in Europe. The trio is signed to the SONY Classical label, which has already released five of the group’s records. Their music enjoys great success, often occupying top spots in European charts for weeks. Referring to their unique style as “chamber world music”, the trio combines klezmer, the classics, pop, and jazz. «BEIT GRAND» JEWISH CULTURE CENTER 79 NEZHYNSKA STREET


MAY 26 AT 7PM David Orlovsky Trio

World premiere of the “Paris-Odessa” program! The David Orlovsky Trio is the leading

This play deals with the most complex and contradictory period of Marilyn Monroe’s life – the time preceding her death. She is at the peak of her fame, but lives her life on display, a constant target of paparazzi cameras. The viewer gets a chance to experience Marilyn’s open and cynical humor, accompany her through moments of love and fame, betrayal and pain – to delve into her complicated inner world. The lead role is played by Ukrainian actress Irma Vitovska. V. S. VASILKO ODESSA ACADEMIC MUSIC AND DRAMA THEATER 15 PASTERA STREET

MAY 27 AT 7PM Odessa Courtyard

An evening of literature and music inspired by the short stories of classic Odessa authors. A large open courtyard with tables set with delicious Odessa-style snacks, pleasant music, talented actors


Odessa Calendar from Odessa theaters and the immortal works of Babel, Katayev, Ilf and Petrov, Gutman, Slavin, Zhvanetsky… Immerse yourself in the true, timeless nature of Odessa – from past, to present, to future with a smile and absolutely invincible Odessa optimism. CULTURE YARD 36 FRANTSUZKYI BOULEVARD

MAY 27 AT 10PM Ibiza Beach Season opening with special guest Ivan Dorn


year. It does not follow the format of conventional IT conferences. The program includes reports by the leading specialists of mobile advertisement and marketing in Eastern Europe, app developers and analytic companies, which will share their unique insight and examples of brand growth through mobile advertising, monetizing of mobile traffic and new methods of mobile marketing. “MARISTELLA” SEASIDE RESIDENCE 2A CHERVONUH ZOR STREET

the result of the directive team’s desire to revive Zorin’s delicate and deeply touching love story which once captivated audiences with the legendary performances of Yulia Borisovna and Mikhail Ulyanov at the Evgeny Vakhtangov Moscow Aademic Theater. N. OSTROVSKY ODESSA YOUNG PERSONS’ THEATRE 48A HRETSKA STREET

MAY 29 AT 7PM Jozef Van Wissem

MAY 28-29 Neighbors

In honor of International Childrens’ Day and International Step-Dancing Day, Aleksey Gilko, Silvetta Ataulina and Aya Perfilyeva present the song and dance step-show “Footmade”! Tango, step, flamenco, modern jazz, eccentricity and clowning, rhythmic dance improvisation – all performed by the best artists of the city, includes performance of Ukraine’s 2016 dance champion, finalist of “Ukraine’s Got Talent” Aleksandr Ostanin! HOUSE OF CLOWNS 23 OLHIEVSKA STREET

MAY 27 AT 8PM Stand-Up with Andrey Volkovintsev & Special Guest

Stand-up comedy is not a new genre, but it is relatively new to Ukraine and only now gaining popularity. Throughout the spring, “Stand-Up Community Odessa” has been familiarizing audiences with various stand-up comedians from different cities. The season will end with a showcase of material from Odessa comics. The winners of May’s “Open Mic” will open the show, and Andrey Volkovintsev (together with a secret guest) will be hosting. TERMINAL 42 44 USPENSKA STREET


The summer beach season opens with a party in one of the city’s best summer night clubs. Ukrainian singer Ivan Dorn will be the special guest of the program. “IBIZA” NIGHT CLUB ARCADIA BEACH

Jozef Van Wissem is an old friend and colleague of Jim Jarmusch, and his unique music can be often heard in the director’s films. Van Wissem received the Cannes Festival award for his work on Jarmusch’s most recent film, “Only Lovers Left Alive”. TERMINAL 42 44 USPENSKA STREET

MAY 27-29 Georgian Film Festival

Inoteatr will host a special program of Georgian short films. Historically, Ukraine has always had a warm relationship with the rich and unique Georgian culture. It is no coincidence that there are many similarities in the modern cinema coming out of both countries – you can see this for yourself at the film festival which will be held at Inoteatr this May. INOTEATR 33 FRANTSUZKY BOULEVARD

This festival will be a unique event in the city’s life - a celebration that the entire family can enjoy. It will feature over 50 activities geared towards ensuring a perfect day off in a nature setting. While the youngest guests can play in the children’s area, their parents can also entertain themselves with various master-classes, trainings and seminars, contests with valuable prizes from event sponsors, visiting the local craft market, participating in both athletic and intellectual competitions, enjoying healthy and delicious food from some of the city’s best restaurants, or simply relaxing and listening to the festival’s featured musical acts.


MAY 29 AT 7PM Warsaw Melody

MAY 28 AT 10AM Mobile Beach Conference

Mobile Beach Conference is the largest mobile marketing conference in Eastern Europe and the hottest mobile event of the


This will be the sixth annual Ukraine-wide, televised “SIMPLY THE BEST” award ceremony which will feature young talents in the “Pop Performer of the Year”, “Model-Girl” and “Model-Boy” nominations. Singer, musician and dancer MONATIK will be the event’s special guest! The show will be judged by a panel of Ukrainian show-business personalities. BONO BEACH CLUB ODESSA 13 ARCADIA BEACH

JUNE 2 AT 7PM Three Sisters Popular theater and film actress and Odessa native Nonna Grishaeva stars in the leading role of “Warsaw Melody”, based on the famous play by Leonid Zorin. The play is

Odessa Calendar This interpretation of “Three Sisters” as a dance drama is a totally new and unexpected synthesis of words, music, and movement – it erases the border between different mediums. One of A. P. Chekhov’s most popular and unique plays has inspired a young creative team to create a choreographed, musical version of the classic. ODESSA REGIONAL ACADEMIC RUSSIAN DRAMA THEATER 48 HRETSKA STREET


JUNE 3 AT 7PM “He is in Argentina”

This is the third annual conference dedicated to the issues of artificial intelligence and big data. Developers will be discussing the technical issues connected to the realization and implementation of various algorithms, new tools and technologies for working with big data and AI structures. Several completed projects will also be presented and lectures will be held about their functionality and inner workings. IMPACT HUB ODESSA 1A HRETSKA STREET

The stellar duet between People’s Artist of Ukraine laureate Tatyana Vasilyeva and the no less talented Olesya Zheleznyak in “He is in Atgentina” will amaze you with its depth and complexity of characters, the confessional, raw truth of life communicated from the stage. The ineffable drama will plunge you into a world of powerful, earnest, and deep emotion; the burning passions contained within a love triangle. The completely unexpected ending adds a touch of detective story with a criminal element. Mikhail Vodyany Odessa Academic Musical Comedy Theater 3 Panteleimonivska Street

JUNE 4 AND 5 AT 2PM Odessa Fruits

JUNE 4 AT 9AM AI&BigData Lab

JUNE 8 AT 4PM “Luxury Wedding”

How would it feel to wake up on the morning of your own wedding just to find a beautiful unknown woman in your hotel room bed? Blundering groom Bill could answer that question, having found himself in just that situation after his bachelor party. There’s another minor complication – Bill’s bride is already putting on her wedding dress in the next room, and can’t wait to see her future husband! Bill’s best friend Tom comes to his rescue by pretending that the beautiful stranger is his girlfriend Judy, who has flown in for the wedding. But what poor Tom doesn’t expect is that the mysterious woman who has been the cause of the entire misadventure really is Judy…


A musical starring Aleksandr Ostanin (three-time step dancing world champion, winner of the first season of “Everybody Dance”, star of “Wings” and “Tap United”), supported by the “Ostanin Dance Center” dance troupe and the theatrical vocal studio “Gelsomi-

JUNE 8-12 AT 7PM Odessa Classics

The festival’s subheading is “Botvinov and Friends”, seeing as the mastermind and creative director behind the festival is Ukraine’s lead pianist, Aleksey Botvinov. The project was brought to life using modern European art-management techniques, with the purpose of revitalizing Odessa’s musical tradition and creating a permanent, annual, cultural “brand” event – a musical festival significant for the cultural life of Odessa and all of Ukraine. The varied and entertaining “Odessa Classics” program is slated to become a tourist attraction for both internal and foreign guests.

JUNE 9 AT 7PM Aleksandr Ponomarev

Odessa’s June weekends are destined to be saturated with entertainment – the 6th season of MBOFD will gather industry professionals, trendsetters, taste-makers and everyone else partial to the fashion world. Ukraine’s most progressive fashion houses will present their cruise collections, and the Odessa Fashion Days Market will provide a wide assortment from the Ukrainian design industry to guests. The festivities will also include the poolside parties which the event has become famous for! Mercedes-Benz Odessa Fashion Days 2016 promises to be the most exciting event of the summer! The event will be held at the following locations: Main stage: Otrada Beach Club, 1 Vitse-Admirala Azarova Lane Opening ceremony: Boutique Hotel “Otrada”, 11 Uytna Street Special events: PARK Residence Club, 85 Frantsuzkiy Boulevard “Caleton” Beach Club, Shampansky Ln., Delfin Beach “FANCY ROOM”, 54/23 FRANTSUZKIY BOULEVARD

JUNE 10 AT 8PM PUR:PUR Band Opens Up Green Theater Summer Series

Aleksandr Ponomarev is a laureate of People’s Artist of Ukraine, a singer, poet, composer, actor, and musical producer. This is Ponomarev’s tour of Ukraine following his grand December concert at the “Ukraine” Sport Palace – don’t miss his June 9th appearance in Odessa!


JUNE 10-12 Mercedes-Benz Odessa Fashion Days

Kharkiv based Eurovision contestants PUR:PUR band will celebrate their 8th birthday by kicking off the Green theater’s summer program. The open air concert in the middle of June promises to be a genuinely fun affair. GREEN THEATER PARK SHEVCHENKO


Odessa News

New Odessa Courses Offer Computer Programming for the Blind Odessa continues to lead the way in terms of IT innovation. The latest development is a new four-month program offering visually impaired Odessites the opportunity to learn how to use JAVA and create mobile device applications. This is the first such initiative in Ukraine. “We want to teach blind persons the basic programming elements with which they will be able implement their own projects,” explained course trainer Dmitry Larin, an Associate Professor of Information Technologies at the Odessa National Academy of Communication. The program will involve lectures and coursework in the special Eclipse program, with audio materials provided to students via email.

“We are faced by two challenges: the first challenge is to provide visually impaired people the chance to master programming and adapt to the fast-changing information society we live in. The second challenge is to give them the skills to gain employment with IT companies,” the officials behind the program commented.

Unique Nautical Odessa Stickers Available on Telegram Messenger The Telegram smartphone messaging platform now offers exclusively Odessan stickers. Unsurprisingly given Odessa’s connections to the Black Sea and maritime industries, these stickers have a strong nautical theme. The new Odessa stickers feature an Odessan icon in a sailor’s cap displaying a range of emotions – winking, smiling, angry, confused, surprised, and so forth. The idea for this novel form of Odessa expression came from Andrey Kurilo – a designer for one of Odessa’s news websites. The idea first appeared in 2015 when the site offered the opportunity to create custom stickers, inspiring Andrey to begin work on an Odessa series. He explains that the concept gained momentum because of the popularity among his Odessan acquaintances of the messaging platform. “At first I drew sketches on paper with a simple pencil. I then molded small busts using plasticine,” the author of the initiative told The Odessa Review. “It was difficult to capture the necessary shades of emotion and in took several days to get it right. We then digitized the photographs and processed them using a graphic editor.” The resulting seaman stickers have proved popular, with over one hundred downloads on the first day alone.


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Odessa News

Odessa Summer Season Extended

The Odessa City Hall has decided to lengthen the traditional Odessa summer season as part of efforts to build on the city’s strong 2015 performance as Ukraine’s leading tourism destination. Summer 2016 officially began on 1 May, with a campaign now running in a range of Ukrainian cities declaring the opening of the summer season. Odessa was Ukraine’s most popular resort in 2015, gener-

ating the second-highest tourist tax revenues behind the capital, Kyiv. This impressive outcome has highlighted the potential for greater incoming tourist revenues from Ukrainians – especially with Crimea under Russian occupation and the weakened national currency making foreign vacations prohibitively expensive for many Ukrainian families. “Odessa boasts a wealth of attractions to surprise guests at any time of the year. You could argue that the holiday season lasts all year round,” commented Tatyana Markova, the Director of Tourism at City Hall. As well as a range of traditional tourist attractions, the Odessa city authorities also plan to highlight the city’s potential as a destination for medical, educational and business tourism, with additional focuses including water sports and fishing. Press tours will mark the start of the summer high season, with journalists from Georgia, France, Belarus, Belgium and Germany invited to spend a few days sampling the delights of Odessa. “Hotel bookings demonstrate that in Q1 of 2016 many foreigners visited Odessa,” shared Svetlana Karlova, the President of the Odessa Tourism Association. She added that the largest numbers of tourists came from America, Estonia and Russia.

Odessa Players Called into Ukrainian National Rugby Squad Seven Odessa players have been included in the Ukrainian national rugby squad for a series of spring encounters within the framework of the European Championship. Ruslan Radchuk, Evgeny Chaika, Roman Kulakivsky, Eduard Vertiletsky, Denis Masyukov, and Vitaly Kramarenko (all from Odessa’s KREDO-1963 rugby club) are joined by Victor Gulenko (Politekhnik Odessa) in the national team squad. On 15 May Ukraine will take on Moldova in Odessa. The match will take place at the Spartak Stadium beginning at 16:00. Admission is free.


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Odessa Metaphysics

France’s Most Divisive Philosophical Debates Arrive In Odessa By Vladislav Davidzon

It is a commonly assumed axiom that the French public loves nothing more than an adroit intellectual duel. Over the past year, attention has focused on the ongoing confrontation between French philosophical heavyweights Bernard-Henri Lévy and Michel Onfray, who are currently clashing over a range of existential issues ranging from the status of French Muslims to Maidan. Onfray recently opened a new front line in the campaign when he appeared in Odessa as part of the annual French Spring cultural festival. The Odessa Review attended to see what he had to say about Ukraine’s revolution, hedonism, separation of church and state, Putin’s hybrid war, and France’s role in the modern world. On April 23rd, the renowned French philosopher Michel Onfray gave a public lecture in Odessa at the Terminal 42 co-working space. Born to a family of Norman farmers, Onfray is now one of the best known, and certainly most popular, philosophers in France. A self described ‘pragmatic anarchist’, he has set up a tuition free university, taught outside of the traditional university system and he routinely sells millions of books. A latter day disciple of the work of Michel Foucault, his thought draws on a wide variety of sources: idealism, French materialism, spiritualism, Kantianism, individualist hedonism, eastern philosophy and anarchism. Having published over a hundred books, he also somehow finds the time that required for


spoke admixture French materialism and liberationist anarchism offered a categorical mélange of categories from which he had cobbled together a taxonomy of radical individualism. He nimbly elided and roamed between ideas and concepts in a free associative and discursive style which will be familiar to anyone who has spent any amount of time reading contemporary French theory. He also devoted a portion of the discussion to speaking about the legacy of Georges Palante, a little known, proto – existentialist, ‘’left- Nietczchian’’, of whose notion of ‘social atheism’ Onfray had encouraged a revival. Onfray is also well known for his commitment to the idea of hedonism, as well as his interest in the history of the Epicurean school of thought. During his appearance he explained the distinction he sees between ‘vulgar’ hedonism and the ‘authentic’ variant. Afterward, an earnest student from the audience inquired of what he

Philosopher Michel Onfray opens new front in his duel with Bernard-Henri Lévy duel with controversial appearance in Ukrainian Black Sea capital his political activism and continuous television appearances. The anchoring subject of the talk was a recently published book that had just been translated into Ukrainian. The event was structured as a conversation between himself and his translator, and included customary references to Georges Bataille, Marquis de Sade and Sarte. Onfray’s be-

meant exactly with his usage of the word ‘hedonist’, explaining that in Ukraine the concept had negative connotations and that a hedonist was actually a mirror image of the anti-social ‘marginal’, and so something of a social parasite. ‘What is your

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position and what is the program you are advocating?’’ reiterated the young man. Onfray responded to the question by proffering a slightly more expanded definition of philosophical hedonism. The concept did not turn out to be very complex. The vulgar kind of hedonism was a form of consumerism, which included buying art if one did not understand it, owning an expensive car or having a very big house. As an example, he postulated Chinese mafiosi and Russian oligarchs buying their way through Europe with avaricious consumerist tastes. ‘Vulgar hedonism is always connected to the desire objects’ and the sort of hedonism that Onfray practiced was rooted in the partaking in the simpler things in life. Authentic philosophical hedonism, the philosopher informed included sitting with a beautiful girl in a park and looking at her smile, taking pleasure in the sunlight. (Which however ironically, is a definition which is somewhat more puritanical than Epicurean). A local academic philosopher in his late fifties, who identified himself to the audience as a professor of religious studies (he humorously underlined that he had once taught the same class in the Atheism studies department) explained slyly to Onfray that he had just finished reading the book and that he was surprised that book on the theme of hedonism and atheism barely mentioned the name of Karl Marx and inquired why this was so. Onfray responded to the question with a fluent recital of the traditional position of Feurbach’s thesis in the history of scientific atheism, but for the most part he and the professor seemed to be speaking past each other. In the middle of a former Soviet city, he did not explain why he had written a book about ‘social atheism’ while avoiding mentioning the historical context that the local philosopher had grown up with. The evening did not end without overt controversy however. Bruce Leimisdor,

professor of immigration and asylum Law at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, who is currently a guest professor at the Odessa Law Academy, and who resides in Paris, offered a criticism of the philosopher’s dichotomy between atheism and religion. This was done, he explained, in view of the urgent social and legal situation in France caused by religiously inspired terrorism.

but many to speak of, with the implication that to discuss the matter was to carry on the risk of making essentialist and generalized statements. Mr. Onfray also directed the question about the terrorist situation in France and the place of Laïcité inexplicably into a discussion of the difference between ‘diasporic Judaism’ and the Judaism practiced in Israel. This was an odd direction to take as

Vulgar hedonism is always connected to the desire objects’ and the sort of hedonism that Onfray practiced was rooted in the partaking in the simpler things in life Such a dichotomy avoids the institution of laïcité. Specifically, this was a response to the Onfray’s assertions that there exist no substantial differences between Christianity, Judaism and Islam, Leimisdor brought up the issue of laïcité and what he asserted was its rejection by Islam. Islam’s inability to accept secularism and the separation of religion and state becomes an issue of acute importance. Laïcité, it should be noted, remains a semi sacred principle in France. Leimisdor pointed out that it is defended even by the most pious French Catholics and French Jews, and is the key question facing integration of Muslims in France today. In this reading, failure of any organized religion to accept laïcité opens the door to politicization of religion and thus to religiously based violence. To that question, Mr. Onfray seemed to have no answer. His response was to deflect the question by giving a long discourse on the history of religious violence in the West. He also went on to point out, with questionable relevance to the discourse at hand, the distinction between ethnic and universal religions. Judaism for him was from the very beginning a nationalist religion, thus a theocracy, but one that he underlined, had had no imperialist orientation in it’s classical form. Onfray further maintained that there was not one Islam,

Leimisidor’s posed a very specific and very contemporary question concerning the political and cultural situation in Europe, in the midst of organized political violence, and included no referent whatsoever to the history of comparative religion, or contemporary politics in the Middle East. Circling the issue, Onfray nonetheless acknowledged that he believed that from a private point of view, Muslims could accept laïcité, but it would become impossible when it became transformed into a political project. Under such circumstances, Islam would become a theocracy. He defended Islam in a roundabout way by saying that there are some Muslims who accept laïcité, but that no claim could be made of the acceptance of laïcité by major schools of Islam. It looked like he wanted to avoid any criticism of Islam and viewed such arguments as specious, a possible neo- colonialist manifestation of French chauvinism against its Muslim minorities. In any case, Onfray maintained that any assertions of French liberalism would be, according to his worldview, entirely false. The Catholic Church, he ventured, still hold’s a prominent position in French


Odessa Metaphysics society and it does not accept laïcité. He claimed that the church had never really been tamed in France until very recent times, and still plays an outsized part in French public life. From this argument follows the insinuation that there is no real republican separation of church and state in France, merely a veil for religious rule held by the religion of the native majority. Leimisidor’s response to this point was that this was a completely false argument: When, two years ago, France was voting on institutionalizing same sex marriage, no amount of fervent protestation by the Catholic Church in France has any sort of impact on the debate or its outcome. This sort of respect for republican values is encoded in the DNA of the French nation. No satisfactory denouement to the argument ever came. Onfray’s answers to hard questions were evasive. The audience would be forgiven for being flummoxed by the hybrid interview/debate that it had just witnessed. Onfray made very little allowance for the local context or the grounding capacity needed to understand his philosophical language and positions. The final result was neither a rigorous lesson

do much to demonstrate the logical connections between his positions. He seemed to be directing his commentary at people who already agreed with his positions apriori. Other than offering a rare opportunity for Odessan students to observe a particularly rare bird of paradise in flight, the afternoon was disappointing in that it represented a lost opportunity for a more stimulating and thorough engagement. The interview that follows this essay was conducted by the French novelist Sophie Schulze. The special interest of her intervention for a Ukrainian audience must surely lie with her questioning Onfray on his views on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as well as his opinion of the political commitments of fellow French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy. Last autumn, the French intellectual world was shaken by the frenetic public duel between the two philosophers. Onfray considers Lévy’s liberal interventionism and his steering of France into taking military action in Libya, to have been a catastrophic and deadly mistake. He is also generally disdainful of Lévy’s other political commitments. These include Lévy’s

