Odessa among the Ukrainian cities included in the European ranking for economic potential

Five cities in Ukraine won a position in the European ranking in category of economic potential according to the British agency Emerging Europe: Lviv, Kyiv, Kharkov, Odessa and Dnipro.

Emerging Europe invited 70 global location experts and foreign direct investment advisers to weigh up the various merits of the 75 cities in the emerging Europe region which are either national capitals or have a population of more than 200,000 inhabitants. This year, 51 of those experts – many of whom are members of the Site Selectors Guild – cast votes, more than double last year’s number of 25.

Craig Turp-Balazs, editor of Emerging Europe

Budapest, which won by a wide margin, topped two of the eight categories (City Brand, and Local Authority Support). Here is an analysis of all the categories chosen by the pool of city experts:

  • ECONOMIC POTENTIAL. #1 Tbilisi (#2 Lviv, #3 Kharkov), #6 Odessa.
  • CITY BRAND. #1 Budapest, (comparable city to Odessa) #5 Łódź.
  • BUSINESS CLIMATE. #1 Łódź, (comparable) #4 Tallinn.
  • LOCAL AUTHORITY SUPPORT. #1 Budapest, #3 Lviv.
  • POOL OF TALENT. #1 Bucharest, #3 Kharkov.
  • QUALITY OF LIFE. #1 Prague, #7 Lviv.
  • SMART CITY DEVELOPMENT. #1 Sofia and Tallinn, #7 Lviv.
A lesson for Odessa

As far as Odessa is concerned, it is worth considering its positive score as “Economic potential”. But, at same time, Ukrainian cities like Lviv and Kharkov are progressing faster in categories, where the maritime capital of Ukraine is called to play a role.

Especially in the “City brand” category, which concerns international visibility and can be obtained through an efficient international city marketing.

Moreover, Odessa is hiding its strength in terms of “Pool of talents” and “Quality of life”, where the City can seriously challenge Kharkov and Kyiv.

Finally, “Infrastructure and connectivity” and “Local authority support” are categories strictly connected to the level of coordination between local and central governments, which is the City’s Achilles heel.

Maybe, it is not completely fair to compare Odessa with big capital cities (Budapest, Prague, Warsaw), but it is interesting to enlighten the results of minor cities like Kharkov and Łódź, to understand that those goals are affordable.

However, do not let us forget that Lviv is ahead of Kyiv, Sofia and Vilnius in the general ranking.

Odessa’s coordinated effort in creating a business-friendly environment and uncovering its untapped potential could quickly climb the current ranking from the position of sixth Ukrainian city.

Source : 112 Ukraine

Plastic waste into paving stones

From “trash” to “raw materials”

Since 2016 in Odessa there is a “Precious Plastic Ukraine” laboratory. The lab accepts caps and household chemicals bottles and processes them into benches, badges, jewelry, vases, furniture elements. In 2018, the lab presented a bench made from plastic caps. Now they began to make paving slabs. The lab workers hope that the project will give an impetus to rethink the value of plastic in people’s heads – the status should change from “trash” to “raw materials”. The work of the lab is based on the technology by engineer Dave Hackens, who developed the idea of ​​the value of plastic.

Plastic paving slabs
Plastic bench

Plastic trash is an acute Black Sea problem. In 2016, the European Union launched the Environmental Monitoring in the Black Sea (EMBLAS) project, which involves continuous monitoring of the marine environment and considers various ways to stop pollution. One of its areas is the collection, processing and disposal of plastic waste.

The plastic waste which is used by the “Precious Plastic Ukraine” was burned because it was not suitable for processing, now it is crushed into crumbs, then heated, melt and poured into molds. Tiles can be made smooth or rough. It is a laborious and energy-consuming business, but we believe that it is a worthy alternative to burial and burning. The project was developed with the support of a EMBLAS grant dedicated to research in plastic processing. The inventors have calculated the melting processing temperatures, tested the technology and are ready to start production at full capacity.

According to the project coordinator Elena Marushevskaya, they are looking for a place where they will test the first twelve square meters of paving slabs.

In case of successful Odessa experience, EMBLAS will share the “recipe” with the Georgian colleagues. The coast of Batumi also has a lot of plastic garbage. Perhaps, they will begin to make tiles in Georgia in the second half of 2020.