Only the best-prepared Ukrainian philosophy students would have gotten very much out of the presentation of his ideas and the ensuing debate in philosophical method nor a sustained inquiry into a single issue, but rather a fairly per-functionary summary of a series of positions and themes he has developed over his three decade’s long career. He had come to discuss materialism in a country that had seen a 70% currency collapse in two years. Well understood by many in France, only the best-prepared Ukrainian philosophy students would have gotten very much out of the presentation of his ideas and the ensuing debate. Onfray seemed to be mechanically repeating things that he had been saying for years, without relying too much on a technical armature and did not


stolid, unremitting and committed defense of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and place in the European order. Lévy’s muscular liberalism has been fully on the side of Ukraine’s right to make its own decisions on which direction to take. Lévy has made half a dozen trips to Ukraine over the last two years, spoken at the Maidan and performed his play Hotel Europa in Odessa, Kyiv and Lviv. Onfray is a committed ‘anti-Imperialist’ of a particular leftist French school of anti-Americanism which calls for Ukraine to take a non - aligned ‘third way’ between Russia and Europe. He is skeptical of what he perceives as a hegemonic Western narrative about the conflict. This is a

position that is genealogically descended from anti-colonial third worldism. In this interview, Onfray proclaims himself to be against what he perceives to be the authoritarianism of Russian president Putin, but also claims that the issues surrounding de-communization and the annexation of the Crimean peninsula are ‘complicated’. Onfray reminds us that his position is reminiscent of the principled refusal to take the side of either the Soviet Union or the United States by people like Albert Camus - himself a noted philosopher hedonist - at the height of the cold war. Camus is of course the figure who charted a middle course between Raymond Aron (‘since I must choose, I will choose the United States’’) and the Soviet Union supporting existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre. Lévy on the other hand is the author of ‘Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism’, a book in which he charts the dark relationship between the anti-liberal, anti-Western, anti-American and anti-Semitic opinions held by large portions of the French left. He is clearly the liberal Raymond Aron in this story (though this is clearly a reductionist analogy; students of French intellectual history will know that relations between Aron and the young Lévy were complex). Onfray’s answer to the question of whether Lévy is correct in his proclamations that Ukraine is Europe is a resounding ‘’No’’. For him ‘’this is the American thesis, and it represents an Americanized Ukraine of improvisation and McDonalds’’. It should be obvious to any right thinking person that any idea or argument shared by Americans is surely malevolent and wrong. This answer evokes the ‘buffer zone’ arguments of those who advance the great power ‘spheres of influence’ thesis, and Onfray must surely understand that his position is very welcome in the Kremlin. It is ironic that Onfray, a man of self-described ‘anti–imperialist’ sympathies, would resort to the arguments of resurgent neo- cold war rhetoric in his opposition to the new cold war between Russia and the West. Whether Onfray will be vindicated as a farsighted and sagacious modern Camus, or recalled as a well-meaning, but ultimately complicit fellow traveling Jean-Paul Sartre, is up to history – and the reader to decide.

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Interview with French Philosopher Michel Onfray By Sophie Schulze

Michel Onfray is widely acknowledged to be one of France’s most prominent thinkers. A self described ‘Anarchist Hedonist’ he is an original and important philosopher who has worked within multiple domains of Continental and French philosophy. He is also an active political commentator who holds strong opinions on matters of geopolitics. This interview with him was conducted in Odessa by the French novelist Sophie Schulze immediately after his talk at the Terminal 42 venue in Odessa. Some of the views Onfray expresses here are fairly controversial and in some of his comments (especially those dealing with the issue of the annexation of the Crimean peninsula) mirror what are now widely discredited Kremlin narratives that have fueled the conflict in Ukraine.

pay back the people who have been helping us out. OR: So, until now, this has been a rather unpleasant experience for you...

Odessa Review: You have not been in Odessa for long. However, as a “hedonistic philosopher’’, maybe you can tell us already if you are enjoying the city? Michel Onfray.: Listen, I’m here with my partner, who got robbed of her purse yesterday. We spent the whole time here at the police station getting our papers in order. So I haven’t seen much. And we have to take the train tonight. We met up with some people at the train station to get duplicate papers. We are unable to even withdraw money with our credit cards to

MO: No, it’s just one person. I’m not going to blame an entire city for the misdeed of one individual. The little bit I’ve seen, it felt like a mix of looseness and seriousness. We’ve been treated to pleasant venues and good food, got to see some beautiful things. People seem to be happy. But I think there must be vast disparities. I get the feeling there’s a very western, westernized part, but when you look out the window, it’s not all that you see. There’s also a hidden city that I haven’t seen. Though I’ve seen that it does exist. OR: During your lecture you outlined the link between philosophy and autobiography. So what was it that made you, personally, want to come to Odessa? What does this city represent for you? MO: Well, just the name is legendary, for a start. One doesn’t know much concrete about it. Kyiv, Odessa, these are names that remain in the realm of the mythical. That said, I’ve been translated in to thirty or so languages, and I always give a positive answer to invitations to travel abroad.

In this case it’s Andreï, my translator, who took it upon himself to translate my work. He’s not getting paid much for this translation work. The publisher is taking all the risks. So since I know they’ve been putting that much work into it, I feel like it’s my duty to come here and meet with the readers. A book is a team effort. Of course, I wrote it. But it’s also being translated, published, distributed to the bookstores. So I think it’s only normal that I should answer such invitations. Firstly, that is on an intellectual level. I also want to meet people, to understand their world directly. People have spoken a lot about the Maïdan, about Ukraine. These discussions are often very much politicized in France. So it makes you want to meet people to be able to make up your own opinion directly. OR: Speaking of politics, I don’t know if you’ve heard that the city just launched a de-Sovietization, or de-Decommunization campaign. For example, the street names are being changed. What do you think of this way of relating to the past? MO: For my part, I’ve seen that de-Sovietization works first and foremost inside of people’s heads. It is not by demolishing


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buildings, knocking down Lenin’s statues, or changing costumes, that one’s going to change half a century of impregnation. It all happens inside the head. And I happen to think that it can only be possible

first theft. So indeed, it’s obvious there’s a sort of mob involved here. Not everyone

I’ve seen that de-sovietization works first and foremost inside of people’s heads through educating the youth, maybe also the seniors, but to do that you need to really make some history. You need to explain what the Soviet Union really was like, what Stalin’s grip over Ukraine meant. You have to remake history, I mean really do it. Personally I see the Soviet Union everywhere here, in the guise of bureaucracy. I knew the Soviet Union a little bit, as I lived there for three weeks forty years ago and I now again I see what I saw back then. That is everything is falling apart, the elevators don’t work, you’re in the bath and the pipes suddenly blow up in your face, the carpets are stained etc... Indeed one gets the feeling that the Soviet page hasn’t been quite turned yet. This morning, in order to get a refund for these tickets, I had to make duplicates of the stolen tickets. While we’ve lost everything, all our papers, our credit cards, our passports, our train tickets to get back to Kiev tonight. And then instead of saying ‘’Of course, we’ll help you out’’, it’s just ‘no’! On top of it, there are no seats left in the train, although I was travelling with my partner. So you can in effect buy new tickets to get in, except you’ve lost your seats. And they wouldn’t do anything about it until I got mad. In French, of course. So that people would calm down a bit. And so as if by chance we were then able to buy the two tickets. But still we had to buy new ones. So first, you get robbed, then you get robbed a second time by other people that won’t recognize the


ends up losing. De-Sovietizing would also mean changing that. It’s not only renaming streets. OR: In your lecture you've identified yourself as a non-Marxist hedonist. What would be, then, a Marxist hedonism? MO: There is no such thing as a Marxist hedonism. Marxism is the opposite of hedonism. It’s austerity for everyone, except for a few regime apparatchiks who still gets caviar, good wine, girls, luxury cars, beautiful houses etc… Marxism is an anti-hedonism and one should fight it as much as one should fight American consumerism. OR: Ukraine finds itself at an important, a strategic crossroad, at this point in its history. On the one hand the old communism stands firm, and on the other hand part of Ukraine is fighting to obtain membership into the circle of liberal democracy. And so during your lecture you were speaking about the lies of liberal democracy. What are these lies that Ukraine should be wary of? MO: The lies that liberal democracies are telling is that ‘’freedom means freedom for everyone, and that prosperity means prosperity for everyone.” The truth is that a few enjoy freedom, and a few do prosper. The truth is that not everyone is getting rich, this is a pauperized society. That is the rich get ever richer and fewer, and the poor get ever poorer and more numerous. You only have to look around everywhere liberalism rules. We’ve been sold this idea that freedom means enabled consumption everywhere and for everyone, but

then we realized that it’s not true, that it only makes it possible for those who actually have the means to consume. One should tell people who think liberal Europe is paradise that it is also hell. OR: You said that as an anarchist you stood with those who are subjected to power. Does that mean that intellectuals should support Ukraine’s aspiration to independence? MO: No, I think intellectuals should do whatever they want. Everyone chooses their fight. Intellectuals are very diverse in France, there are people such as BernardHenri Levy, Luc Ferry, Alain Badiou, Rancière, André Comte-Sponville. These are all people with extremely diverse positions. I think it’s in Ukraine’s best interest to be neither Western nor Russian. To be whatever it wants to be. That is to pave its own way, by reclaiming an identity that doesn’t need to lean either to the side of Washington or to Moscow. One should say what one wishes and what one wants to say. I have always thought it a pity to present people with simplistic alternatives such as either the Soviet Union or the United States. In the 50’s this attitude caused a great many intellectuals to say stupid things. Great intellects like Sartre have been massacred by saying such things. Even Raymond Aron, who said: ‘If I must choose, I choose the United-States’. Since a choice has to be made, I’m choosing the Soviet Union, countered Sartre. But Camus said no to both sides. It’s a difficult position to hold, since it gets you enemies everywhere. But meanwhile it’s the one free position. Today everybody’s saying Sartre was wrong and Camus was right. I think Ukraine’s destiny doesn’t lie with Russia, nor with western Europe. Ukraine’s destiny is in Ukraine. OR: So you disagree with the position Bernard- Henri Levy defended two years ago, when he performed his play ‘Hotel Europa’’ in Odessa, before it premiered in Paris?

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MO: I do. It’s the American position for an Americanized Ukraine. That means impoverishment, the rule of the market. It’s what we’re used to, McDonalds everywhere, big cars for people who can afford them, poverty and impoverishment for those who can’t. OR: So then maybe we might say that, visiting this city, one feels like being in Prague before the Americans turned up? MO: Very early this morning, I studied what the countryside I was going through looked like. Entering Odessa, you see shabby, filthy buildings falling apart and people living in shacks. You can’t escape the poverty. And it’s obvious what liberalism would produce in this configuration. I don’t think people would make it. You’ve got a taste of that with people that can’t afford a visa to come to France, although they are working people. So that is liberalism. OR: Since you are a free spirit, what do you think about the way the French media presents Putin’s Russia these days? MO: They chose one of two ways to present them. Some say that it is the devil, some say that it is God. Since I don’t believe in either God nor the devil, I’m looking at who does what, who proposes what, who are the agents, to try to understand who Putin really is. But it’s not an easy thing to know. OR: How would you describe Russia? As a dictatorship, an authoritarian regime, something else in nature? MO: It’s a mix of authoritarianism, dictatorship and mafia. Obviously. It’s not normal when journalists are shot in the streets, or when political opponents and feminists get criminalized and jailed. That is the opposite of democracy. That seems obvious. It is an autocratic, dictatorial

regime, with a muzzled press and a civil society dominated by the political order. OR: Don’t you think that given the great importance that Islam has come to take in the French debate, there is consequently a tendency to minimize what’s happening on Europe’s eastern border, matters related to Ukraine or Russia? MO: You are absolutely right about that. Nowadays in France there are only three

what’s at stake. They don’t know if Putin invaded Ukraine, or if Crimea was part of Ukraine or not. There’s a huge ignorance about these matters. OR: And did it affect you? What were your thoughts when you learned that Crimea became Russian, along with great cities likes Sevastopol or Yalta, that are not at all excluded from the collective unconscious? MO: I must confess I still haven’t understood. How come it happened the way it did? How come nobody reacted? Why is that Ukraine didn’t react? Why did Eu-

that doesn’t need to lean either to the side of Washington or Moscow important matters: the presidential election, Marine Le Pen’s relative influence, and Islam. If you watch the news, that’s all they’re about. All the time. OR: These are three related matters, one might add MO: Yes, in some ways, you are right. For one thing, the French aren’t interested in international strategy, or in global politics. People are so deeply ignorant when it come to geography. They live under a kind of media perfusion. They spend about three and a half hours per day in front of their television, on average. And they rarely tune into an intelligent channel. Well I don’t even think there actually is one intelligent channel. So it’s difficult to make up one’s own opinion. Today all one’s got is the dominant French media view on politics or on Ukraine. One day they broadcast something about the Maidan. But the day after they will have moved on to something else, for example someone in the Balkans, who stole money from his constituency. That’s become news. And the next day brings something new. I think people don’t know where Ukraine is. They don’t know where to put it on a map. They are utterly ignorant of

rope not react? Why did the United States not react? It all happened so fast, just like that and Crimea became Russian. Why has Crimea become Russian? One would want to know, to understand, but then one tells oneself that one just does not have all the cards to understand. I read an article by Hélène Carrère d’Encausse in Le Figaro. And I told myself, here’s a different voice. She’s more or less saying that Crimea had always been Russian anyway so that’s not a problem. But I don’t think that’s so simple. For example, Normandy used to be an independent duchy, so it should be one again because it once was. But that’s not a reason. The fact that one land was part of another country at one time isn’t proof that it should be part of it again. I’d rather have arguments to think this situation clearly. But the more I talk to people, the more I get confused.

Sophie Schulze is a French novelist who lives in Paris. She has written about Martin Heidegger and Hannah Arendt.


Odessa Politics

For Whom The Bell Tolls – The Broad Church Of Reform In Ukraine by Nick Holmov

“never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.” - Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII: Nunc Lento Sonitu Dicunt, Morieris, John Donne (1572 – 1631) The previously covert and low intensity war between the entrenched interests of the post-Soviet Ukrainian system, who for the past two post-revolutionary years had bided their time, and those that came of age during the revolution, has finally broken out into the open. Battle openly rages as the old guard sees weakness and limited ambition for reform among the national political hierarchy. They have now openly taken the fight to the crusading reformers. It is a battle that will rage openly for the next six–eight months, for that is as long as Ukraine can survive without IMF assistance. This lifeline is likely to be withheld until the fog of political war lifts. Although this battle may therefore have a foreseeable shelf life, the war of which it is a part will continue for many years to come. The lack of political ideology and absence of will to reform within the highest circles of national leadership and across the parliamentary parties and factions spectrum is now laid bare. A reader may rightly ponder just how long reformist, anti-corruption, and democracy advocates such as Mustafa Nayem, Serhiy Leshchenko, and numerous others of similar ideology and moral fortitude, can remain within their parties and political factions and retain their integrity and perceived moral high ground. Clearly, it seems that removing them in a similar manner to Messrs Nikolai Tomenko


and Egor Firsov under Article 81 of the Constitution of Ukraine (a party/faction loyalty clause) is currently seen as far too problematic given their high domestic and international profiles – at least for now. Yet if the leading reformist parliamentarians left their current political homes, how many other morally upright and ethically sound new MPs would follow them? Would there be enough to cripple any faction or party, thus perhaps forcing elections far sooner than the anticipated parliamentary collapse in Autumn 2016/Spring 2017? Should the reformers leave their political parties and factions en masse? Would it have sufficient resonance to change Western minds regarding early parliamentary elections? The key question is not only when this eventuality will finally occur, but also where the reformers would go. For those newly minted reformist parliamentarians, the “when” will depend upon whether they are subjected to Article 81 of the Constitution of Ukraine and thus exiled from their parties, or whether their moral code forces them to leave voluntarily. Or, perhaps, the confirmation of the timing of early parliamentary elections would provide a platform to depart from their current berths. The reform-orientated parliamentarians can have little faith in retaining any given a position on any party list under the proportional representation system now

The Odessa Review’s political columnist, Nikolai Holmov 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. that law 3700 has become statute. This new statute, to go to the extremes, theoretically provides that a political party can stuff the top half of its party list with reformers that have traction with the public. They can then fill the bottom half with odious hangovers from post-Soviet oligarchic politics. Once the Central Election Commission has recognised the ballot result, they can then strike down the reformers en masse, leaving the seats to be filled by the loathsome – all quite lawfully. As it is normally easier to effect change from the inside rather than the outside, most will try and remain where they currently are for as long as possible.

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The question of where the reformers would go is somewhat unclear, particularly for those that have already left or been expelled from their political parties and now sit as independents, having avoided political death under Article 81 of the Constitution that befell Messrs Nikolai Tomenko and Egor Firsov. Some may decide to remain within their current party structures and fight the fight

Governor, it is now broadly associated with him. That said, the Governor may create his own entity, for the Movement for Cleaning is not internally designed to accommodate the leadership model, nor style, that the Governor requires, for it operates on the horizontal rather than vertical in its decision making. Perhaps any number of the ‘reformer High Chamberlains’ will create their own entities. The reformist church is not short

Genuine democracy and rule of law reformers they may all be, yet their final designs are quite different with regard to the contemporary, modern state they want to build they believe to be right from within the bellies of those political parties and/or factions. Others may gravitate out from their current political parties to others more aligned with their vision for Ukraine. For example, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that some in Block Poroshenko or the People’s Front would be drawn to Samopomich – this despite Samopomich already having excommunicated the outstanding Hanna Hopko, a national reformist icon. Some might head for the NGO turned political party Democratic Alliance. It was an outstanding NGO, part financed by Carnegie, with many of its members subsequently trained in local governance, law and civil activism. Had it not been for the internal decision to move from being an NGO to a political party at the height of the Yanukovych brutality towards civil society in order to claim political repression in case if should it be targeted, it would still remain one of the best NGOs in Ukraine, rather than one of the least known political parties. A political party to join or co-opt for the icons of Ukrainian reform, perhaps? Maybe the Movement for Cleaning now associated with Governor Saakashvili will move from being a political movement to become a political party. Although this entity predates any involvement from the Odessa

of individual reformist icons but it lacks an overarching roof and strong reformist institutions. There are several other already established reformist possibilities that may directly enter the political fray too, but the point has been made – The church of reform in Ukraine is a broad church indeed, yet it is comprises of reformist High Chamberlains, individual icons and a diverse congregation. There are other issues to consider aside from the current individual reform icons and the personality clashes that may occur under one political reformist church roof. These are also more fundamental issues within the reformist congregation and their constituent groups that internal and external punditry of Ukraine seems to politely choose to ignore, or is simply ignorant of. Reform is a broad church in Ukraine, and thus has its schisms over the interpretation of its scripture. How to reconcile the genuine reformers of the political left with those genuine reformers of the political right if a cohesive, effective and robust reform political entity is to emerge in a fight for wider constituency support? Genuine democracy and rule of law reformers they may all be, yet their final designs are all quite different with regard to the contemporary, modern state that they want to build. A common desire to vanquish

the demons of post-Soviet Ukraine may be a shared goal, but can they remain solid under a single reform roof long enough to put in place the required reform mechanisms, without falling from grace over the future paths of such mechanisms? Can the High Chamberlains, individual icons, political left and political right of Ukrainian reform, all worship and spread the reformist gospel from under the same roof at all, despite their equally genuine reformist DNA? It is very lazy thinking and pitiful analysis to lump them all together as a homogeneous reformist church that will have no internal weaknesses and schisms, but that will simply blaze a robust path out of the darkness and into the light for Ukraine to follow. Perhaps they can all gather under the same reformist roof, and perhaps not – but it will be problematic. The concept of reform common among all associated actors, icons and groups may be a cross cutting cleavage that unites them all – but would it be enough given many other differences? If it is enough, then for how long would it be enough? There is a clear need, and it will undoubtedly occur, for a reformist political party dedicated to the reformist scripture to contest the next parliamentary elections, be they in autumn 2016 or spring 2017. The open question is perhaps how many reformist parties there will be. Under one roof it would seem likely the reformist church would sacrifice itself upon its own alter within two years (maximum). Alternatively, too many reform-worshipping but separate churches will play into the hands of the established Grey Cardinals of post-Soviet Ukrainian politics. Whatever the outcome will be, the next question that would need to be answered for any successful truly reformist party/parties is with which other political entities they would join in any coalition – either in power or opposition – to prevent the Holy Grail taking on the appearance of a poisoned chalice. Meanwhile, there will be political and institutional casualties during the remainder of the year as the overt battle between reformers and the old guard is fought. It remains to be seen who they will be, for “never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”


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Boris Lozhkin On His New Book “The Fourth Republic” By Oleksandr Suslenskyi

An Interview with the Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine


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A former journalist and media mogul in his own right, Boris Lozhkin is the powerful and unusually discreet head of Petro Poroshenko’s presidential administration. Known for being a canny operator who preferred to keep out of the limelight, and only rarely gave interviews, the recent prominence of his public profile represents a real shift. This conversation took place between Lozhkin and the publisher of, Oleksandr Suslenskyi. It originally appeared in Russian in that magazine magazine. The conversation was conducted before the final composition of Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman’s cabinet was announced on April 14th, 2016, a fact which is reflected in the tenor of some of the comments. He himself was rumored to have been offered the job. It also took place after Lozhkin published , his recent book on Ukrainian politics. In his speech at the book’s presentation, Lozhkin stated that “Working on the book gave me an opportunity to look beyond the horizon, it allowed me to clearly understand what has already been done and what still needs to be done to make our country into a successful European nation’’. Oleksandr Suslenskyi: Boris, how was the idea for the book born, and what was the main goal you set for yourself in writing it? Boris Lozhkin: During my first year of serving in the presidential administration, I participated in many discussions about Ukraine, its strategy and the reforms necessary for building a European country on par with other EU nations. By the end of that first year, I had gained knowledge and experience that I can, without hesitating, call in-

dispensable and unique. I felt a need to share this knowledge – and that is how the idea for the book came about. The book’s main purpose is to answer the question stated in its own subheading: why does Europe need Ukraine, and why does Ukraine need Europe? The book deals with the idea that Ukraine not only should, but must be a participant in European affairs. Our country cannot become a failed state. It is not the source of Europe’s problems, on the contrary, it contains the solutions to many of them. I want to prove that Ukraine has a future, to show my personal vision of that future, and to explain what exactly is being done (and remains to be done) to make this future a reality.

goal of the “Fourth Republic” is building a modern government and powerful economy, as well as securing the consolidation and continued functioning of Ukrainian democracy. OS: The book was written with the participation of the journalist Vladimir Fedorin… BL: I believe that Vladimir is one of the best editors in Ukraine. He is a great journalist, although he definitely considers himself more of an editor. On the one hand, he is a person with very liberal views; on the other, I think he is nevertheless a realist. He tries to establish a realistic structure, to find systems which actually work instead of participating in fault finding without suggesting any sort of concrete solutions – something which is unfortunately very prevalent today with radically-minded people. The book has

The most important lesson I learned during my government service is that Ukraine’s true wealth is in its people OS: In your opinion, what possible role could your book play in today’s society? BL: First and foremost, I want to initiate a sincere conversation about the radical transformation Ukraine is undergoing right now. This is an invitation to discuss both government and society. I believe that Ukraine is ready for a new social contract – something we need drastically. We must reassess the role government plays in society, the role business plays in society, the role citizens play in society – we must find a balance which takes into account everybody’s interests. As of today, I believe that this balance is disrupted in Ukraine, and this is a big reason for the turbulence the country is going through. I would say that the main

been published, and I hope that it will foster a healthy discussion of ideas, not of personalities. Volodya and I share this hope. OS: Has there already been criticism? BL: Criticism is more important to us right now than any possible compliment. OS: Over the past two years, life in this country has changed drastically. What lessons have you personally been able to extract from this difficult period?


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BL: I learned how to multitask better, how to fill every day, hour, and even minute simultaneously. To retain an enormous number of goals, sometimes contradictory ones, in my mind and somehow find a way to achieve every one of them. This period was truly the most difficult in my life, both for myself and my family – and during this time I also began to appreciate them more. I realized that, regretfully, I had not made very much time for them during those two years. OS: What is your appraisal of the work that has been done over this period? BL: Our foremost achievement has been maintaining the country even at the level of cohesion it has now, because in 2014 we faced the significant risk of the destruction of Ukraine. We have been able to hold the government apparatus together, albeit with a lot of struggle and pain. I can’t say that right now we have a very “responsive” government, but at least the apparatus itself has been preserved. In the span of the months of August to September 2014 one could often hear talk of how Russia has given us an “expiration date” of no later than November or December. The next phase came in the spring of 2015, but, as we can clearly see now, our detractors have not achieved very much. We have been able to launch a series of reforms, some of which were successfully carried out. OS: Still, the opinion that nothing is changing can be heard frequently today. BL: Nevertheless, things are changing. The problem is elsewhere: there is a very high threshold of expectation. And I understand this well, I myself tend to place high expectations on others and on myself. If you were to ask me wether I satisfied with what the government has achieved during this time, my answer would be a resounding “No!” But when comparing Ukraine now with Ukraine two years ago, it is impossible not to notice the significant difference. Starting


with the complete overhaul of anti-corruption legislation which is set to go into action and start producing results soon, all the way to the National Bank reforms through which over 80 banks associated with illegal or dubious operations have been eliminated from the market. This had to be done – that is the way banks in the European Union treat these issues. I believe that the team in charge of conducting the bank reforms is one of our most efficient teams. You know, as they say, good deeds are soon forgotten. OS: What about the exchange restrictions? It would be hard to call this a reform. BL: I have discussed this issue with the head of the National Bank several times. I believe

and reforms meant to bring the country closer to Europe to be implemented sooner – and also to make sure that they are received well in the society? BL: We need to strive towards transparency in government and political competition, towards the possibility of an open competition of ideas and political forces. Only then will Ukraine be able to walk the path that other countries in Central Europe have walked. Think of Poland, for example. In the 1990’s, it passed through a very difficult political struggle – a struggle that in some ways persists to this day.

Working in the Presidential Administration is a lot like serving in the army that if the exchange restrictions are not lifted in a sufficiently brief period of time, then economic progress ceases being a possibility, to say nothing of foreign investments. The situation in 2014 was that Ukraine simply had no money. There was no opportunity to attract any investments, the only opportunity was the IMF and consequently, everything that comes with dealing with the IMF. The IMF, as a condition of their cooperation, imposes certain restrictions. We have moved past this low point – now we must find a way out of this situation. OS: Currently, the political crisis connected to the formation of a new Cabinet of Ministers is ongoing in the country. Speaking generally, what has to happen in Ukrainian politics, in order for the plans

We are still embroiled in the process. It is of utmost importance for us to have strategically sound decisions which are also realistically implementable. It is also quite obvious that the reforms be accelerated. I am hopeful that after the new Cabinet of Ministers is formed we will be able to implement a rate of reforms which will be consistent with the public’s desires and expectations.

Odessa Architecture

The Kirche

Illustration by Alex Noio

The Kirche The Lutheran Church of St. Paul Address Year Architect Style

68 Novoselskogo St. 1824 Herman Scheurembrandt Gothic and Romanesque

In 1824 the foundation for the first Kirche was laid, but the construction collapsed in June of the same year. The Church of St. Paul was completed and consecrated here only three years later. A strong earthquake occurred in 1838 which resulted in serious damage to the church. In 1839, the church council passed a decision regarding capital repairs of the building. The reconstruction effort was led by German architect Herman Scheurembrandt. By 1897, the edifice of the new Kirche was

completed and consecrated. At nearly 50 meters, the church’s steeple was at that time the tallest tower in the city. Since the church was also located at the highest plateau in Odessa, virtually the entire city could be surveyed from the top of the tower. After the October Revolution, the church was consecutively used as a TV station, transferred to the Communications Institute, and turned into a gymnasium. These transformations led not only to the physical

destruction of the building, but a total desecration of the church. On the night of May 9th, 1976 the cathedral was destroyed in a large fire (presumed to be arson). It was reborn, yet again, in 2010. The organ was donated to the Church of St. Paul by the Lutheran community of the Church of the Holy Cross in Nuremberg. The organ has 27 registers and was manufactured by the famous “Steinmeyer” factory in Bavaria.


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How Can We Return the Richters to Ukraine? By Ute Kilter

How can we reclaim the name of a musician such as Sviatoslav Richter? While it is true that many musicians as equally renowned as the great pianist rose to fame in Moscow, nevertheless, their roots lie in Ukraine. The year 2015 marked the 100th anniversary of Sviatoslav Richter’s birth. Richter’s native city did not let the moment pass by. All over Odessa, TV specials, exhibits, concerts, and lectures were held. Even Bruno Monsaingeon – the legendary creator of the classic documentary “Richter Unconquered” and author of the book “Richter. Dialogues. Diaries.” graced the city with his presence for the occasion. However, in times past, Odessans had to travel all the way to the Moldovan capital of Chisinau to hear Richter – as it was common knowledge that he would never appear in Odessa. This certainty was a result of the crisis of that era, a striving to annihilate anything that was not Russian – and especially everything that was German – which came in the wake of the

In Odessa, he was acclaimed not only as the organist at the Old Kirche, but also as a teacher at the conservatory and a solo performer German advance during WWII. Sviatoslav Richter’s own father was executed for being a German. Still, despite his understandably obstinate oath to “never” return, Richter always maintained a sincere attachment to his city – the city where he grew up, studied, and first became a musician. Theophilus Richter was a dyed-in-the-


wool German – German and French was spoken more often in his home than Russian. In Odessa, he was acclaimed not only as the organist at the Old Kirche, but also as a teacher at the conservatory and a solo performer. While his admirers saw his genius, the new Soviet professors had quite a strong distaste for him – going as far as legitimate persecution. Richter was

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surrounded by scandal and rumors which led to him eventually being forced to resign from his position at the conservatory. He continued to play at the Kirche and give private lessons – the German ambassador’s son being one of his many pupils. Sviatoslav Richter recalls his father with devoted affection – especially understandable since his father was his very first teacher. Prior to World War II, German colleges were not uncommon in Odessa, and Richter graduated from one of these institutions. Although much of the younger Richter’s genius came about owing to his impeccable ear, phenomenal

memory and charismatic personality, the pianist himself recounts that from the age of 10 he began reading voraciously. He would maintain this passion for reading for the rest of his life. While at first Go-

Prokofiev was forever dissatisfied with the quality of his own performances, which is why he personally forbade the release of many of his records gol and Maeterlinck held his devotion, Marcel Proust would eventually assume the top position in Richter’s pantheon of authors. Richter’s playing has been described in writing as such: “…the first note alone caused one’s heart to flutter – something deeply real was contained therein”. I can confirm this description personally, as I had the fortune to be present at two of his Kyiv concerts. Still, despite Richter’s worldwide fame, its roots still lead us back to Odessa where his maturation took place – as musician, virtuoso, and inspired interpreter of many composers. One of the composers whose work he frequently interpreted was Sergey Prokofiev (whose own 125th birthday is being celebrated as this issue goes to print), who,

much like Shostakovich became a victim of the “1948 Ordinance” which prohibited the reproduction of his works. Despite the ban, Richter took upon himself the task of conducting Prokofiev’s Concert Symphony! To add to the pointedness of the gesture, he conducted despite recently having his finger broken in a fight. In his spare time, Richter was also an Alpinist – one must admit that both of these details paint him as quite the outstanding personality. He remembered every person he ever met, knew all the sheet music he had played by heart, and could tell stories of how Prokofiev was capable of waving goodbye…with his foot. He also made daily logs in his “music diaries”, where he scrupulously detailed who played what work and how it sounded. Prokofiev was forever dissatisfied with the quality of his own performances, which is why he personally forbade the release of many of his records. When asked to name three people who most influenced him as a person, Richter lists his father, Heinrich Neuhaus, and Richard Wagner.

Ute Kilter is a writer living in Odessa.


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The “Wolf Man” Of Odessa: Sigmund Freud’s Famous Patient By Vadim Golopyorov

The Brief Dream Of A Young Odessa Boy Le A Lasting Mark On The Entire Eld Of Psychology – And May Have Given Us A Glimpse Into The Inner Workings Of The Human Soul.

From his earliest years he was a very sensitive child – he had inherited a tendency towards psychological disturbances from his father If ever you take a walk around Odessa, at some point you are bound to pass Marazlievskaya Street. It is a relatively quiet street near a park in the city center. At first glance, you would probably not even notice house number twenty – it is a simple house, like countless others in Odessa. Even if you read the plaque which announces that this house once served as the estate of the Pankeev family, this will probably mean very little to you. However, despite its common appearance, this house is in fact a very special landmark which deserves a closer look. A century ago, it was the home of the famous “Wolf Man”. Neither a horror movie nor novel character, Odessa’s Wolf Man was a simple human being – although, one whose inner world was in many ways a truly disturbed one. But enough of speaking in riddles: the house located at 20 Marazlievskaya St. was the childhood home of Sigmund Freud’s most notorious patient – Sergei Pankeev, who would become known to the world as the “Wolf Man”. This moniker was given to Pankeev by Freud in the course of detailing his case in Freud’s


classic work, “From the History of an Infantile Neurosis”. Freud gave him this title in order to ensure his patient’s anonymity. The “Wolf Man” case is undoubtedly the most famous of the five notorious patients described by Freud in his work. Freud himself regarded the case as “…one of the most valuable of all the discoveries that I had the good fortune to make” and believed that “such enlightenment can only come about once in a lifetime”. And now, in the psychoanalytical fashion, let’s go back to the very beginning… Sergei Konstantinovich Pankeev was born in 1886 in Ukraine – which was then a part of the Russian Empire - into a rich land-owning merchant’s family. From his earliest years he was a very sensitive child – he had inherited a tendency towards psychological disturbances from his father. When he was very young, he was terrified by a picture of a wolf which he had seen in a book of fairytales. The fear grew stronger when he saw a live wolf for the first time. At 5 years old, he had the first nightmare of many, which he would later describe to Dr. Freud: in the dream, he is sleeping in the family’s summer house

in the Vasilievka village near Odessa. He gets out of bed, and through the window catches sight of a herd of white wolves who are sitting in a tree and sending him “messages with their eyes” – that is, telepathically. After that, Pankeev’s fear of wolves became a truly pathological phobia, which led to the formation of chronic neuroses. The unfortunate boy’s psychological condition only worsened with the years. He was virtually unable to handle any of life’s usual stresses. Pankeev was also heavily traumatized by the sudden suicide of his sister and the death of his father. His already fragile state coupled with these tragic events and combined with the inner turmoil of searching for himself and the meaning of his existence, made the young Pankeev’s life almost unbearable. Fortunately, fate would lead him to Dr. Freud. At first, he sought help from the wellknown Odessa psychotherapist, Mikhail Droznes – but was later referred by the doctor to his son, the young Dr. Leonid Droznes. Leonid was one of the few doctors to be found anywhere in Ukraine at that time who had studied Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis – in fact, before 1910 Freud’s name was virtually unknown outside of Vienna. Pankeev’s first few sessions with the younger Dr. Droznes inspired him and gave him a feeling of hope. The visits mostly took the form of a conversation between the doctor and patient. Droznes was not fully versed in psychoanalytic theory and did not possess knowledge of all the most up to date and

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To Freud, Pankeev was a classic example of the romanticized “mysterious Russian soul”, a human manifestation of the “Russian gloom” expressed by the heroes of the great Russian novels

Illustration by Dasha Fisay

correct methods of analyzing the patients’ reports and directing their emotions into an appropriate expression. However, Pan-

keev reported feeling much better after their conversations and feeling very encouraged by psychoanalysis. Sergei had

previously undergone treatment with several other doctors and had even spent time in a specialized sanatorium in Munich, but none of these attempts for a cure produced results. Somewhat amazingly, a simple conversation with a young and not very experienced doctor finally offered him some relief. Pankeev was intrigued and expressed his desire to continue undergoing psychoanalysis. It should be noted that Sergei Pankeev was not an ordinary patient. He was a highly intelligent man, having graduated from the Jurisprudence School of the Odessa University, fluent in German and French and also an avid traveler and painter. Pankeev was a goldmine for an innovative psychotherapist, as he was extremely open to new ideas and experimentation. Leonid Droznes advised Pankeev to travel to Europe in order to continue his treatment, either with Dr. Paul Dubois in Switzerland or Dr. Sigmund Freud in Austria. Pankeev chose Austria for the simple reason of proximity. After meeting Pankeev, Dr. Freud was so impressed with his personality that he immediately agreed to treat him. Their fateful meeting took place in January of 1910. As Pankeev later wrote, “…these first few months of analysis with Dr. Freud introduced me to a new world – a world that was accessible to very few people in those days. As soon as the connections which were hidden in the dark emerged into my conscious mind, I began to finally understand the many incomprehensible things which tormented me throughout my life.” With Freud, Pankeev felt less like a patient and more like an assistant who was helping the doctor in researching an exciting psychological mystery. In turn, Freud’s interest in the young man from Odessa was spurred on by his own admitted “inability to fully understand this Russian man”. To Freud, Pankeev was a classic example of the ro-


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Illustration by Olga Gladushevskaya

He would later admit that his sessions with Freud helped him immensely in getting through this turbulent stage of his life manticized “mysterious Russian soul”, a human manifestation of the “Russian gloom” expressed by the heroes of the great Russian novels. Freud mentioned “The Brothers Karamazov” several times in his diaries after hearing Pankeev speak about his father’s side of the family. Of their progress, Freud noted that “…the patient’s foreign national character, alien to our understanding, became a great impediment to my access and capacity to fully understand the patient’s personality”. Freud, however, was not to be frustrated by this challenge – it excited him. Based on Freud’s observations and theories regarding the inner world of a Russian man, a thesis would later emerge among Western psychologists and philosophers which theorized that “Russia is the unconscious of the West”. Freud’s sessions with Pankeev went on for four years. These freewheeling conversa-


tions usually focused on the Pankeev family history, Sergei’s childhood fears, his relationships with his father, mother, sister and nanny; as well as his first sexual experience. Perhaps the treatment could’ve gone smoother and ended earlier, if Pankeev hadn’t been simultaneously suffering in the throes of his growing love for his future wife Theresa, whom he met at a Munich sanatorium for the mentally ill. Still, he would later admit that his sessions with Freud helped him immensely in getting through this turbulent stage of his life. In an interesting recollection, Pankeev recounted visiting Freud to thank the doctor with his now-wife Theresa after the conclusion of his treatment in 1941. As they carried on a pleasant conversation in Freud’s office, Sergei happened to glance out of the window and saw a funerary procession – that of the recently assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand. World War I

began soon after. It was the end of one great misfortune and the beginning of another – a classically tragic moment worthy of the cinematic screen. When Pankeev returned to Odessa in 1914, his mother decided to mark the occasion with a church service, as was the custom of the times. She made sure to include Professor Freud in her prayers – which was her way of thanking the good doctor for her son’s successful treatment. In 1941 an Eastern Orthodox priest recited a prayer in the Odessa Cathedral for the soul of “Sigismund”, whom he probably assumed to be a member of the Pankeev family. The “Wolf Man” would leave Odessa after the Russian revolution of 1919. He had lost all his savings and fled to Vienna, where he asked Sigmund Freud for help. Freud, who was by now known the world over, generously supported his former patient for many months. After all, it was Pankeev who helped him achieve universal recognition and fame. They also resumed their regular conversations. No historical record of such an exchange exists, but perhaps in the course of these conversations Freud confessed to his patient that he himself was ‘half-Odessan’. Freud’s maternal grandmother was Odessa born and raised, and the professor’s mother, Amalia Nathansohn, only left Odessa for Vienna at the age of 16. Possibly, this not inconsiderable fact played a considerable part in the deep bond between the two men. Owing to Freud’s efforts, Sergei Pankeev was able to return to a normal life, even maintaining the mental fortitude necessary to survive his wife’s eventual suicide as well as the innumerable horrors of the First and Second World Wars. He worked at an insurance office for the rest of his life, and died in Vienna in 1979. Throughout his life in Vienna, he visited Odessa only once and very briefly - in 1943, when for an unknown reason, it became necessary for him to obtain a copy of his university diploma. Despite being “cured”, the “Wolf Man” remained a complex and quite eccentric person and periodically visited a psychotherapist. Still, his old incapacitating neuroses were behind him, and he even developed a sense of humor about his former fears. Some accounts say that he had gotten so used to his odd fame that he would answer the telephone with “Hello, the Wolf Man is listening”. When his therapist, Muriel Gardiner (who would later write a book about Pankeev), mentioned that her daughter had a great fondness for animals, he responded that at one point he was also quite interested in animals. Especially wolves. Pankeev was – and remains – an Odessite, through and through.