Plastic paving slabs are already being made in Ukraine: a production workshop was launched in the Vinnitsa region at the end of last year. In “Precious plastic Ukraine” believes that it is useless to transport this waste to Vinnitsa, as transportation will reduce environmental pollution. Therefore, volunteers want to process local raw materials in Odessa.

There are just three workers in “Precious plastic Ukraine”: Yevgeny Khlebnikov, his assistant Ekaterina and volunteer Vlad.

Yevgeny Khlebnikov

Odessa Underground (Part 1): The Dungeons

By our correspondent of Odessa’s nightlife, ExPat Phil E.

Some years ago, a friend visited me when I first moved to Odessa. It was his first trip too and he recounted what his grandmother had told him about the city: “to know Odessa, one must know Deribasovskaya Street.” There is indeed something fantastically romantic about this ancient street. Even its name conjures images of a dashing admiral and Latin lover, and has inspired such deep nostalgia for centuries. For tourists, that is. However, real Odessa-ites, the old-timers, might argue that the real backbone of the city runs straight down Yevreiskaya Street, starting at the SBU (think “FBI”) building, past the main synagogue and ending at Odessa regional police HQ. A true power block defining the town. Still others would stand at the foot of Empress Catherine’s statue and gaze toward the sea. With the Duke in the foreground and the Potemkin Steps dropping perilously to the port, surely this alignment is the essence of the town, its identity, its root. And they might be right.

But not, from this writer’s eye, when it comes to nightlife. In my view, Ekaterininskaya Street still attempts to convince itself and others that it is THE heart of the Odessa night scene. For me, however, each additional gentlemen’s club, pizza joint and karaoke palace it has added over the past five years has progressively eroded its allure. Posh cafes and nightclubs, like their patrons, compete too desperately for attention.

Catherine the Great may have approved, but I know Odessa can do much better. And it does, mere steps away. Take a hard left and you’ll find yourself on Grecheskaya Street. If Ekaterininskaya Street is uniform and in-your-face, “Greek St.” is subtle and almost consciously diverse. For one thing, it barely announces itself. Much of its treasures lay hidden in dungeons and catacombs beneath the ground, adding “discovery” to the experience when you first encounter them. And if for you, like me, live music is your gold, then Greek Street is Odessa’s El Dorado. Over the next 100 meters you’ll find no less than five extremely unique stages, none of which can be corralled into any one musical box.

Art-Pub Shkaff

The oldest and most famous club is known simply as the Closet (“Shkaf” in Russian). Art-Pub Shkaff reminds of Liverpool’s Cavern Club, dark and industrial with music blaring from its labyrinthine turns. It hosts the stage most coveted by working bands, who might call it one of the few “proper” stages in the center. Rising commandingly a meter and a half from the ground, the stage, with its powerfully balanced sound board, still manages to maintain an intimacy with the dancefloor. Of all the clubs on Greek St., Shkaff is also the most mysterious, and musical journeys may take several radical turns in a single evening. Its styles run from impromptu jazz to the avant-garde, post-punk to swing, with the occasional pop act, just for fun.

Next up is the center’s most authentic cultural experience: Poncho Snack Art Café. Still quite new at a little over two years old, it is run by Nivio Ilich, an Incan artist and performer and his charming Ukrainian wife, Anka. He describes the aesthetic as “a fusion of the cultures and the native peoples of the American continent.” Its walls are adorned with “living art” from his native Peru – percussive instruments hewn from gourdes and reeds, mystic Quechua carvings and an Incan totem pole. But to define Poncho as just “indigenous” would be a huge mistake. For example, stand stage-left facing the bar and look down. Through a glass floor panel, there a montage of dissected motorcycle, forged with remnants of a Harley and Kawasaki.

When live music isn’t featured (which is rare) Delta Blues haunt the cave, scratching through vinyl. Acts include R&B, soul and jazz, plus a robust assortment from the World Café – from Latin Pop, to “New Age” Andean flutes to Bessarabia’s own klezmer tradition. Evenings become eclectic in this tiny oasis. The hosts have formed a special bond with their neighbourhood and their guests. They chose Greek St. because it was, at the same time, “muy central y muy tranquilo.” Nivio also enjoys sharing the street with “other welcoming clubs that are frequented by lovers of art and music.” No wonder Poncho, with its imminent stage, is a magnet to ex-pats and Ukrainians of all ages.