Odessa History

Photo by Oleg Vladimirsky


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German writers on Odessa By Chana Galvagni

Odessa was very far away, even for most of the Germans living in Russia. Traveling there was difficult, and many Europeans could never imagine that such a beautiful a city was to be found in the south of the Czar’s empire. Odessa was very far away, even for most of the Germans living in Russia. Traveling there was difficult, and many Europeans could never imagine that such a beautiful city was to be found in the south of the Czar’s empire. Though the busy port nevertheless attracted a considerable number of Germans from Germany, Austria, and the Baltic provinces of Russia, it was for economic rather than literary purposes. It is for this reason that, with a few very noteworthy exceptions, Odessa hardly ever appears in German literature. Even German playwright and journalist Wilhelm Wolfsohn (1820-1865), who himself was an important mediator between German and Russian literature, and who grew there, never wrote about his native city. In the western regions closest to Southwestern Russia (such as Galicia and Bukovina) and the easternmost provinces of Austria, Ukrainian, Yiddish, Polish and German constituted the main spoke languages. Jews were numerous there, and many of them began abandoning Yiddish


for German since around 1850. For economic, religious, and family reasons, they had close contacts to the much larger Jewish communities in neighboring Russia. Wolfsohn’s mother, for example, came from Galicia. Geographically, Odessa was closer to Galicia than Vienna, but the young intellectuals from Lemberg (Lviv) and Czernowitz (Chernivtsi) turned rather toward the Austrian capital, where Jews were successful in many domains. Czarist Russia did not attract them in the same way that German culture did. Even Karl Emil Franzos (1848-1904), the first major German-language writer from Galicia, (which he left to begin his studies in Graz and Vienna) only rarely mentions Odessa in his voluminous work despite his mother having been born there and that fact that he had been there as a young man. The one exception is the short story, “Landsmann und Landsmännin” (it is to be found in his 1893 collection Ein Opfer, one of his less successful books), which tells of unpleasant encounters with his German countrymen abroad. One of these is set in Odessa. The narrator meets another German, who pretends to be a victim of repression in Russia, but who in fact makes up a story in order to wheedle

money out of his trusting countrymen. At that time, many German-speaking Austrians considered themselves to be Germans. The story begins with a description of the narrator sitting under the Acacia trees on the promenade, enthralled by the “compelling power” of the view with the sun sinking into the “wide, wide” sea, but then shifts to the conversation taking place between the narrator and the impostor. The story is set in a German Bierhalle in the Russian city. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is Joseph Roth (1894-1939) is Odessa’s best hope for immortality in German literature. Roth left his native Brody in Galicia for Germany in 1913, living there from the early twenties until 1933, during which time he became successful both as a journalist and a major novelist. During his return visit to report on Russia in 1926, he was far more interested in the social and political aspects of the new state rather than in taking in the visual impressions of the places he visited. There were some exceptions however: for instance, he vividly describes the river cruise on the Volga ending in Astrakhan, where he describes flies that have the poise of large mammals. That literary sketch has only recently been translated into English, published in last year’s collection ‘The Hotel Years’. Although he seems to have stayed in Odessa for more than a week, the city is more or less absent from his articles about Russia. Despite this the city seems to have captured his imagination, as Odessa appears in three of his late novels. In his 1936 novel Beichte eines Mörders, erzählt in einer Nacht (Confessions of a Murderer), a Russian narrator, the illegitimate son of a prince and former

Odessa History

Illustration by Oleg Andreev

Roth provides hardly any details of the city; he doesn’t have his hero follow Odessa’s streets – rather, Odessa weaves around his hero like a metaphor for the ecstatic beginning of his adventures agent of the Czar’s secret police, recounts his life to friends in Paris. Odessa is the place where he met his father for the first time, and where he was initiated into his dubious career. Two pages describe the “great big” modern city around the year 1900 (“laid out according to a European pattern”), but they mainly concentrate on the harbor and the beauty of the sea. It is the first city the hero has gone to all

by himself, “the first wonderful station on my wonderful way ‘up’.” Meeting someone from abroad in a pastry shop, he begins to muse about foreigners: “Europeans, those people who might be much more intelligent than us, while they’re worth less, […] exceptionally gifted by God, they don’t believe in him.” Here Roth provides hardly any details of the city; he doesn’t have his hero walk

Odessa’s streets – rather, Odessa weaves around his hero like a metaphor for the ecstatic beginning of his adventures. The city appeared a year later in his Das falsche Gewicht («Weights and Measures») which is the story of a completely assimilated Western Jew, Anselm Eibenschütz, a civil servant who is sent to a small, predominantly Jewish town in Galicia. The Jews of Zlotogrod hate this man whose duty is to strictly check their business transactions, which had never been checked before, and which, of course, can not withstand being checked. Using the precise weights and measures imposed by the central authorities, Eibenschütz represents law and order, which had so far had not reached Zlotograd, and which could only disrupt the festering and corrupt local economy. The most commited enemy of the lonely Eibenschütz is one


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Leibusch Jadlowker, who has fled from Russia having committed a murder – in Odessa – and who is involved in many criminal activities. These include human smuggling from Russia to parts of Europe further West. He ends up brutally killing Eibenschütz, who, while dying, experiences an epiphanous vision of the great calibrator cryptically informing him: “All your weights are wrong, and all are nevertheless right.” The very name of Odessa – where Jadlowker was born and where criminality is reputed to be rampant – contributes to his characterization as an entirely negative figure. Of course, such symbolic deployment of prejudices concerning towns and whole regions is not a rare occurrence in literature. The idea of Odessa as an illfamed Russian port might also have inspired Franzos to situate his story there. Odessa appears again in Roth’s last novel, Leviathan, which was first published in 1938 in The Pariser Tageszeitung. The main character in Leviathan (The Leviathan in English) is Nissen Piczenik, a redheaded Jew in a Russian shtetl, who sells coral of various colors – from “upper-edges-of-tea rose-leaveswhitish” to carrot and blood-colored –, which he loves more than women (or at least more than his infertile wife), and who longs for the sea, the “real sea,” where the coral live. It is the same sea that one has to cross to get to America. Piczenik’s first contact with the sea, which proves in the long run to be fatal, takes place in the port closest to his small town, the radiant harbor of Odessa, where the sides of the ship can be coral-red, and where thousands of tiny fish might fly towards you.


After having spent some joyous moments with the Fischchen and forgotten his obligations as a simple Jewish man, Piczenik returns home to meet the devil – who is a salesman of celluloid coral. Leviathan’s harbor scene resembles a daydream far from reality’s paraphernalia, where the harbor is on the one hand

Babel, who spent some time in Berlin during the twenties, and where, among many others, he met the young Elias Canetti. In 1926, Babel’s Odessa Tales were translated into German as Geschichten aus Odessa and published in Berlin by Malik, the renowned leftist publishing house.

Odessa is deployed as a symbol for something sinister... it is a metaphor for the ecstasy of an entirely new experience and its subsequent doom a paradisiac place filled with flying Fischchen, and on the other, a place reserved for longing that goes far beyond it. The author of this article hopes that the reader will forgive her for allowing herself to allude to the sonorously homonymous Argentinian-Jewish poet, Alejandra Pizarnik (1936-1972). Pizarnik, whose non-exiled Ukrainian family was exterminated during the Holocaust, might have had some sympathy (or, as a defense, rather have ferociously disapproved of him) for the coral-loving Piczenik, who never did make it to America. Thus, to return from Hispanic South America to Germanic Russia, in all three of Roth’s novels, Odessa is deployed as a symbol for something sinister. In Die Beichte eines Mörders and Leviathan, it is a metaphor for the ecstasy of an entirely new experience and subsequent doom; for a luminous place where light anticipates darkness and where the protagonists suddenly become aware of their own existence. It is determined, confused, and “oceanic.” (Seeing Odessa for the first time, the old “continental” Nissen Piczenik transforms himself into the “oceanic” Nissen Piczenik.) So, while few German-language writers other than Roth have written about Odessa, the German public could nevertheless read about it in the stories of Isaac

That same year, many Germans and Austrians would see the city for the first time in the Battleship Potemkin when Odessa steps in Eisenstein’s film made the city famous. The steps mark the entrance to the city when one arrives from the sea and are always half invisible, whether one looks at them from above or up from below.

Chana Galvagni is a Paris-based writer who was born in Bolzano, Italy

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Nineteenth Century Travelers In Odessa The Odessa Review Explores The Legacy Of Foreign Nineteenth Century Writers Who Passed Through Odessa And Whose Work Was Shaped By The City.


rnest Hemingway’s famous observation in his memoir ‘A Movable Feast’’, in which he describes Paris as “the place best organized for a writer to write in” can be just as easily applied to Odessa. The atmosphere of the town is liberal, the people are open, the temperature is pleasant, the tempo of life is relaxed and measured. Like Paris, the city has equal parts creative fervency and genetic cultural understanding of living well. The dazzling architecture will lift the soul and the breeze coming in from the Black Sea will sooth it in it’s flight. The city has a gorgeous library - one of the oldest in the country - it is where Maxim Gorky spent his afternoons reading bent over a lamp. There are also any number of cafes with views of cobblestone lined streets or the sea. Places where one can spend hours sipping coffee or something stronger while pouring through a manuscript or thumbing a novel. It is in short, a fantastic place to write, to be a writer and from which to observe the rhythms of everyday life. Thus, it should come as no surprise that throughout it’s storied history, Odessa has always been a center of literary production. It is a place that has nurtured generations of talented writ-

Illustration by Sergеy Enkov


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ers with the manna of their physical and spiritual needs. Hundreds of well known writers have come from the city or passed through it on the way to greater (and very often smaller) things. These have included scribes who wrote in any of multitudinous languages spoken in Odessa. Greek, Russian, Yiddish, Polish, Ukrainian, Bulgarian and German language literature have been composed in Odessa. It is arguably the birthplace of several nations literatures (Greek, Bulgarian and Jewish most importantly) and the incubator of many others. Being at the cross roads of imperial and national trade routes on the Black Sea, and also being the naval portal into the Russian empire through which people entered and left Europe made the city a cosmopolitan place. It is a seaside city whose literary character was buttressed by the constant waves of travelers who washed up on it’s shores (in this, the city unambiguously recalls Venice, that other most serene maritime republic). Naturally, all these elements add up to a surefire recipe for creative ferment. Odessa was not unlike the New York City or Hong Kong of the 19th century Russian empire. As a teenager, the young Giuseppe Garibaldi alighted in the harbor, as did many of the most remarkable characters of the epoch. The climate and intellectual soil of the city was always fruitful for the development of nonconformist personalities. This portfolio does not makes any claims to being encyclopedic and excludes as many noteworthy characters as it includes. We are deliberately not dealing with the legions of Russian or Ukrainian (that is ‘domestic’) literary travelers who flocked here from all across the empire in order to call the city their home for at least a little while. Anton Chekhov, for example, plays an important role in that

history, and the city plays an important role in the biography of his life. Yet that is a story for another time. Likewise, as a young civil servant, Russia’s national poet Alexander Pushkin also spent more than a year in Odessa - enjoying every second immensely - and wrote several chapters of his canonical masterpiece ‘Eugene Onegin’ in the city. The details of Pushkin’s sojourn are universally known to literate Russians and visitors to the city (and if they are not, one can just visit the museum dedicated to him). Most everyone also knows that he spent his time in the city mostly drinking and going to parties. That his counterpart, the national poet of Poland, Adam Mickiewicz, also enjoyed a similarly dissolute youth in Odessa, is not as widely known. The role of Odessa

The very subtle Canadian novelist and translator Soren Gauger has written a tremendously witty and insightful essay about the peregrinations of that most peripatetic and eccentric of nineteenth century British travelers: Laurence Oliphant. To compliment Gauger’s somewhat baffled ruminations over the work of this oddball weirdo who wrote the most bland prose possible, we are also publishing an excerpt from Oliphant’s travel writing. Though the case of Oliphant is doubtless amusing, and surely exceptional, it demonstrates the fact that not everyone loved it in Odessa. Or traveling in general. Oliphant was the most perverse sort of

The city has a gorgeous library - one of the oldest in the country - it is where Maxim Gorky spent his afternoons reading bent over a lamp in the development of Mickiewicz’s artistry is fascinating and in some ways typical. Mark Twain also passed through here on a decommissioned confederate steamship on the way to the holy land. All he saw was America. That is to say he liked what he saw as a tourist, and he wrote about the city in glowing terms in his youthful journalism. An excerpt from his travel writing is included in this portfolio.

travel writer: the kind who hated to travel and who compared every place he visited to comforts of home. Still, there are as many different sorts of travel writing as there are kinds of travelers, but all collected here had the indelible impression of the city stampted deeply in their work.


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Mark Twain in Odessa


he Innocents Abroad; or, The New Pilgrim’s Progress is the title of the acerbically funny travelogue penned by Mark Twain during his 1867 trip through Europe and the Holy Land. In the course of his journey, Twain visited Odessa – sailing into the port aboard the Quaker City, a civil war era battleship converted into a passenger cruiser. The book was based on the extended newspaper dispatches that Twain wrote throughout the trip. It was one of his earliest literary attempts, and certainly his most successful book financially. It would also set the template for a new genre - that of the guileless American traveler making his way through the precarious and perplexing Old World. Twain exhibited the same irony and irreverence towards everyone he met and every locale he visited. The majority of his travels were spent complaining and mocking the local residents and customs. The bulk of The Innocents takes place before his arrival in the Holy Land; and for every place he makes a stop in, Twain makes it a point to compare the customs he encounters to the way things are done back home, rather unfavorably. Paradoxically enough, he reserves his most bitter criticism for his fellow American passengers, who exasperate him to no end. At the time of Twain’s visit, Odessa was young, vibrant and in the midst of construction. It was the same exact age as the United States, and in a similar position as an industrious, dynamic, cultural melting pot. It was these qualities which reminded Twain of America – and endeared the city of Odessa to him greatly. The Odessa passage of Twain’s book ends with his appraisal of the historical role of Odessa’s first governor, the Duke de Richelieu, as well as the statue of him which graces the Primorsky Boulevard and looks out to sea. The Duke’s statue, the boulevard, the Potemkin Stairs – all of these landmarks are still there, virtually unchanged from the time Mark Twain described them almost a hundred and fifty years ago. We have kept the nineteenth century orthography. It is fitting to republish the essay now, as The Odessa Review’s chief editor, Vladislav Davidzon is himself an American - with roots going back to Odessa.


The book was based on the extended newspaper dispatches that Twain wrote throughout the trip “I have not felt so much at home for a long time as I did when I “raised the hill” and stood in Odessa for the first time. It looked just like an American city; fine, broad streets, and straight as well; low houses, (two or three stories,) wide, neat, and free from any quaintness of architectural ornamentation; locust trees bordering the sidewalks (they call them acacias); a stirring, business-look about the streets and the stores; fast walkers; a familiar new look about the houses and every thing; yea, and a driving and smothering cloud of dust that was so like a message from our own dear native land that we could hardly refrain from shedding a few grateful tears and execrations in the old time-honored American way. Look up the street or down the street, this way or that way, we saw only America! There was not one thing to remind us that we were in Russia. We walked for some little distance, reveling in this home vision, and then we came upon a church and a hack-driver, and presto! The illusion vanished! The church had a slender-spired dome that rounded inward at its base, and looked like a turnip turned upside down, and the hackman seemed to be dressed in a long petticoat without any hoops. These things were essentially foreign, and so were the carriages—but everybody knows about these things, and there is no occasion for my describing them. We were only to stay here a day and a night and take in coal; we consulted the guide-books and were rejoiced to know that there were no sights in Odessa to see; and so we had one good, untrammeled holiday on our hands, with nothing to do but idle about the city and enjoy ourselves. We sauntered through the markets and criticized the fearful and wonderful costumes from the back country; examined the populace as far as eyes could do it; and closed the entertainment with an ice-cream debauch. We do not get icecream everywhere, and so, when we do, we are apt to dissipate to excess. We never cared anything about ice-cream at home, but we look upon it with a sort of idolatry now that it is so scarce in these red-hot climates of the East. We only found two pieces of statuary, and this was another blessing. One was a bronze image of the Duc de Richelieu, grand-nephew of the splendid Cardinal. It stood in a spacious, handsome promenade, overlooking the sea,

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and from its base a vast flight of stone steps led down to the harbor—two hundred of them, fifty feet long, and a wide landing at the bottom of every twenty. It is a noble staircase, and from a distance the people toiling up it looked like insects. I mention this statue and this stairway because they have their story. Richelieu founded Odessa—watched over it with paternal care—labored with a fertile brain and a wise understanding for its best interests—

spent his fortune freely to the same end— endowed it with a sound prosperity, and one which will yet make it one of the great cities of the Old World—built this noble stairway with money from his own private purse—and—. Well, the people for whom he had done so much, let him walk down these same steps, one day, unattended, old, poor, without a second coat to his back; and when, years afterwards, he died in Sebastopol in poverty and neglect, they

called a meeting, subscribed liberally, and immediately erected this tasteful monument to his memory, and named a great street after him. It reminds me of what Robert Burns’ mother said when they erected a stately monument to his memory: “Ah, Robbie, ye asked them for bread and they hae gi’en ye a stane.”


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On Laurence Oliphant: The Most Interesting and Banal Travel Writer of All Time By Soren Gauger


invite you, dear reader, to try out the following anthropological experiment the next time you are on a transcontinental flight: wander about the airplane glancing at the films people are watching on their laptops. In the vast majority of cases, you will find that the Koreans will

Oliphant (1829-1888) was a British author, traveler, diplomat, member of parliament and Christian mystic best known for his satirical novel Piccadilly (1870). This article is part of The Odessa Review`s series on 19th century traveler`s in Odessa.

self-made man, “sexual mystic,” diplomat, “the most famous of the British gentile proto-Zionists,” and man-about-town extraordinaire. His many books include a rollicking Japanese memoir, a wildly satirical novel of London high society and a piece of ‘automatic writing pleading for

Oliphant was a travel writer, self-made man, “sexual mystic,” diplomat, “the most famous of the British gentile proto-Zionists,” and man-about-town extraordinaire be immersed in viewing films featuring Korean faces. Likewise, people from India will be mesmerized gazing at Indian faces. The Europeans will also prefer to look at people who look like themselves and so and so forth. The conclusion that we might draw from such strikes me as quaint and a bit melancholy – we tend to become bored and restless and perhaps even irate when we do not see a bit of ourselves reflected in what we observe. It is a principle worth keeping in mind as we consider Laurence Oliphant, also known by his faerie name of “Uncle Woodbine.” Oliphant was a travel writer,


a purified sex life,” titled: ‘Sympneumata’ or ‘Evolutionary Forces Now Active in Man’. That book was “dictated” by the ghost of his first wife, Alice le Strange, with whom he lived “without claiming the rights of a husband” (a complaint which was also to be lodged by his second wife). Their divorce occurred after she absconded with a California guru who founded the Brotherhood of New Life. But long before these swashbuckling escapades, as a young man bored with Victorian British life, he made a journey to Odessa and lands more far-flung, which are recounted in his The Russian Shores of the Black Sea.

Given the sheer oddity and, shall we say, panache of Oliphant’s later resume, we justifiably expect a highly eccentric travelogue, filled with strange misadventures and rare observations. Our hopes are only reinforced by the fact that the itinerary covering Dubrovka, Novo Tcherkask, Taganrog, Kerch, and a host of other places - is tantalizingly unusual; it is a landscape that we would usually find to be quite unimaginable circa 1853. What a blessing, we think, to have this madman’s report on places so seldom visited by English-language writers. It is all the more astonishing, then, to find that Mr. Oliphant is the most unpalatable kind of traveler. His eye picks out only the most tiresome details, and expatiates on those at great length. He reminds us of our least favorite uncle, or a pompous windbag we once met drunk at a party. Long series of pages are devoted to such riveting subjects as industrial production, trade routes and logistics, mineral resources, and – that obsession of imperial envoys ever since Ancient Rome – the quality of roads. He is also a poor traveler because every inconvenience rankles him to the utmost extreme. Almost everything he does not recognize is judged to be barbaric or comical. His chief occupation in the uncharted places he visits is to compare them with British civilization, almost always to their detriment (though he does stoop to enjoying

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Soren A. Gauger is a Canadian writer who has lived for over a decade in Krakow, Poland. He has published two books of short fiction in English, a novel in Polish, and several translations of Polish writers (including Jerzy Ficowski, Bruno Jasienski and Wojciech Jagielski), as well as dozen essays, stories, poems, and translations in journals in Europe and North America.

the local tradition of putting lemon in his tea), and to bemoan the difficulties in procuring British amenities. Yet ultimately, dammit, the reader eagerly awaits these rancorous interjections as the only bits that punctuate his endless descriptions of wheat production. In Nijni Novgorod, he remarks “our ears were dinned by three of the loudest bells that ever called pious worshippers to church, our noses were assailed by the foulest odours that ever a Russian even could imagine, and our skins tortured by more innumerable hosts of fleas than the combined experiences of Eastern travellers ever recounted.” In Dubrovka he is disgusted by the habit of sparsely-clad river bathing – an “apt illustration of the spirit that pervades Russian society generally, where so much attention is paid to the most hollow conventionalities, and so little to those principles of honour and morality essential to the well-being of a community.” That sort of thing continues ad nauseum from Novo Tcherkask onwards. Oliphant does manage to find a couple of benevolent Germans in his travels, and a kind carriage driver whose civility is rationalized by his “Scythian profile.” When he does condescend to compliment a hotel, he does so in the following terms: “At Baidar, on the other hand, we were

overwhelmed with attention and civility, and charged for it in a manner that would have done credit to an English hotel-keeper.” This, we understand, is the highest praise he could bestow.

diversity of the population and the sense of freedom in the air, in the cafes. He concludes, however, that this only shows the inconsistency of the people – and we hear no more about it. The streets, we learn, are

He reminds us of our least favorite uncle, or a pompous windbag we once met drunk at a party All this considered, it thus comes as no surprise that at the opening of the Odessa chapter, Oliphant is relieved to be finally visiting the city because he has heard such splendid things about it. For having visited it he could “for the future fearlessly condemn Russian hotels, discuss the merits of Russian shops, and depreciate Muscovite civilisation in general, without being told that I was not in a position to judge any of these subjects from never having been at Odessa.” We learn everything worth reading in the first two pages – Odessa’s sterling reputation throughout the Russian empire as a city that combines the virtues of Italy, France, and England. It is the “Russian Florence.” There are some disparaging remarks on transportation that follow a few encouraging and tantalizing remarks on the vast

horribly dusty. Afterward, apart from an amusing coda concerning the bureaucracy involved in leaving nineteenth century Odessa, the reader groans to find that rest of the chapter is occupied with minute discussions of the logistics of corn exportation and its significance to the economy. A certain kind of reader might be moved to respond that his aims were different and that Oliphant was writing for pragmatic purposes. This brings us then, to our conclusion – Oliphant ultimately stands as elegant proof that pragmatism and posterity are the most uncomfortable of bedfellows. Travel writing is best done by those who will stoop to bathing in the river with the natives.


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An English Sketch of Nineteenth Century Odessa By Laurence Oliphant

Oliphant (1829-1888) was a British author, traveller, diplomat, member of parliament and Christian mystic best known for his satirical novel Piccadilly (1870). This is an extract from his 1852 book `The Russian Shores of the Black` and is part of The Odessa Review`s series on 19th century travelers in Odessa.

It was evident that these benighted inhabitants of Odessa praised their city in utter ignorance of the merits of others


he 19th century British traveler discovers a cosmopolitan and colorful city whose inhabitants go out of their way to appear ‘as little Russian as possible’ It was with mingled feelings of gratitude and triumph that I found myself climbing the steep hill which leads from the quay into the town of Odessa. I felt thankful that we had escaped three weeks’ quarantine; that we had passed through the customhouse without having our luggage examined; that there was a prospect at last of a return to some of the luxuries of civilized life after a somewhat arduous journey. And I felt triumphant, because I could now for the future fearlessly condemn Russian hotels, discuss the merits of Russian shops, and depreciate Muscovite civilization in general, without being told that I was not in a position to judge of any of these subjects from never having been at Odessa. Hitherto my life had been rendered miserable by repeated allusions to the “Russian Florence”. Some infatuated Odessans on board the steamer impressed upon me for two days and nights that nothing I had seen at Moscow or St. Petersburg could give me even a faint conception of the glories of Odessa, which, according


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to them, combined in itself the charms of all the capitals in Europe. The statues and the opera were Italian; the boulevards and shops, French; the clubs conducted upon English principles; and the hotels unequalled in Europe – the whole forming attractions which may surpass my most sanguine anticipations. It struck me as somewhat singular, notwithstanding, to be told, upon asking what means existed of leaving this enchanting spot, that we should find it necessary to buy a carriage and post, as no diligence had as yet been established. Odessa, probably, is the only town in Europe containing upwards of a hundred thousand inhabitants, which cannot boast some public means of conveyance other than a post telegram, which is infinitely more barbarous than a Cape Bullock-wagon, and only meant for the conveyance of despatches. It was evident that these benighted inhabitants of Odessa praised their city in utter ignorance of the merits of others. It could not seem strange to them that a pair of sheets should be charged a ruble extra in the best hotels, since they seldom or ever made use of them at home; while it was not to be wondered at that jugs and basins should seem superfluities to those who followed the mode of washing adopted on board the Russian steamer, which consisted in each man’s trickling a little water into his friend’s hands – so little, indeed, that but a very few drops of the precious liquid were spilt. Our exertions to obtain a basin on board evidently caused us to be looked upon as bad travellers, who did not conform to the manners of the country they were in. The change from the climate, inhabitants, and customs of the East, to those of the bleak North, was very marked on our arrival at Odessa. We were again surrounded by sheepskins, and pierced with a sharp east wind that howled over the desolate steppe. Here were no lofty peaks to shelter us, nor summer sun to warm us; winter seemed fairly to have set in the day we arrived, with the view of chasing us out

of Russia. However, we could not go until we had been advertised a certain number of days in the papers, for the benefit of imaginary creditors. Fortunately, we had given notice of our intended departure before we arrived, whereby the length of our stay was considerably diminished. Meantime we found plenty to amuse us in the greatest mercantile emporium in Russia. It must be admitted that Odessa is very cosmopolitan in its character. Almost every country in Europe has its representative here, and the principal streets are

this city is invested by its commercial character, in a country affording no encouragement to trade, there is little to interest in its broad glaring streets, where clouds of white dust overwhelm the passengers, and rows of stumpy trees are reduced almost to the same colour as the tall houses behind them. Odessa has existed to serve a definite purpose, and in that respect its case is altogether an exceptional one: it has been forced on in spite of government, by virtue of being a free port, and of possessing the most saleable commodity in Europe

It must be admitted that Odessa is very cosmopolitan in its character. Almost every country in Europe has its representative here, and the principal streets are filled with an immense variety of costume filled with an immense variety of costume. Indeed, Odessa has an air of business and activity about it quite foreign to Russian towns generally; and this is doubtless owing to its rapid growth and mixed population. There is a great deal more liberty enjoyed by the inhabitants than by those of any other town in the empire; and I was struck by the unwonted freedom of smoking and conversation which prevailed among those with whom I mixed. The evident effort made to be as little Russian as possible, is a significant comment upon the inconsistency of the inhabitants, who, while they maintain the superior excellence of everything national, seem chiefly desirous of sinking their nationality, and, with that facility of imitation peculiar to the Russian character, seek to assimilate themselves as much as possible to other European nations. It follows, therefore, that, apart from the novelty with which

as its principal article of commerce. As its exports exceed the imports by two-thirds, its prosperity cannot be said to have a very firm foundation; indeed, a war with Russia would be fraught with more serious consequences to these provinces than to the country which derives its supply of corn from them. In the one case the ruin would be permanent and irretrievable; in the other, the contemporary inconvenience would doubtless be very great, but a new source of supply would surely be found, and one in all probability not liable to such sudden and violent interruptions. However, a consideration of the commercial interests of the Russian empire would never turn the scale with government one way or the other in a question of peace or war.


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Mickiewicz in Odessa The journey of Poland’s national poet to Odessa from St. Petersburg took place in February 1825. He passed through Kiev and would later boast that he went “entirely by sleigh’’. He was banished from the Russian capital on the personal order of the Czar, who feared that the young Polish poet, a friend of the Russian Decembrists - those insubordinate advocates of Western political heresy- had become excessively popular in the Petersburg salons. Ironically, this was considered to be a punishment.


ickiewicz had been sentenced by trial a few months earlier, instigated by the emperor against a group of Wilno [today: Vilnius] university students for an alleged conspiracy to attack the Czar’s namiestnik of Lithuania. They all belonged to the “Philomath Society,” an innocent study and art group which eventually grew into a rebel organization, and later into an extreme nationalist vigilante group. That at least,

cial town of Wilno to the Russian capital which was at the time already a cultural center of Eastern Europe. Pulsing with revolutionary energy, Moscow was a hive of all kinds of political ideals and teemed with various sorts of fanatics (most were still idealists though, men such as Raskolnikov and Stavrogin would be born a generation later). For Mickiewicz, it was the perfect place to stretch his wings, and begin dreaming of a world career. Mick-

Mickiewicz spent the bulk of his time in Odessa attending balls, concerts, and romancing women was the official accusation. Mickiewicz and his friends spent about six months in a cell of the Basilian Monastery that had been converted into a prison (where they sang at the top of their lungs and drank, as the poet later recounted in his “Forefathers’ Eve Part III”). The punishment meted out to them was an official order to leave Lithuania and travel to Russia. This was an oddly light sentence given that some of their friends had already been shipped straight to Siberia for similar infractions. Moreover, Mickiewicz was allowed to choose his destination, where he was to be given a lower level bureaucratic position. The idea was not as foolish as it may seem – those sorts of credentialed foreigners were easier to monitor than unregistered migrants. He thus traveled from the provin-


iewicz swiftly began appearing in company (chiefly female) and befriending the local intelligentsia with displays of his radical convictions. For this he was indeed applauded as a rising literary star. He spoke good Russian in the cafes and good French in the salons and could even improvise poetry in both languages, though it is perhaps for the best that no one ever summoned the courage to write any of it down. However, he would not have long to play the celebrity. The young poet was, as the saying goes, a thorn in the side of people in high places (was his budding career sabotaged by jealous fellow writers or mistrustful pandering locals?), for in early 1825, Mickiewicz packed his bags for a fateful vacation. This time he headed off to the Black Sea on the request of the lo-

cal police, who instead of having him arrested offered him the opportunity to fill the post of middle-school teacher, with a steady salary and full-time security from appointed guards. He was meant to teach Latin and Greek in the local Cardinal Richelieu secondary school. Yet by some miracle when he arrived he was told that this school for the sons of the local elite had no vacancies. Especially when it came to the hiring of charismatic teachers who held fervently anti-Russian opinion. Thus condemned to unemployment, the prisoner was instead provided with a home and sustenance, and the annual salary of a teacher to boot. As he would write to his friends in Poland: “They pay us to eat oranges.” Odessa in those days was a relatively small city without decent sidewalks, but it was a port town that harbored ships from all over the world. The Italian opera and the French theater provided the illusion that one was still in Europe, while the Jewish and Greek shops stuffed with goods from faraway colonies provided the feeling that one was far abroad; the British sailors and Italian merchants could speak their own languages in the local brothels. In those days there was a substantial Polish community residing in the city that included several adventure-seekers as well as a larger number of realists in search of money. Among the latter was one Doctor Bosznak, who feigned being a botanist while in fact informing on his countrymen to the Czar’s secret police. Practicing this vocation he was not alone. An anecdote best reflects the social position of such intellectuals. One day, the poet ran into Bosznak at a party; seeing

Odessa Literature


Odessa Literature

this generally humble bureaucrat hung with medals, he turned to his employer and said (in French, naturally): “I always thought he spent his days catching flies.” To which the other replied: “Of course, we use [those men] to catch flies of all sorts.” Still, we must confess that these informers did a great service to Polish history, as without them we would know very little about the Odessa sojourn of our national poet. Mickiewicz spent the bulk of his time in Odessa attending balls, concerts, and romancing women. This we know from his cycle of twenty-two sonnets, which reads to a contemporary reader like the diary of a seducer. Though erotically saturated, these sonnets are really brief genre scenes, brilliantly rendering the flow of life in the most un-Russian of 19th-century Russian cities. Always known for his lasciviousness, Mickiewicz systematically lists his aristocratic conquests as well as the local courtesans, fully conscious that they are one and the same. He was as unhampered by the local ascetic Polish patriots as he was by the Czar’s disciplined bureaucrats, for this town was most evidently ruled by women. Yet the young poet’s amorous adventures go beyond pure sex. Read in our day, these bitterly realistic versified novellas might be seen as a study of a male/female psychodrama, detailed analysis of the complex feelings and sophisticated language of love. Neither Freud, nor Lacan, nor even Woody Allen would have been ashamed to write them. Late that summer, Adam Mickiewicz took a trip to the Crimea along with a group of friends; one was a Russian general and another was a spy on the payroll of the secret police. He was invited along by Karolina Sobańska – formally the wife of a rich entrepreneur with connections to a Petersburg manor (today we might call him an “oligarch”), officially the lover of the Czar’s namiestnik to the southern provinces. She was an open admirer of the young Pole from Lithuania. This was indeed a lady from the upper crust, from the Rzewuska house, one of Poland’s foremost aristocratic families, while her sister Ewelina, primo voto Hańska, was to become Balzac’s wife. She too moonlighted as an informer, but we should add that this was


done more for the romance of adventure rather than any cynical calculation. Fortunately, joining them was her brother, Wacław Rzewuski, a brilliant writer, and the only trustworthy figure in this group. He provided an opportunity to converse in Polish, and also to eat and drink copiously; he was also probably the one paying for the whole outing. Mickiewicz must have felt superb in this company. He had someone to admire (power had always impressed him) and someone to despise (in the company of bureaucrats he suddenly recalled his noble upbringing), one of the empire’s foremost courtesans was fawning over him (and paying him with flattering reports), and his companion and sponsor was a capital wit. At scarcely twenty-eight, he was an admired artist, though he had written only two books of poetry; in ad-

warmed the heart of the Polish patriot, because they were the most reliable signs of the peninsula’s heartbeat, though it had been conquered by the Russians forty years before traveling to the Crimea, Mickiewicz had hoped for a spiritual adventure. And we might suppose that he got what he was looking for. Upon returning to Odessa he wrote to a friend: “I have seen the Orient in miniature.” The result was the Crimean Sonnets cycle, a brilliant epic about an inspired debutant maturing to become a conscious artist. Yet, between the frivolous recollections of the Odessa salons and boudoirs, Mickiewicz consistently adds a touch of bitterness: a sense of being alienated among the frosty women, and the memory of the imperial diplomats’ undisguised contempt for an oversensitive provincial

He was as unhampered by the local ascetic Polish patriots as he was by the Czar’s disciplined bureaucrats, for this town was most evidently ruled by women. dition he had the glory of a martyr (he was despite all the pleasure still officially serving out a punishment) and a revolutionary (who are in all times adored by society ladies) and famed in Petersburg’s finest circles. The journey to Crimea was not meant to be just another pleasure trip however, such as our jovial martyr had already taken numerous times to support the national cause. This time the writer had planned it to make his dreams come true – even if these dreams were painfully stereotypical. The area was extraordinarily beautiful, the nature wild. The mysterious buildings scattered about the steppe and the rocky ravines inspired the imagination of the Romantic besotted with “Orientalism,” which was still all the rage in Paris. Meanwhile, the ruins of the Ottoman palaces, the Tartar mosques, the Byzantine churches, the Genoan fortresses, and the grave of a Polish aristocrat must have

from a conquered country. Ultimately, Odessa would remain in his memory a land of cosmopolitan, cynical bon vivants, where an ambitious young man with dreams of climbing the social ladder was given a jarring life lesson. It was perhaps for this very reason that he pooled his fierce ambition to show the world what he was truly made of. At the end of his stay in the south he began writing an epic poem about a great traitor who hoodwinked the empire. When, a few months later, enjoying himself again in Moscow, he published his “Konrad Wallenrod”, the Czar sent the police after him, and his countrymen accused him of combating the enemy with unethical methods. Luckily, Mickiewicz managed to board a ship, fleeing through Germany and Switzerland to Rome, where another lover awaited him.

Odessa Cinema

Odessa In The Frame By Regina Maryanovska - Davidzon

Our beloved port city is very often praised as the “pearl of the sea’’ and holds a primary place in cinematic history

Our beloved port city is very often praised as the “pearl of the sea’’ and holds a primary place in cinematic history. After first training in Paris, the cameraman Miron Grossman opened up the first film studio in the city in oder to represent the French company “Gaumon” on Deribasovska 18. Five years later, by 1912, he was ready to equip his brother’s first film studio ‘’Mirograf’’, which was the first in the country to use a glass pavilion to maximize available daylight. In fact it is proximity to the sea and the large quantity of sunny days annually which makes Odessa economically attractive for Filmmakers from other cities. This was the original reason that so many private film studios opened up shop here in the early formative days of film. It was thus that one of the largest film makers Kharkov, Dmitry Kharitonov built his studio on the French Boulevard, 33. It was specifically designed for filming Vera Kholodnaya, that most tragic of early silent film stars.


After the Bolshevik nationalization and unification of all the film studios, they were all rolled into one state film studio and renamed the “Odessa Film Studio” in 1922. Directors who used it create their work included such giants as Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov and Alexander Dovzhenko. It is through their films that Odessa was forever inscribed into the history books of world cinema. Odessa also became a dependable platform for Soviet film adaptations of classics of world literature. Depending on the plot of the film the city streets might be stand ins for Naples, Paris, London or even transformed into alleys in seedy towns in the America Wild West. Apart from being directors of Russian judges Odessa flavor for the production of telenovelas, in Odessa such films as “Deja Vu”, directed by Juliusz Machulski (the Polish-Soviet co-production), “The Legend of the Pianist,” director Giuseppe Tornatore Tim Roth in the lead role; episode of Hollywood blockbuster “Transformers 3” dir. Olivier Megaton, produced by Luc Besson, as well as Odessa appears in several frames in the film “Everything Is Illuminated,” based on the book by Jonathan Safran Feuer, with Elijah Wood and Eugene Hutz (Gogol Bordeleau) starring. But Nana Jorjadze withdrew his film “My mermaid, my Lorelyay” in Odessa and the Odessa region, Oleg Skripka and Catherine Molchanova starring. Yet, modern day Odessa is not merely a space for visiting Russian productions of

soap operas, the city has in recent times been the setting of multiple foreign films. These include ‘’Deja Vu”, directed by Polish director Juliusz Machulski, Giuseppe Tornatore’s “The Legend of the 1900” with Tim Roth in the lead role as well as the latest episode of the Hollywood blockbuster “Transformers” series. Odessa also appears in several frames of “Everything Is Illuminated,” which was based on the hit novel by Jonathan Safran Foer (and included star turns by Elijah Wood and Eugene Hutz of Gogol Bordello fame). Most recently, Georgian film legend Nana Jorjadze shot her latest effort “My mermaid, My Lorelai” in Odessa and the Odessa region. That film starred rockstar Oleg Skripka and the rising starlet Yekaterina Molchanova. Odessa’s role in cinema production is far from ancient history however. In November of 2014 the Odessa Film Studio was the setting of the shooting of director Artem Antonchenko’s short film “Alexander Dovzhenko. Odessa Dawn”. Alena Demyanenko, director of the forthcoming film “My Grandmother Fanny Kaplan” (which also features Molchanova in the lead) chose the Gribovka village in Odessa region as the shooting location for it’s seaside scenes. We are confident that the ‘Palmyra of the South’ will continue to inspire filmmakers from around the world and will rightly continue to be the ‘Ukrainian Hollywood’.

Odessa Cinema

Man with a Movie Camera Kuyalnik

Battleship “Potemkin” Potemkin stairs

The Tuner Deribasivska Street

Striped trip, The Gold Calf Arkadiya

Operation Y and Shurik’s Other Adventures 22, Frantsuzsky Boulevard

Deja vu Bristol hotel (Red)

The Transporter-3; The Legend of 1900 the Odessa’s seaport

The Trust That Has Burst; We are from Jazz, D’Artagnan and Three Musketeers – Vorontsovsky Lane

Old Khottabych Shevchenko/Gagarina Avenue

Liquidation 21, Kolontayevska Street

The Green Van Gogolya Street

The prisoner of Château d’If Odessa National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet

Lone white sail 5, Kachinskoho Street

Art of living in Odessa 1, Gen. Tsvetaeva

My Mermaid, my Lorelei Otrada beach

Three Stories Marinesko descent

Million in a marriage basket Roman Catholic Church, 5, Havanna Street

Everything is illuminated the Airport


Odessa Art

Mikhail Braykevich: Mayor, Engineer, Patron of the Arts and Fulfilled Man By Inna Naydis

While it stuns with its host of brilliant artists and scientists, its unique European architecture and its ineffable mythology. Yet Odessa’s greatest treasure is undoubtedly it’s human capital, the individuals who have forged this city. Among them are such remarkable personalities as the Duc de Richileu, J. De Ribas, Count Langeron, Marazli, Vorontsov, the family of Count Tolstoy, and numerous entrepreneur families with names such as Stieglitz, Rafailovitch, Brodsky. It is owing to them that Odessa has achieved its status as a great cultural and economic success. However, among this list of stellar characters is one man whose name is now unfortunately known only in narrow specialist circles. This was Odessa’s last pre-Soviet mayor: Mikhail Vasilievich Braykevich. Mikhail Braykevich, a Russian nobleman by birth, was a graduate of the St. Petersburg Institute of Railway Engineering in 1896. The institute conferred upon its stu-

Odessa’s last mayor under the Tzar was born in the city in 1847 and died in London exile in 1940. He was a remarkably energetic and talented man and a great patron of the arts.

Konstantin Somov Portrait of M. Braykevich

Braykevich became mayor at a time when, in his own words, “the specter of bloody slaughter” haunted Odessa dents both a general diploma and a military rank of Lieutenant. After graduating, Braykevich went on to apply the skills he acquired with his degree working on an impressively wide array of projects. These included the erecting of port structures in


Libava (the process of building the port’s drawbridge involved the participation of Gustav Eiffel himself), the building of a dreadnought at the Nikolaevsky dockyard (anyone familiar with the specifics of building a dreadnought will understand

the immensity of this task), and completing the construction of the Eyskaya railroad in an incredibly short time (this railroad was critically necessary for Russian transport of grain to Europe). Back in the capital, Braykevich worked at the engineering firm of A. Bunge – during the summer, he would leave on the office’s orders to participate in the construction of the Trans-Siberian railroad, and during winters he worked on projects in St. Petersburg and Moscow. In 1911, a short while after marrying the daughter of the owner of the, Sofia Andreyevna, Braykevich, he became the head of the Bunge firm’s Odessa branch office. He soon became the head of both the Odessa branch of the Russian Technological Society and the Odessa Military-Industrial Committee. Soon after, he would also add Vice-President of the Odessa Fine Arts Society to his remarkable collection of titles. He used the power granted him by this position to institute an annual 5,000 ruble grant for exceptional students of the Odessa Art Institute. Braykevich also became an important patron of the Museum of Fine Arts and began collecting art, especially favoring painters who belonged to the “Mir Iskusstva” (World of Art) artist association. His main guiding principles in purchasing art works was his impeccable taste and intuition. During his visits to

Odessa Art

Zinaida Serebriakova Self portrait in the coustume of Pierrot


Odessa Art

St. Petersburg he continued to make additions to his collection, supported and encouraged local artists, commissioning and purchasing works from them. Braykevich provided invaluable assistance to his government and native city during the First World War and the Revolution that followed. He actively participated in the All-Russian Land and City Union (known as “Zemgor”) helping to provide aid to the wounded. Later he as-

Upon his return to Odessa, Braykevich would again assume the post of mayor. During a period of constant turbulent

Braykevich did not abandon his social and civic duty responsibility while living in England

Mikhail Vrubel Portrait of M. Tinisheva sumed the responsibilities of heading the Council on Fuel as well as serving as the Naval Transport Commissar. Braykevich became mayor at a time when, in his own words, “ the specter of bloody slaughter” haunted Odessa. For more than two years, his efforts held the city’s economy together and prevented it from falling apart. In 1917, the Provisional government appointed Braykevich as Comrade Trade Minister, and he left Odessa – alone and unaccompanied by his family. Though he would soon submit his resignation, due to “irreconcilable differences” with his immediate superior.


of Fine Arts of the Novorussian (Odessa) University. By that time the collection numbered over 100 works, including woks by Valentin Serov, Zinaida Serebryakova,

shifts of power, he not only managed to save the city from anarchy and total collapse, but also insisted on the opening of the long planned Polytechnic Institute. Braykevich also both edited and published the “Economist” magazine, printed in both Russian and English up until 1920. In October 1919, having realistically appraised the situation in the country, Braykevich, together with his family, decided to leave Odessa and resettle in the London suburb of Golden Green. Before his departure, he bequeathed 300 books on architecture and engineering, as well as his collection of paintings to the Museum

Mikhail Vrubel and 80 paintings by his beloved Konstantin Somov. In 1921, the paintings were transferred to the Odessa Art Museum, becoming the crowning jewel of its Russian collection. For his part Braykevich settled in Golden Green with his wife, two daughters and son. In those years, the London suburb was undergoing major civil and industrial development. His skill and experience made him an in-demand engineer: he supervised the construction of a large residential quarter in London. Once settled in England, he also resumed collecting art – once again paying special attention to and devotedly helping - the “World of Art” painters, many of whom were also living in emigration in Paris and London. Braykevich did not abandon his social and civic duty responsibility while living in England – he was an active member of the Russian Society of England and various other philanthropic organizations which provided help and support to the Russian émigré diaspora. He traveled through England, France, and Germany and in every city he passed through and helped support his former artist friends. Braykevich’s second art collection, begun after his relocation to England, would later be transferred by his children to the Ashmolean Oxford Museum. This collection included a rare copy of “Military Parade of Emperor Paul I in front of Mikhailovsky Castle” which Alexander Benoit painted for Braykevich 32 years after having completed the original. The transfer of the collection had only one pre- condition – that it would not be broken up. This was Braykevich last great act of patronage and ensured that the Western world would be familiar with Russian art.

Odessa Art


Odessa Fashion

Odessa Designer Julie Paskal by Yulia Malikova

Founded by the vivacious 26-year-old designer Julie Paskal, the eponymous brand has become one of the brightest names in the Ukrainian fashion world. Paskal’s brand has also gone way beyond the local market, and ballooned to become an international sensation, garnering the Odessa native international recognition. In 2014 Paskal was included on the short-list for the LVMH Prize. Last year she was honored to have her 2016 collection featured in the display window at Colette`s in Paris. Finally, this past March she became the first Ukrainian designer ever to have a solo show in the official lineup of the Paris Fashion Week. Consequently, the new PASKAL FW16/17 collection will be represented in more than fifty stores worldwide. Remarkably, this story of dashing success and a meteoric rise to the highest levels of fashion took place over three years of what she freely admits was very hard work.


Has Broken Out To World Wide Success

Born to an Odessa family of scientists, Julie was raised in a creative environment. Her mother, a physicist with an artistic soul, engaged the girl in all kinds of artistic activities and supported her ambitions up to the moment when Julie wanted to try herself out as designer. It was not until she was a student at Kyiv National University of Building and Architecture however that she would decide to dedicate her efforts to sewing a few pairs of dresses. Her mother was the one to help her find the only laser-cut machine in the city. At that time Julie was just obsessed with an idea of making something no one was making. Who would have known five years ago that the laser-cut print would become her indisputable signature?

Remarkably, this story of dashing success and a meteoric rise to the highest levels of fashion took place over just three years She began making her annual trips to Paris in 2013, immediately getting a fair amount of attention from buyers. “My first steps were so timorous that if I had studied to be a designer, it simply wouldn’t count, would have not have gone anywhere” Julie recounts “Now, though I do think that things could have gone faster, I wouldn’t change a thing. There was a time when nothing was going happening, so I worked industriously to master the necessary skills, just trying to figure out how things worked. You always need to have that base down before you can grow big”. Julie believes that in the past three years she has become more mature and confident in her craft and more self conscious of what it is that she is doing. Perhaps, it is no coincidence that sales have multiplied by a factor of ten. Of course the respect and approval that she has garnered from such fashion world personas as Sarah Endelman and Sarah Mower are useful for realizing that she is on the right track. For her the main issue now is to work to maintain the level that she has performed at her Paris debut, which is no insignificant task.

Odessa Fashion

Today the brand produces four collections a year. While that pace is considered to be the norm for a recognized and established brand but, it is a frenetic and time-consuming goal for a novice team. Apart from creating the designs, Julie also runs a small factory with her partner, where everything has to be perfectly attuned with her vision – the interior, atmosphere and the furnishing are minutely observed. “Clothes carry hidden vibrations” Julie assures us “so it’s very important to know where the item was produced and by whom.” Working with her close friends and loved ones is very important for her. Her mother helps with the show production and her brother is firmly engaged in technical issues. The fatal flaw in her ideally-built career, however is the same in Ukraine as it is everywhere else. It is that most modern issue of the life/work balance. Julie is a mother of two children: a three and a half year-old daughter and a year old son. Living between Odessa and Kyiv requires constant travel as well late nights and myriad personal sacrifices. Julie tries to spend every spare moment outside of work with her husband and children. Lying on the sofa at home or walking on the beach is the relaxation of the highest level, let alone it’s the only one available for now. “Sometimes I get sad that I hardly have any free time” she admits. “There is no time for music, for books, for parties. Even if we occasionally do go out to a party, we’ll

She is also motivated by the heady spirit of civil society that has spread across Ukraine over the last two years discuss it for about a month afterward, because it seems like such a big deal when it used to be something ordinary. I feel too busy and am always too distracted from my self. This is the only thing that discourages me.” Of course this is the price of success. Those small and carefully husbanded joys of everyday life however become the main source of inspiration for her collections. Julie does not focus on the conventional way of conducting fashion research, such as hunting for minute references and creating massive mood boards. She filters the essence from the natural flow of her life as if it were occurring unintentionally. She is also motivated by the heady spirit of civil society that has spread across Ukraine over the last two years. `It’s not that complicated. You


just have to try hard. Especially now when our country is so full of people with a young spirit and a desire to do something good. That is to say, merely to work for money, but for the sake of doing something great. So many people are engaged and this synergy is so inspiring. I feel like this is the future!` she enthuses. For herself, Julie does have committed plans for the future these include starting a kids clothing line and adding lingerie to her adult collections. Both possibilities seem equally attractive, though perhaps both also remain tantalizingly out of reach: she does not have the time to sew for her own children – piles of fabric bought especially for her kids sit waiting idly for the right moment. While she dreams of the small things, success feeds on routine. But when one is in the midst of a creative flow there is no time to stop, no matter how busy or exhausted one might be. At the same time, the value of small things grows the busier that we get and when something does get accomplished, it can feel as big and grand and overwhelming as that show in Paris.


The First Mobile Beauty App by MARAMAX

In April of 2016, MARAMAX GROUP presented MARAMAX, an innovative mobile beauty app which is now available for download in the App Store. This electronic assistant will make sure that YOU will be the only one managing your own time! Three of the company’s brands: marAmax, MARA team, and M.Street have been consolidated into one convenient electronic booking platform. After downloading the app, clients of any one of the salon chains will be able to make appointments in the salon of their choice, choose the date, time, desired service, and beauty professional they would like to work with. Using the built-in secure payment system, you will also be able to pay electronically and reserve your spot for your individualized beauty treatment! Today when the App Store is saturated with millions of apps, it seems that quantity has far surpassed quality. The developers of the MARAMAX app have taken extensive care to ensure an end result which is efficient and easy to use. We strongly recommend listing the MARAMAX app on your screen’s Top 5! You also do not have to be a client of the MARAMAX GROUP or even a resident of Odessa to enjoy the benefits of the MARAMAX app. Anybody who is traveling through Odessa, whether for business or pleasure, can use the Beauty Bot to find salons and schedule appointments for personal and beauty care. Before you even arrive to your appointment, the app will familiarize you with the services offered by the salon, the professional who will be working with you, and most importantly – the exact budget you will spend on your desired services. An automated registration and appointment process is only one of the innovative features which will make your experience in the MARAMAX chain of salons as comfortable and pleasant as possible.




Odessa Business

EBA: Supporting The Growth Of Ukrainian SMEs Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are widely regarded as engines of economic development in most developed economies, accounting for a large portion of wealth creation and tax contributions. Small businesses can serve as a key driver in the development of the Ukrainian economy but business climate does not currently cater for SME expansion.

tional influences. However, the business climate for SMEs can still be unwelcoming. Efforts are currently underway to support the growth of the SME sector, with small and medium-sized businesses offered beneficial regulatory terms and easier registration. These concessions however are only part of the requirements needed by SMEs. One of the key problems

The Unlimit Ukraine Project seeks to support small and micro business development in Ukraine, and is an example of the kind of efforts currently underway to boost this underdeveloped segment of the Ukrainian economy

understandably evolved around a model of working with larger companies, with service providers often tailoring their products to suit big-budget customers and major enterprises. This can make catering for SMEs problematic and can lead to additional obstacles when seeking to start a new venture on a minimal budget. The European Business Association (EBA) has recently begun a new initiative to help support the growth of the SME sector. The Unlimit Ukraine Project seeks

As Ukraine looks to modernize its economy and expand further into global markets, the SME sector is emerging as a key focus where huge room for development remains. There is certainly no shortage of SME activity or initiatives in the country – especially in cities like Odessa, with its long history as a dynamic, mercantile center and it’s wealth of interna-

to support small and micro business development in Ukraine, and is an example of the kind of efforts currently underway to boost this underdeveloped segment of the Ukrainian economy. Key areas where SME entrepreneurs typically lack sufficient resources include marketing, advertising, management consulting, and brand development. There


many startups in today’s Ukraine face is the lack of initial resources in order to get a good idea off the ground. Many lack the basic business infrastructure and capital in order to successfully grow their business. There are also issues regarding the lack of services specifically geared towards SMEs. Over the past 25 years, the Ukrainian business environment has

Odessa Business

are plenty of companies providing these services on the Ukrainian market, but their services tend to be far beyond the budgets of many SMEs, while the services themselves are often designed to suit larger companies with more comprehensive needs. In order to address this lack of suitable service provision, the Unlimit Ukraine project has created a platform for small

They also need to be ready to work in line with European standards. At present, 115 companies have already registered to participate in the project. The project has produced a catalogue of Ukrainian producers featuring companies that meet the project conditions, along with a catalogue of recommended suppliers – young companies recommended by EBA member companies.

The authors of the EBA initiative explain that they have sought to focus on the need to keep the support they offer as practical as possible

and micro businesses where project participants can receive the necessary knowhow and exchange crucial real-time experience with each other. Everything works on the principle of exchange and sharing. Representatives from large and medium-sized businesses provide access to their experience and offer effective strategies for the growth and development of small businesses. It is a community seeking to foster favorable conditions for young and ambitious companies with the drive to succeed but without the experience to build a successful business model from scratch. The Unlimit Ukraine Project started in January 2016 and will continue into 2017 with the possibility of further extension should it prove popular and effective. The project is open to young and ambitious entrepreneurs who produce high-quality goods or services in Ukraine. Participating businesses need to be transparent and not more than seven years old.

The authors of the EBA initiative explain that they have sought to focus on the need to keep the support they offer as practical as possible. Participating SMEs are generally at the earliest stages of development and need to receive practical support and access to educational tools, networking events and workshops. The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement between Ukraine and the EU, which came fully into effect in January 2016, provides the Unlimit Ukraine Project with additional impetus, creating new opportunities for Ukrainian SMEs to seek out new markets and develop startup partnerships. The EBA has coordinated a number of events to support this aspect of the Unlimit Ukraine Project, including a workshop dedicated to the practical aspects of export-import operations conducted by experts from Ukraine’s Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. Project participants have also taken part in seminars on the subject of grants

that are currently available from the Ukrainian government, EU delegation to Ukraine, EBRD and United Nations Development Program in Ukraine in order to support the growth of SMEs. Additionally, during the March visit to Ukraine of Netherlands Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen, eight Unlimit Ukraine participants were able to meet personally with the minister and present their products. A number of initiatives have also been held to provide Unlimit Ukraine project participants with media coverage. The next stage will take place in May 2016, with participating companies invited to attract mentoring support from the CEOs of the largest EBA member companies.

In addition to educational and networking activities, within the contest “Announce Your Business”, which lasted from the beginning of January till the end of March, 20 Unlimit Ukraine companies received media-coverage of their products in the Internet free of charge. Ukraine’s economic growth may well depend on the development of the SME sector. The possibilities for expansion are huge, but at present, the environment is not designed to specifically support SMEs and requires additional improvements. Initiatives like the EBA’s Unlimit Ukraine Project are part of this process and offer a welcome support base for Ukrainian SMEs. The Odessa region has a key role to play in this process, and can provide a model for SME development elsewhere in the country.

by Kateryna Dermenzhi Unlimit Ukraine Project Manager


Odessa Business

Can IT Sector Growth Drive The New Ukrainian Economy? By Christopher Peter Isajiw

Christopher P. Isajiw is a management consultant to private, government, and non-governmental organizations in the areas of business, marketing, trade development, capacity building and strategy. He writes about international relations and business.

Today’s Ukraine often finds itself in the international news for all the wrong reasons, but amid the headlines of hybrid war with Russia, economic crisis, and continuing post-Soviet corruption, there are alternative narratives that hint at a more positive outlook. The most encouraging sector of the Ukrainian economy is currently the IT industry, which is growing at a rapid rate despite facing highly unfavorable circumstances. The rise of Ukraine as an IT superpower is a story of playing to the country’s strengths and making the most of its human capital. With the right encouragement, the IT sector could now go on to become an engine for broader change and development throughout the Ukrainian economy. Any country with a struggling economy, which is also in the midst of a war like Ukraine will have to look for creative and innovative ways to be competitive and leverage its tight resources to compete in the global market place. Ukraine must also find specific ways to do things comparatively well at lower costs and to capitalize on it’s

There is definite room for further growth in Ukraine’s thriving tech sector other specialized advantages. Human capital is arguably Ukraine’s strongest competitive advantage, and this wealth of talent is driving the country’s IT revolution. Attention-grabbing success stories abound. Ukraine has produced innovative companies like Viewdle, a pioneer in facial recognition technology for E-commerce, which was acquired by Google in 2012. Then there is the world’s number three job hunting search engine Jooble.


Odessa Business

It is estimated that Ukraine currently has around 50,000 software engineers and 100,000 IT professionals. Those numbers have made Ukraine into a popular destination for large tech companies to set up research and development centers. Samsung, for example, was already employing over 1,000 people in the Ukrainian branch of it’s office in 2014. The Ukrainian IT outsourcing industry has been growing 27% annually in recent years, five times faster than the global average. Ukraine also has a very well developed IT and Tech networking community and numerous incubators. One such startup accelerator is WannaBiz which was founded in 2012 in Odessa as a tech hardware incubator, and is now located in Kyiv. Another entrepreneurial success story is the incubator and tech hardware accelerator Carrot - which was one of the first tech hardware incubators of its kind in Ukraine. One of Carrot’s success stories has been PetCube, a Ukraine-developed device that allows pet owners to remotely play with their pets when they are away from home. Ukraine also has its own crowd-funding ventures like FISON, and startup support and networking organizations like Start Up Ukraine and Kyiv Working to name but a few. The growth of the Ukrainian IT sector has only become an international business news story over the past couple of years – partly because of the contrast it offers to the gloomy coverage of the ongoing conflict in east Ukraine. However, this IT expansion has been taking place for far longer. There are numerous reasons why Ukraine is able to occupy a leading position in the global IT market. In Kyiv for example, there are to be found an impressive number of excellent technical schools and universities. Many of these are well known for their prowess in teaching technology and IT, producing many of the graduates that are part of the new business class.

Odessa itself boasts a flourishing IT industry. The sector provides employment for more than 8,000 people, or just under 3% of the total working population of the city. Lviv also has a large pool of top universities and produces over 25% of all IT specialists in Ukraine. With the number of IT graduates increasing each year, Lviv is considered a leading educational center in Ukraine and one of the largest in Cen-

the tech and IT sectors. While some are global players, most are small- and medium-sized enterprises. This gives Ukraine an excellent resource and competitive advantage by having leveraged a comparative strength, but there are some definite areas for improvement. In thriving developed economies like the United States and many nations of the EU, it is generally agreed that SMEs are key economic inno-

The growth of the Ukrainian IT sector has only become an international business news story over the past couple of years tral and Eastern Europe, with 38 higher education institutions. Lviv also enjoys Ukraine’s closest geographic proximity to EU countries. Lviv also highlights the benefits of IT infrastructure co-operation between municipal government, local higher education institutions, and the private sector. For example in 2011 the Lviv IT Cluster was created to facilitate co-operation between businesses, local city authorities and universities to build a comprehensive IT-focused trade and business development strategy for the city. At the same time, this has increased the quality of the talent pool and attracted companies to the region. Some notable success stories of these efforts are companies like software consulting firm ELEKS and outsourcing global player SoftServe, which are leading firms in global IT outsourcing and have offices in multiple countries. Ukraine has leveraged its advanced education system and human capital talent regionally and nationally as a comparative advantage to offer competitive pricing in the global outsourcing market. In some cases, it has been doing so for quite some time before the current crisis. Clearly, Ukraine has a well-developed and promising new entrepreneurial class in

vators and job creators. It can definitely be argued that Ukraine’s path forward in economic terms lies in the further growth of SMEs. In the eyes of most foreign investors, these enterprises that are the most attractive. There is definite room for further growth in Ukraine’s thriving tech sector. One major weakness in the IT and tech sector is that many startups struggle to obtain further rounds of capital funding from interested Ukrainian investors after they have reached mid-stage growth. They are often forced to look abroad for funding or even move their offices out of Ukraine to set up shop in the United States or the EU. While this is great for their growth, it is bad for Ukraine’s overall economic development as it results in a de facto brain drain of talent. More could be done at the level of further co-operation between businesses and universities and schools, as well as local, state, and the national government. Concerted efforts should also be made to make setting up and growing IT businesses easier. Ukraine’s IT sector is here to stay, but the country’s authorities must make sure they get the most out of what is potentially a game-changing sector of the economy.


Odessa Tourism

An Interview With Ivan Liptuga, Odessa’s Tourism Guru Ivan Liptuga, President of the Odessa Tourism Association, and a Director of Tourism & Resorts Department Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine Discusses the Future

Odessa Review: What methods of attracting foreign tourism to Odessa do you envision for 2016? Ivan Liptuga: There are many ways of attracting tourists, and they change according to the season. Odessa has always enjoyed a great influx of tourists during the summer season. Just the sun and sea alone were enough to fill up Odessa hotels to 95% capacity most summers. Up until 2013, the tourist demographic breakdown in Odessa looked something like this: 70% from the Russian Federation, 20% from within Ukraine, and 10% from other countries. In the last two years, for obvious reasons, the Odessa tourist demographic has changed. Now, we mostly have fellow Ukrainians, Moldovans, Belarusians, Turks and a smaller percentage of tourists which represents a mélange of other nationalities. These tourists have a somewhat different price range – they need re-


alistic services, a different level of entertainment. But this is not entirely a negative development – the diversified tourist flow has given Odessa a sort of wake-up call. After years of easy, almost guaranteed revenue, the standards had become somewhat lax – now Odessa is holding itself to a higher standard of quality and revamping the range of tourist services that it offers. So and many decisions are being implemented which will make our city even more attractive and welcoming to guests. OR: What problems have you encountered while working in the Odessa hospitality industry? What solutions do you envision for these problems? IL: The main problem that we have, which unfortunately surfaces periodically – is the political provocations aimed at destabilizing our city and the media buzz which is artificially created about it. Now, when tourism marketing for Ukraine overseas is almost non-existent, these negative events become virtually the only source of information foreigners have about Ukraine, which creates a very distorted picture. Our politicians, in their constant pursuit of popularity, are not realizing the irreparable damage they are caus-

Ukrainian tourism industry right now. Another problem is the still somewhat underdeveloped state of our infrastructure, first and foremost the state of the very roads that the tourists need to use to get here. Unfortunately, the repairs critically necessary to the main highways seem to be happening on paper only. We also need to finish construction of an updated airport terminal, seeing as the terminal Odessa has now is quite outdated by international standards. The city’s infrastructure – especially informational infrastructure – must be made up to date in every way possible. It is also necessary to construct navigational stands, which tourists can use to orient themselves in the city, street signs and waypoints in multiple languages, which will make foreign tourists comfortable exploring the city on their own. Our third problem is the service industry. Unfortunately, Odessa lacks in some areas a certain “culture of hospitality” which exists in other European tourist destinations. For example, a knowledge of English and/or another foreign language is a requirement for employment in hotels. However, taxi services, museums, clubs, supermarkets, and malls do not meet this requirement, and finding service personnel with foreign language skills can be rare in these settings. This makes it uncomfortable, and at times impossible for a tourist to navigate the city without an interpreter. Some in the hospitality industry give the

We want to “market” Odessa as a city of inspiration – because this is the reality ing to our country’s image both as a tourist destination and an investment opportunity. It’s not uncommon for some of these officials to organize staged “protests” with paid attendants in their own self-serving interests. Things like this are an instant turn-off for tourists – these politicians are harming their own country by participating in actions such as these. Peace and security are the most important factors for the growth of the

excuse that most of our tourists are either internal or Russian-speaking, but this excuse won’t hold up if we want to expand foreign tourism. This situation needs to change. OR: What, besides the city’s rich history, does Odessa have to offer to a foreign tourist? How is the city and its attractions “advertised”? IL: All tourists enjoy being entertained. To make it easier to find out what interesting activities are

Odessa Tourism

available in Odessa, we created a unified calendar of events: Odessa 365. It includes all the festivals, cultural, athletic, musical, and all other types of events happening in the city. It also includes a listing of the business forums. We want to “market” Odessa as a city of inspiration – because this is the reality. It’s not just a pretty slogan – although it is that also – it reflects Odessa’s real atmosphere, which is unique and inspirational. Odessa’s myth, it’s charms, don’t have to be artificially created – they were formed over the years by Pushkin, Gogol, Babel, Ilf and Petrov, Paustovsky, Kataev, Olesha, Akhmatova, Inber, Kirsanov, Bagritsky, Kuprin, Zhvanetsky…and these are only some of the great authors who contributed to Odessa’s name. This city has an established character. Today, unfortunately, Odessa’s deep roots in world culture – in literature, science, music, medicine, cinema, sports…you don’t very often see them being used to the city’s advantage, and if they are, it is often in a primitive, superficial sort of way. For example, an inextricable part of the Odessa mythos is the typical Odessa courtyard. This place, so ubiquitous to those that live here, was the origin for so many traits Odessa is known for – its language, a combination of Slavic, Romantic and Germanic dialects; its cuisine which combined the recipes of the Mediterranean, Europe, and Asia – and its style, a synthesis of countless different cultures and fashions. The press licenser K. Zelensky, who lived in Odessa in the 19th century once remarked: “Life in Odessa offers all the comforts of a province combined with all the advantages of a capital”. You can confirm this observation for yourself by simply looking around Odessa – from the courtyards to the center. It was Odessa’s courtyards – the provincial part – which played a formative role in the city’s character, mindset, worldview…they contributed greatly to the myth that exists around Odessa. Odessa also has a very distinct world compared to other cities. It’s a beautiful city not only to vacation in, but to live in – it’s truly a city of love and inspiration. OR: What would make a foreign tourist want to choose Odessa as a destination on their Ukraine trip over a city like Lviv, for example? IL: Well, why should they choose one over the other? I think they should visit both Odessa and Lviv! OR: What does the city need in order to become a

truly popular European tourist destination? IL: In my opinion, three basic things: systematic marketing, infrastructure, and a serious and well-organized tourism industry which can prepare qualified hospitality and service staff. OR: What would you say about the price point of vacationing in Odessa, as compared to other popular tourist destinations in Ukraine? IL: I would say it is nothing if not affordable! I wouldn’t say there is a big difference in price point between Odessa and, say, Lviv. Kyiv is more expensive, of course, but that is too expected from

West? IL: At the Department of Resorts and Tourism we are very involved in the systemic development of the Ukrainian tourism industry. Unfortunately, it has been quite hard getting the “powers that be” to pay attention to this sector of our economy, which, for the past 25 years, has slowly declined instead of showing growth. Tourism gets 0% from the government budget! This is why most of our efforts are currently aimed at consolidating markets and attracting investors. OR: What is your forecast for Odessa’s 2016 tour-

The city’s infrastructure – especially informational infrastructure – must be made up to date in every way possible the capital of a country. In any case, right now Odessa offers a great deal to foreign tourists looking to vacation affordably, and this is one of its main attractive qualities. Because of the recent rate of the UAH, it is much cheaper to spend time here than in Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Hungary and many other neighboring countries. OR: Realistically, how do you see the future of the city’s tourism industry? What goals are being set? IL: Odessa has every chance to revive its former glory – but this has to be done in the context of modern international development. Odessa is too large and important of a city to limit its development to simply being a tourist destination. It is also a logistics and transportation hub, an axis of international trade, cluster of IT companies, the financial center of Southern Ukraine – and, of course, a main hub of the tourist complex as well, one with many natural resources which should be carefully and systematically developed. I see Odessa’s future in terms of a complex marketing strategy, as I call it, ‘the 5 T’s’ – Transport, Trade, Technology, Tourism, and Trust. OR: What is the most important thing that needs to be done right now to popularize Odessa as an international tourist destination? IL: An advanced marketing system must be created. We need to participate in the largest tourism expos. Advertising and PR in foreign media must be expanded – we need to work on determining our target markets, and promoting Odessa within those markets. OR: What has been done on a governmental level in order to enhance Ukraine’s brand on the international tourism market as well as its image in the

ist season in terms of internal and foreign tourism? IL: Odessa is basically the top choice for tourists within Ukraine. However, due to the risk of the city’s infrastructure becoming overloaded during peak seasons, we need to work with the neighboring regions of Nikolayev and Kherson. If a tourist arrives to Odessa and has to experience the discomfort of overcrowded trains, hotels, restaurants and beaches this will discourage him from visiting again. This is why our task is more complex than simply attracting tourist flow - we also need to make sure that there is enough quality, comfortable accommodations. Quantity should not overshadow quality. OR: What aspects of the tourism industry do you believe to be the most developed in Odessa, and which ones need to be brought up to date? IL: The cultural, gastronomical, and entertainment aspects of tourism are fairly well developed. I would say the areas needing the most attention are the business and event sectors. There is a drastic need to construct a modern, large expo and conference center in Odessa. The health and recreational aspects of tourism also need to be expanded. Odessa has a massive, untapped (and in some cases, sadly, through negligence irreparably damaged) natural resource – its healing springs. This is something that we need to return to, to develop it as a big marketing point for Odessa. OR: Does Odessa have a chance to become Ukraine’s top touristic and cultural center? IL: It already is!


Odessa Tourism

The Secret Of Bessarabia’s Cuisine By Dmytro Sikorsky If you were to ask me what I consider to be the most important elements in the cuisine of Bessarabia, I would answer you without hesitation: wine and Bryndza cheese! While wine is essentially an obvious (also perhaps also essential) and understandable staple of tradition for the majority of the world’s inhabitants, Bryndza cheese most likely is not as well understood. Bryndza, a sheep milk cheese is produced mainly in Slovakia, Romania and Moldova, but also in some parts of Poland, Ukraine, Hungary and Moravia. It is the cornerstone of Romanian and Moldovan cuisine and can be found along the corridor linking the Balkans to the Carpathian mountain range. In Ukraine, the cheese can also be found in the Bessarabian steppes. Bryndza is prepared in salads and can be used in dumplings. It serves as a filling for pies, or can be eaten by itself as a separate dish (though many do prefer it with a slice of tomato). Though of course, this is simple and wholesome peasant fare - it does not have the complexity and sophistication of even the most simple French cheeses. Still, the tangy taste of

Traveling in Bessarabia, it is very common to see large flocks of sheep, which graze the whole day to the evening to give each just one or two glasses of milk Bryndza will quite possibly win you over with its simplicity and texture. In fact, this is one of the oldest sorts of cheeses to be made by man! The best markets for the purchase of Bryndza in Odessa itself are the Odessa Privoz, and the New Market, though the best quality cheese can also be purchased in the markets of regional towns of Belgorod -Dnestrovsky, Artsyz, Izmail and Bolgrad.


The most important task facing the buyer in this case is not the search for the cheapest possible cheese (it is of similar price point almost everywhere and in all variants), but to choose one for the best taste and texture. A simple cheese, Bryndza nonetheless comes in a huge spectrum of variations. The main consideration is to choose between cheeses that may be young or seasoned. Young cheeses are often softer and less salty. Matured cheeses run in a different range of ‘exposures’: one month, two months, six months, a year, or in some cases even two years. Brynd-

za is aged in barrels with salt, which also affects the taste of the product. This however is not the only factor effecting the quality of the cheese. While Bryndza can be made of cow, sheep or goat’s milk, connoisseurs will tell you that cow cheese is not real cheese at all! Only sheep cheese has the proud right to call itself Bryndza (with goat cheese falling in a sort grey zone)! Traveling in Bessarabia, it is very common to see large flocks of sheep, which graze the whole day to the evening to give each just one or two glasses of milk. Unlike a cow, a single sheep will not produce very much milk. In turn this makes the sheep’s cheese a valuable commodity and much more expensive. This is why the markets sell so many so-called ‘’blended cheeses’’ - a mixture of sheep’s and cow’s milk The taste of cheese also depends on the fat content of the milk, as well as on the contents of what the grazing animal had eaten. The cheese must be well refrigerated and stored in a closed container. It is well kept for about one or two weeks. To keep the cheese fresh for longer periods, it is necessary to store it in a saline solution. If you suspect that your cheese is too salty, put it on the floor in a container of fresh water and any excess salt will dissipate. Armed with this knowledge you can begin to select the best cheese in the market! The most important thing to remember is to find a cheese that fits your personal taste cheese, one that tastes like sheep (goat) and does not smell of the animal. Bryndza, it should be noted, can also be marinated in olive oil with spices, which makes for an entirely separate delicious product. So if you happen to find yourself in these parts - you simply must try our indispensable cheese!

Odessa Tourism


Restaurant located in the Hotel Duke

LenMar has successfully combined all the luxuries and comforts of a hotel restaurant with the simplicity of Odessa This June 6th, the LenMar restaurant located inside the lobby of the five-star Hotel Duke will be celebrating it’s two year anniversary. Like any anniversary, this one offers a valuable opportunity to take stock

of the quality of this hotel restaurant found to be cheek and jowl with the Opera house. The Hotel Duke opened two years ago in a restored historical building, and since then become a favorite among both local foodies and visiting gourmands. There is a tradition of the best bars and restaurants in any giv-

en European town being attached to luxury hotels – and hotel establishments are usually visited much more frequently by tourists than they are by local residents. However, despite being somewhat hidden from the casual ambulating tourist on the street behind the Opera house, LenMar makes a departure from the type. Local residents with refined culinary taste are frequent guests during the lunch service and are amply represented at dinner following a show across the street. The décor is Italianate neo-baroque revival, and a live piano (mercifully pitched at the correct low key unlike many places in the Post-Soviet space) also sets the mood for a festivities. The décor is Odessa-themed throughout: the wallpaper running all along the hall is an old map of the city, and historical landscapes decorate the opposite side of the space. The restaurant’s great attraction is the open kitchen. One of the more charming aspects of the space is that during the summer, one can sit on the terrace and enjoy the sound of arias emanating from the back windows of the Opera House, as the singers

rehearse in the back part of the building. This is part of what makes LenMar an appropriate place for an informal first date, a Sunday family lunch, or casual drinks with friends. The menu is varied – but builds on a Mediterranean base with dishes mingling classic favorites with a Odessan kitchen. Some of the restaurant’s great favorites are the baked black cod in a complex sauce and the spicy fish tartare (choice of salmon or tuna) served in oyster shells on a platter of ice with liquid nitrogen. Also to be found are the familiar, traditional dishes from the Odessa table – like the authentic, old-fashioned Forshmak. The head chef complements every meat dish with a house sauce – these include a black-pepper based accompaniment for the calf kare with vegetables and the decadent wine and berry sauce for the Foie Gras duck breast.

The menu is also complemented by the extensive wine list, which is accompanied by a dedicated in house Sommelier. The LenMar dessert menu is also worth a mention – one can find classic favorites like the tender cream panna cotta with fresh berries, or the Vienna strudel a la mode with vanilla sauce. The pastry-chef’s also enjoy experimenting with recipes. One of these creations, the iced nougat with crispy caramelized nuts and a sweet and sour berry sauce, was meant to be a limited edition item on the spring menu but was popular enough to be added to permanent menu.


Odessa Review Hotels

Bristol Hotel

Duke Hotel


15 Pushkinska Street, +38 (048) 796-55-00

10 Tchaykovskogo Lane, +38 (048) 705-36-36

11 Primorski Boulvard, +38 (048) 705-87-77

Built in 1899 as a project of Odessa’s legendary architect Alexander Bernardazzi, the “Bristol” has throughout the history of the city and region been a center of cultural and business life. The hotel has 113 rooms and a plush interior which recreates the atmosphere of the Baroque, and also offers a unique opportunity to stay in Odessa Room Luxury Fashion Suite. The “Bristol” was built at the turn of 19th century in place of an apartment building which housed three bread shops and belonged to the merchant Naum Yurovsky. Next door is the Pushkin museum, where the great poet lived for about 14 months and in whose memory we have Pushkinskaya street.

This neo-baroque style hotel opened in the summer of 2014 in the historic heart of the city next door to the Opera, offering 41 rooms. These range from the “standard” category to the “Presidential”. Rooms are equipped with Italian furniture, interactive TV, climate control, free Wi-Fi, minibar, safety deposit box and electronic lock. The Spa hotel area includes an indoor pool with relaxation area, a gym, a Finnish sauna, a Turkish bath (Hammam) as well as a solarium. Also on offer is outdoor parking, room service, dry cleaning and laundry services.

M1 Club Hotel

Uno Design Hotel Chemodan Hostel

1 Lidersivsky Boulevard , +38 (048) 705-88-77

17 Rishelievska Street, +38 (048) 729-70-50

8 Bunina Street, +38 (063) 533-74-25

The building in which the hotel is located in the historic center of the city and is known as the historic home of Isaac Babel. A museum to the great writer’s legacy is set to open in the location in the near future. The hotel has 4 floors and 46 rooms in 6 categories to suit all tastes – which range from the cozy and the classic that includes a simple kitchen, to luxurious penthouses with terraces. The top floor suites all have a wonderful view of the old Odessa. The Interior of the hotel was designed by the Italian designer Nunzio da Via.

This spunky and charming hostel (Suitcase in Russian) is located in the thick of things. This allows guests to roam the city and get into trouble in the spotlight, which provides ultra-convenient proximity to the town’s main attractions. Offers excellent service and comfortable accommodation with a real bang for the buck. A very cute place to stay. Their motto is the whole world in one suitcase. Highly recommended for budget travelers.

The newly opened Hotel M1 is located on the Black Sea coast, and within the City Park area, a stone’s throw from the historical city center. It features what is likely the best view of Black sea to be found anywhere along with several rooftop bars, restaurants, a swimming pool for children, a gym, kids room, conference hall and meeting room tailored. Individual modern design of 68 rooms with panoramic sea view, private terraces with front beach access, the full range of high quality services. M1 club hotel is the first marine style design resort and has the most modern retro style steam punk interiors of any hotel in the city.


The “London” is set majestically on the Primorski Boulevard. A place to relax while taking in the history that has taken place here. Since 1827 Hotel London hosted within its walls such renowned guests as Isadora Duncan, Marcello Mastroianni, Maya Plisetskaya, and Sergei Eisenstein, Korney Chukovsky, Leonid Utesov and Marshall Mannerheim.

Odessa Review Restaurants

Bodega 2 Karla


Grand Prix

32 Hretska Street, +38 (096) 524-16-01

10 Tchaikovskogo Lane, +38 (048) 705-37-77

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

Bessarabian Bodega Dva Karla (‘Two Karls’) – is one of the oldest food establishments continuously operating in Odessa. Bessarabian wines have been sold here since 1830! This Bodega focuses on simple, recognizable local food made from recipes collected in the villages of the Odessa oblast. The main dishes are mamalyga (based on polenta) and placintas (small round-shaped fried cake). These dishes are very popular in our region and you will experience great pleasure trying it with red or white wine. For Borsch-lovers there is a very good ‘home’ style Borsch and the Forshmak that is a trademark of Odessa cuisine is also highly recommended.

Located in the five star Hotel Duke, in the heart of Odessa’s historical center, this very chic Odessan and Europian fusion restaurant concentrates on friendly service. The menu is also complemented by the extensive wine list, which is accompanied by a dedicated in house Sommelier. The setting is Italian in style and the menu offers a diverse range of exotic fish dishes, seafood and gourmet desserts. The Baked black cod in sauce and the tender cream pannacotta with fresh berries are to die for. Grand Prix is cozily located in the very heart of Old Odessa in the historical building dated 1825, has firmly established itself as the favorite neighborhood French restaurant. The restaurant owners pay close attention to importing high quality products from Italy and France. The kitchen distinguishes itself by serving carefully sourced, well cooked seasonal dishes, along with a great wine list and warm attentive service. Emphasis on French style hospitality minus the sneering Parisian waiters!


Omega Three


19 Sadova Street, +38 (048) 759-99-95

5 Lanzheronivska Street, +38 (048) 796-89-81

5 Katerynynska Square, +38 (050) 542-42-16

Omega Three Healthy Food Café is the rare Odessa establishment that combines healthy nutrition with suberb taste. As any health fanatic will tell you, fish, flax, sesame, nuts and leafy greens are rich in the Omega3 aminos that help to regulate our metabolism. The restrautant’s focus is on low-calorie meals which are to be found in both the vegetarian and meat menus. This is probably the only place in Odessa that has calories counted on the menus, which along with the sugar free deserts makes it a must for customers with special dietary needs. Also, one can try a vitamin bomb – a shot of fresh juice made of greens and microgreens!

Two of the owners moved back to Odessa from Israel to found this stylish new venue. French and Swiss educated chef Nika Lozovska presides over an Israeli-Parisian-Asian fusion kitchen. Her playful and mouth-watering dishes include liberal use of Miso, Cardomon and Chumin spices.

This spring, the 24 -hour dining venue Benedikt began offering Odessans and the city’s guests the chance to embark on a culinary tour of the world’s greatest breakfast options. Whether you are hankering for spicy Indian cuisine or traditional English fare, you will find it on this breakfast menu.


Odessa Humor

How They Laugh In Odessa By Emil Draitser

The Odessa Expatriate And Expert On Russian And Post-Soviet Humor Explores The Linguistic History Of Odessa Speech Emil Draitser is author and professor of Russian at Hunter College in NYC. This essay is adopted from his memoir-in-progress, To Laugh or Not to Laugh: Writing Satire in Brezhnev Russia, a sequel to his book, Shush! Growing up Jewish under Stalin. His most recent book is Na Kudykinu Goru (From Here to Wherever): A novel of Odessa.

My first attempt at being published took place in my mid-twenties. With some trepidation, I brought a lyrical sketch to the editorial offices of a major Moscow newspaper. Since the sketch was just a couple of pages long, the literary editor read it in my presence while I attempted to stave off a panic attack. “Well,” the man intoned upon finishing it. “It’s written well. But this is a newspaper here so we do need something topical. Something with a fighting spirit’. He asked me some additional questions, trying to figure out who I was. Young and self-conscious, I forced myself


to mumble something in response. I admitted that despite my day job as an engineer, I was quite keen on penning some literary sketches of the kind that I had just brought to show him. Having ascertained from my accent that I was a native of Odessa, he promptly figured out what to do with me. “Well, why didn`t you tell me that in the first place? You should write a satirical piece for us!” I was admittedly flummoxed by the proposal. Was simply being born and raised in Odessa enough of a qualification to become a satirist? Could it perhaps be because of those two Odessa writers, Ilya Ilf and Yevgeny Petrov? Published back in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, their picaresque novels, The Twelve Chairs and The Golden Calf, chronicle the adventures of the witty con artist Ostap Bender. The books became Soviet cult classics and many of their best lines have long become part of Russian banter throughout the Russophone world: “The business of saving the drowning is the business of the drowning themselves’’ “All the contraband of the world is produced on Little Arnaut Street in Odessa!” “You didn’t evolve from monkeys like all the other citizens; you’re so thickheaded you must have descended from the cows” “I’m not a cherub, I don’t have wings, but I respect the criminal code - that’s my

weakness” Then there were the larger than life gangsters in Isaac Babel`s Odessa Tales, who were simultaneously hilarious and romantic. It is a city that gave birth to scores of comic writers, as well as such famous entertainers as the cabaret singer Leonid Utyosov and the comedian Mikhail Zhvanetsky. So, while I have no scientific method to prove it, I do believe that the source of Odessan`s cheerfulness, optimistic outlook, and flamboyant lifestyle lies in the fact that the sun rarely abandons Odessa`s sky. The crystal blue water of the sea is warm year-round. Even the migrating Black Sea fish, all two hundred kinds of them, can’t help but jump out of the water and rejoice when they finally reach Odessa`s shore. In the north of the country, under the gloomy skies, wrapped up in their overcoats, people tend to grow up to be introverts. In Odessa people wear their emotions on their sleeves and have no qualms in making their thoughts public. Shakespeare’s well known dictum that the whole world is a stage and that all people are merely actors playing their part is unquestionably true when applied to Odessans. With their temperament and lifestyle, the citizens of Odessa are tragicomic actors par excellence. Everything is for the show in this town. Everyday life is routinely exposed to the world’s gaze.

Odessa Humor

Just peek into any old Odessan courtyard if you require more proof. Overgrown with ivy and wild vines, which crawl over the cracked walls of the dilapidated buildings, the yards are haunted by a ceaseless babble of voices. The air is also pungent with an admixture of the most disparate odors. The perfume of the courtyard is a combination of freshly cooked borscht, roasted mackerel and boiled laundry. People live cheek by jowl here in tight spaces. Privacy you ask? Forget it! Everyone here knows everything about everyone else. No one bothers hiding anything from the rest of the courtyard’s citizens. In such close quarters, secrets are impossible to keep and so no one burdens themselves with needless displays of etiquette or propriety. People step out of their rooms half-dressed without a second thought or walk into a neighbor’s apartment without knocking. This is especially true of the life transpiring on the second floor of the building; that is on the circular gallery stretching around the courtyard. Everything is exposed to the outer world on that gallery. The people who live on the second floor hoist their kerosene stoves up to cook their dinner. Afterward, they will also consume it there, while loudly discussing family matters. They will prop their toddlers on their night pots and teach them good manners with the whole courtyard population observing and pitching in with input. When the yard is in a collective good mood, the gallery might fill up with song. They also have a tendency to swear and shout at the neighbors for real or imaginary acts of trespassing. It will not be too long before a young woman dressed in her domestic robe, her wealth of hair knotted up in twist-ties and her face glistening with skin cream will appear on the plank-deck of the gallery. She is there to call home her unruly little son, who is deep in the joy of a child’s self-oblivion keeps running around the

courtyard with his equally wild buddies. Yet instead of coming down to fetch him, the woman will stand on the balcony, and, not unlike some ancient Greek heroine, perhaps a Medea or Antigone, will turn her sight to the heavens and address simultaneously the gods and her courtyard neighbors. Her voice trembling with outrage, she will beg for our sympathy in her predicament. “Just look at that little

they all resided here with their servants and retinues for extended stretches of time. Full of joie de vivre of people starting a new life, wonderstruck by the beauty of Odessa women, they filled the city up

The only people who roll with laughter over the way Odessans talk are native Russian speakers. The grammar of Odessa speech is often askance, and the pronunciation sounds off kilter scoundrel, good people!” Still, she would certainly never stop at that in order to have us witness the biblical proportions of her suffering. This will be merely the opening line of what promises to be a twenty-minute monologue inviting the whole wide world to bear witness. She needs everyone to know what a miserable lot befell her—giving birth to that little rascal. “You shouldn’t give birth to children!” she cries out. “You would be better off giving birth to stones!” In Odessa, there are no taboos when it comes to laughter. The Russian proverb “For the sake of a witty word, he won’t spare even his father” fits nobody better than an Odessan. The city predisposition to humor is a byproduct of its history. From its outset, Odessa had become a melting pot of countless nationalities. Resorting to humor is the best way to ameliorate relationship between ethnic groups. And there were many of them. For a long time, French aristocrats, the fugitives of their revolution, planned, erected, and ornamented the city— men such as the Duc de Richelieu, Alexandre-Louis de Langeron, and Frantz de Volan. French city rulers, military leaders, architects, engineers,

with their numerous descendants. The imprint of that light, Gallic attitude toward life remains entrenched in the Odessa psychological makeup. People here are as cheerful and friendly, as easy to laugh and love, as if they were the inhabitants of a remote Provençal village. Odessans are the French of Ukraine. And they are also the Ukrainians, hard-working, simple-hearted, but also a bit sly. Likewise, they are the industrious Bulgarians. The business-like Armenians. Or the stately Greeks. Pushkin Street was paved by the Italians, who inhabited it; in fact, it was named Italian Street. And, certainly, the Odessans are Jews, with their mistrustful, ironic, and down-to-earth attitude toward life. Yet if Odessan speech is funny, this is for the most part unintentional. Many do not even suspect that something is wrong with their speech. The only people who roll with laughter over the way Odessans talk are native Russian speakers. The grammar of Odessa speech is often askance, and the pronunciation sounds off kilter. The reason for it is that, by and large, the Russian of Odessans was the language of the immigrants who populated the city from the time it had been founded, at the end of the


Odessa Humor

eighteenth century. For several generations of inhabitants, Russian was an acquired language. The newly shaped Odessa lingo was forged from a Russian lexicon sprinkled with Gallicisms and spiced up with Ukrainian prepositions. These were often inserted out of place (“I won’t tell you for [instead of about] all Odessa”), and infused with the rhetoric and phraseology of Yiddish.

As the city came into being, Catherine the Great invited Jews from all over the Pale of Settlement to work in European grain trade. Along with the Yiddish inflected vernacular, the city also inherited a dash of the Jewish humor, that gave it sardonic streak. Sarcasm and irony were always the signature mode of Jewish self-ex-

The peculiarity of the semantic twists and differing registers of the Odessan language owe their comic effects to its immigrant roots, to the language learner’s first clumsy attempts in constructing a phrase

pression. So, it should be unsurprising that many `Odessisms` are mere carbon copies of Yiddish expressions. To this day the Odessa variant of Russian `Yinglish` is sprinkled with dismissive epithets like schmendrik (a nincompoop), schmuck (a jerk), schweitzer (a busybody), schlimazel (down-on-luck man), and schlemiel (a loser). As a result of the influx of people arriving from the dying shtetlach of Ukraine and Byelorussia between the October revolution and the mid-1930s, Yiddish often became the language of class instruction in many Odessan schools. Newspapers, magazines, and books published in Yiddish could be purchased in any kiosk. In many areas of the city, even judicial proceedings were conducted in the language

Illustration by Oleg Andreev


Odessa Humor

of Sholom Aleichem. A patrolling policeman might be heard shouting: “Do you want those cars tsykvetch, to crush, you to death?” at an absent-minded jay walker. It is also to this time that we can trace the popular parodies of the rules of public behavior in Odessa banter. For instance, a warning sign above a streetcar window, “Avoid leaning out,” might be turned into “Go ahead, stick yourself out! We’ll see what’s left of you!” “No riding without a ticket” becomes “May you reach that destination for which you bought your ticket!” For the first generation of Jewish settlers, the Odessan language became the language of displaced persons, the language of migrants compelled to master a new and particularly difficult Russian language in a hurry. In the following generations, this language reproduced itself, becoming the normative language even of those who didn’t know language of their ancestors. Expressions such as “May you be healthy for me!” “Listen over here!” “Do you hold me or [instead of take me for or consider me to be] an idiot?” and “Have [instead of keep] me in your mind” are simply word-for-word translations of Yiddish phrases. Many expressive phrases deployed amid flashes of strong of emotion - anger, frustration, or anxiety - saturate Odessan speech. “He dies after her” (that is, he loves her to death) is of the same origin. Many Odessan curses and folk damnations also derive from Yiddish: “May my mama give birth to me in reverse order!”, “You’re a chunk of an idiot!”, “May you live on your salary alone!” The peculiarity of the semantic twists and differing registers of the Odessan language owe their comic effects to its immigrant roots, to the language learner’s first clumsy attempts in constructing a phrase. It is a strategy to which immigrants all over the world hastily resort in order to root themselves in a new language. An Odessan is usually not trying to crack a joke when he pays this sort of compliment to a lady: “Mrs. Kantselson, today you look out wonderful!” Or when he says to his neighbors, “Please tell my wife that

I’ve gone to take away our child from the kindergarten.” A very common mistake was not comprehending the difference between vyglyadet’ (to look) and vyglyadyvat’ (to look out) as well as between vzyat’ (to take) and zabrat’ (to take away). If finding himself stumped for words, an Odessan might resort to those that he already knew in the new language. Thus, instead of “She’s an attractive woman,” he might say, “She’s not an ugly woman.” In the Odessan’s mangled Russian, the simple and easily remembered words for “yes” and “no” are made to work to their full capacity and to handle multiple forms of complexity. Instead of “This is an exception to the rule,” in Odessa they have a habit of saying, “Generally, yes. But in this case—no!” Odessans also have a habit of turning the question “Can you answer me

key, an Odessan moonlighting as a private taxi service approaches her. Without saying a word, he picks up the Moscow lady’s suitcases and takes them to his own car. “Wait a minute, wait a minute!” the newly arrived lady shouts after him. “That is not a taxi! I need a taxi.” “Lady!” The Odessan riposted “I don’t understand you! What do you need? A ride or checkers?” All this humor is unintentional, borne of the act of bursting through the limitations of linguistic constraint. Another quality related to the migrant mentality captured in Odessan speech is the subconscious resistance of people who have escaped from a small and secluded world and revolted against the regulations of a new system that contradicts their expectation of unbridled freedom. For

In Odessa, there are no taboos when it comes to laughter. The Russian proverb “for the sake of a witty word, he won’t spare even his father” fits nobody better than an Odessa definitely, yes or no?” into “Now tell me already: ‘yes’ is ‘yes’ or ‘yes’ is ‘no’?” Such lexical simplification would very often bring unexpected results and so Odessan speech is archetypically sparkling, unusual, and funny. Thus, where a native Russian speaker might say, “Don’t stuff my head with all kinds of nonsense! My head’s bursting,” an Odessan expresses himself more succinctly: “Don’t make my head pregnant!” An Odessan might transform the typical parental admonition “Why don’t you listen to your papa?” into “Am I your papa or what?” Odessan humor is the humor of the impatient. It is the commonsense needling of rigid rules and mockery of needling formality. A classic joke about catching a taxi illustrates this dynamic: At the Odessa railroad station, a woman who has just arrived from Moscow tries in vain to catch a taxi. Jingling his ignition

those who migrated from the villages or the shtetlach into the urban environment, Odessa was a legendary Promised Land on par with America. To the migrants from the countryside, Odessa`s streets also seemed to be paved with gold and encrusted with diamonds. Odessan humor is the humor of the impatient. As one Odessa tailor retorted to a harried customer who was demanding an expedited order: ‘’Tell me my good man, what exactly do you want: a quick job or that your jacket sleeves be of equal length?”


Odessa Humor

Odessa Tales with Boris Khersonsky

Once, the Odessa Intelligentsia came to me with a one-liter jar of salted black sea sprats, and, somewhat embarrassed, asked me to help her debone the fish. “You understand” – she said suavely – “I never debone the fish, I just eat it. I am simply a consumer in a consumerist society.” It was quite an easy job, so I was done with it in about fifteen minutes. It took the Odessa Intelligentsia much less time to consume the fruits of my labor – two minutes. After wiping her lips with a handkerchief (monogrammed with the initials “O. I.”) and reapplying her vintage “Communist Banner” lipstick, she said: “You see, it’s been


three months since we had any banquet receptions in the City Cellar Club! The situation was just hopeless! Where is the Literary Society looking?!” “She is looking in the eyes of her young, curly-haired husband” – I responded. “Husband?” - she exclaimed sarcastically, “She cheated on him within the first week of marriage with some Publishing Holding. She -” – and here my guest switched to a whisper – “- why, she told me her husband leaves her completely unsatisfied!” “I wish she was as unsatisfied with the quality of her own poetry” – I quipped.

Odessa Humor


Rabinovich has an appointment with the doctor: - Doctor! Could you look for another illness. This is far too expensive. - I always put a note with my address in my pocket before leaving for home in the evening so that someone might bring me home if I get fatally drunk. - And what address do you write in the note? - One in Montmartre, Paris. -But you live in Odessa! Yes. But I have already visited Paris twice! - Andrew! If you are sent into Siberian exile, you should know that I will obviously go with you into the stormy tundra! But I do think that the fur coat should be bought in advance.

Have you gotten sick? - No.Why do you ask? - Because the dentist left your house in the morning. - Oh, my God. Look at this know it all! Colonel Kumanovich leaves your house every other morning. Does that mean war is going to break out this week? Little Izya`s method in the toy store was very sophisticated. He never yelled at his parents to buy him toys. He would began negotiations with his father with a probing and abstract opening. `Daddy` he would begin `was your childhood as heavy and sad as mine?` - Auntie Fira, what do you do in Odessa again? - I run a business! - And what is it? - Mostly exchanging news with neighbours on the stairwell next to the entrance hall!

A married couple are watching a horror film. In the midst of most awful and frightening shot, a terrible monster appears onscreen... The wife nestles deeply into her husband`s shoulder and yells out: - Mommy! The husband riposted: - Oh, you recognized her did you? Intelligentsia Odessan family. Evening. The wife is playing her Cello for the third hour in a row. Finally, the husband puts down his newspaper with an agitated gesture. - Alright, alright Lily, you can stop! I will buy you those damned Italian boots!


Odessa Photography

Odessa Photographer in Focus Pavel Fedorov A well rounded Filmmaker and photographer, Fedotov began taking photographs in high school. The hobby would slowly morph into a vocation, but he takes pride in retaining a sense of wonder towards the craft that is characteristic of the amateur. An avid traveler, Fedorov was an early local adapter to the usage of Instagram to exhibit his work in the form of an ongoing travel diary. He now works as a commercial photographer and as a director of shorts


Odessa Photography


Odessa Photography


Odessa Photography


Odessa Sport Odessa Sport

How Odessa Brought Football to the Tsarist Empire By Volodymyr Gutsol

Ever since Tsarist times, Odessa has been famed as a capital of comedy, commerce, criminality and cosmopolitanism, but it is also the place where the noble sport of association football first took root in old empire. Football initially arrived in Odessa via the open seas. Unsurprisingly, the sport was first brought to the Black Sea port city by the British expatriate community, which made a habit of popularizing their pastimes across the world throughout the nineteenth century heyday of the British Empire. The history of football in Odessa begins in 1878, with the establishment of the Odessa British Athletic Club. Victorian era Brits loved physical exertion and were responsible for creating and codifying many of today’s most popular sports including football, rugby, tennis, golf, cricket and boxing. The Odessa British Athletic Club engaged in many of these sports, but it was football that really caught the local imagination. At first, the Odessa British Athletic Club was a somewhat stuffy and aloof organization with a membership strictly limited to the thousands of Brits who were then resident in Odessa. Football matches would be held against visiting British teams, usually drawn from the crews of British ships docked in Odessa harbor. These games were played in the seafront area now occupied by the Shevchenko Park. The pitch they used was unconventional to say the least, with matches played in a giant manmade basin excavated to form an exact replica of the Black Sea itself.

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Odessa native writer Valentin Kataev provides the following brief account of this bizarre and ultimately futile endeavor: “At some point in time, the city fathers came up with the educational idea of acquainting locals with regional geography by building a small pond in the form of the Black Sea in Alexander Park. A vast pit was dug in the exact shape of the Black Sea, but that was to prove the end of this educational idea. The

The Odessa Football League was established in the autumn of 1911, with Englishman Ernest Jacobs elected as the first chairman of the league

Odessa Sport Odessa Sport municipal budget, undermined by the abusive financial practices of the city mayor, proved insufficient to pay for the completion of the project. This miniature Black Sea was destined to remain forever dry.”

1907, when local schools began registering senior teams, many of which went on to become adult football clubs. A certain Mr. Peters, who was the English teacher at a local gymnasium, is on record as one of the leading lights behind the emergence of organized local club

The Tsarist Empire held its first national championship in 1912, with the inaugural title going to the team from the capital city of St. Petersburg

This unusual pitch inevitably led to Odessa’s first footballers earning the nickname ‘Black Sea men’ or ‘Chernomorets’, a name which echoes today’s Ukrainian Premier League club side. The first official references to Odessa football teams appear in

football in late nineteenth century Odessa. This growth soon led to the creation of a city championship. The Odessa Football League was established in the autumn of 1911, with Englishman Ernest Jacobs elected as the first chairman of the league. As well as this organized league, non-league football also prospered in pre-WWI Odessa. Most teams were made up of players in their early teens, many of whom went on to become famous athletes in their own right. The teams they represented had exotic names like ‘Merlin’, ‘Shanghai’, ‘Tin Kettle’ and ‘Swiss Valley’. However, the most popular team was ‘Chernomorets’, which was drawn from players residing in the Primorsky region of the city. In order to enter the ranks of the Chernomorets players, a would-be member first had to pass a series of sporting challenges including football, fist fighting and diving – all overseen by ‘veteran’ players. The Tsarist Empire held its first national championship in 1912, with the inaugural title going to the team from the capital city St. Petersburg. Odessa did not enter a team in the first season, but they joined the league in 1913 and shocked everyone by emerging as the unlikely champions! The title playoff took place in Odessa on 20 October, 1913. Odessa defeated reigning champions St. Petersburg 4-2 in a pulsating encounter with goals from Jacobs, Townsend and Bohemsky. However, the glory of this victory was to prove short-lived. Following complaints from the deposed champions, the Odessa club was disqualified for the ‘crime’ of fielding foreign players. Nevertheless, the prowess of the Odessa players had not gone unnoticed – hotshot striker Grygory Bohemsky was subsequently invited to join the fledgling national team, which had previously featured players drawn exclusively from Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Football Locations In Today’s Odessa Every citizen of Odessa knows where the contemporary football focus in the city is located – Chernomorets Stadium in Shevchenko Park, which serves as the home ground for the Ukrainian Premier League side of the same name. Knowledgeable fans will also point you in the direction of the university football pitch at Shampansky Pereulok, which once played host to many historically important matches in the city.

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Odessa Society


Odessa Society





Odessa Society



Odessa Society





Odessa Society


Odessa Society




Odessa Society


Odessa Society


Odessa Listings

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Bernardazzi $$$ 15 Bunina Street +38 (048) 785-55-85

Frebule $$ 21A Frantsuzky Boulevard +38 (048) 788-16-68

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Fitness stadium 1 Marazliivska Street (Chernomorets stadium) +38 (048) 701-72-72

Prichal №1 $$ 3 Otrada Beach +38 (048) 722-33-11 Salieri $$ 14 Lanzheronivska Street +38 (048) 725-00-00 San Michele 8 Mayakovskoho Lane +38 (048) 759-69-58 www.facebook. com/pages/San-Michele-Wine-Chocolate Sherlock Café $$ 11 Bunina Street +38 (048) 232-12-00 Sherlock.Odessa

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Maristella Restaurant $$$ 2A Chervonykh Zor Street +38 (048) 771-27-91

White Whalle $$ 3\7 Vitse-Admirala Zhukova Street +38 (097) 058-80-83 whitewhale.od

Tokyo House $ 11 Risheljevska Street +38 (048) 785-09-09 ua

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Kokon 31 Hretska Street +38 (048) 705-50-87 TRAVEL AGENCY Avers-Tour 4 Spiridonivska Street +38 (048) 700-54-81 Navigator 7 Mayakovskoho Lane +38 (048) 234-38-87 TPP Tour 19 Troitska Street 03 (048) 722 55 55 Tudoy Sudoy 6 Nekrasova Lane +38 (048) 700-60-50 Join Up 1A Tamozhena Square +38 (048) 737-79-77 Pina Colada 35/37 Risheljevska Street +38 (048) 715-50-50 KYIV Arbequina 4 Borisa Grinchenko Street +38 (044) 223-96-18 Odessa Restaurant 114 Veluka Vasilkovska Street +38 (044) 238-84-13 Hilton Hotel 30 Tarasa Shevchenko Boulevard +38 (044) 393-54-00 hilton-kyiv

Invogue Fashion Group 25 Katerynivska Street +38 (048) 731-47-67 invogueodessa Frey Wille 29 Katerynivska Street +38 (048) 714-48-78


My Odessa

Felix Shynder. Musician. It was here that I understood that life is a many-faceted thing, and that being “cool” was not for me – that it wasn’t fun or healthy that everyone was stupid. I spent some of those years hitchhiking. I would walk out of school with just my bag, jacket, and sleeping bag. I would think, “To hell with all of it!” – and would go to the Kotovsky area, then up to the highway and would get all the way to Crimea. I’d call my mom and tell her “Hi mom, I’m in Mangup!” I have pleasant memories of first grade. After that, the fights began. I didn’t like fighting, really, but in school there was this chaos. I started smoking in school. There were sailors who shared a yard with

Conservatory, musical institute, music school – we graduated none of those! us, and they smoked cigars. I would find them sometimes and try to smoke them. I remember waiting until my mom left, going to the balcony, lighting this cigar to try and smoke it and nearly choking to death. It was a time of experimentation.

From first to sixth grade, I attended this school – School #20. I sat behind a desk, looked out of the window, and wondered how I could escape from here. It was here that I first understood that life is a many-faceted thing, and that being “cool” was not for me – that it wasn’t fun or healthy. I grew up with my mother and sister. I was a sensitive, short child who loved nature. I had to repeat 9th grade three times. I just couldn’t manage to get past it. I thought it was all below me,


In fact my best memories from school is that of the girls. I especially liked the girls with their hair in buns From first grade all the way up to the third, I was in love with a girl named Victoria. She was a tall, pretty brunette with her hair in a bob. I was madly in love with her, but too scared to tell her. I was tormented by this for three years, and then in third grade she confronted me and said “I know that you love me, but I don’t love you!” Sometimes I feel like I still feel vindictive towards women over that trauma. As my friend says: “Conservatory, musical institute, music school – we graduated from none of those!”

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