Poncho Snack Art Café

Our last stop is close to the corner of Rishelievskaya and Grecheskaya Streets, site of an entertainment complex that may even be surprising itself with its own success. Three separate stages have evolved from the grill pit of Cooper Burgers. The first, named Tikhiy Bar (or, with conscious irony, “Quiet Bar”) has emerged as THE showplace for best local acts. The owners were shrewd enough to reconfigure the bar and seating, orienting everything toward the staging area in the rear. Of the many things Tikhiy does well, it is known for its seamless alternating between live bands and cool DJ’s, thus consistently hitting a cross section of clients. By keeping these “groove to dance” transitions tight, the club flirts with “popular” without crossing over into “commercial”. Like both Poncho and Shkaff,

Tikhiy Bar

Tikhiy Bar also has a funky get-away room set off-stage, where one can have a discrete chat up or a quite respite from the crowds. Tikhiy’s summer cousin, the Tikhiy Dvor, is even less quiet. The beer garden roared to life last summer and immediately claimed the mantel as Odessa’s top urban oasis. A tunnel leads from Greek Str. into the open space: four stone walls, four stories each, forming your basic sound block. With only the sky as a roof, young hipsters flock to the Dvor (“yard”), and not an evening passes without someone dancing on the tables. As showplaces go, however, the pièce de résistance is connected to the garden by a little-known fire tower.

Tikhiy Dvor

If you run up two flights and burst through a door and you will find yourself backstage at a MEGA-VENUE known as the Gorodskoi Rynok. Also known as the Odessa Food Market, the city promotes it as “a unique gastronomic project.” If by “unique” you mean, the “mammoth,” that’s an apt description. A towering four-story atrium encloses 1,200 m2 of floor space, home to 13 cafes and no less than 6 bars. Its centerpiece is its stage so massive that it requires musicians to arrive in the early morning hours to coordinate with professional sound technicians, as each concert as at festival scale, complete with a mega-tron digital display. From Poncho to the Rynok, you can choose to share your concert with from 40 to 600 people, but why choose? Most revellers take in two or three shows in any given night on Grecheskaya St. But enough about the venues. An astute reader may feel a bit cheated, since indeed we’re divulged very little about the local music itself as art. Well, my mother always taught me that before you serve the meal, you must first set the table. So now that you’ve become acquainted with the dungeons, in the next chapter, we’ll meet the dragons themselves, ravenous hordes devouring their fans (and themselves!) chasing local music legend status in the Odessa Underground.

Yevgeny Lavrenchuk headed the All-Ukrainian Symphony Orchestra

The chief director of the Odessa Opera and Ballet Theatre headed the All-Ukrainian Symphony Orchestra

The chief director of the Odessa National Opera and Ballet Theater, Eugene Lavrenchuk , headed the newly created All-Ukrainian Symphony Orchestra.

The new team is named the All-Ukrainian Symphony Orchestra and the choir “Ukrainian Inclusive Choir and Orchestra”. The funding and leadership of the new team was approved by the Expert Council of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation. The project will be produced by Dmitry Balashov and Natalya Martynyuk.

The first concert programme of the choir and orchestra will take place before the end of 2020. Now, according to Eugene Lavrenchuk , the all-Ukrainian selection of performers and approval of the repertoire will start.

He was awarded by the prestigious Ukrainian theater prize named after Les Kurbas in February, 2020. For the shocking opera “La Traviata”.

For staging an opera performance, the Les Kubas Prize was awarded for the first time, emphasize the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sports of Ukraine.

Eugene Lavrenchuk was born in 1982 in Lviv. In 2003 he graduated from the Russian Institute of Theater Arts (workshop of Roman Viktyuk) with a degree as opera director, then graduated from the High Courses of choreography at the Maria Curie-Warehouse University (Lublin, Poland), and High Courses of directors of feature films (Moscow). Since March 2018, he has been appointed chief director of the Odessa National Opera and Ballet Theater.

Eugene is the author of more than 30 productions on different Ukrainian and foreign stages. Carries out productions and active pedagogical activity in Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Lithuania and Israel. The author of the teaching methods of acting and directing. Fluent in Ukrainian, English, Polish, Hebrew, Russian and French.

“Museum collection” of shawls

The Oliz brand has created scarves and shawls with reproductions of famous paintings to support museums

In times of social and economic problems, art and culture suffer the most. But in the most difficult times, art itself helps us to survive – it inspires, gives strength and fragile, elusive, but at the same time strong support. Observing beauty helps to concentrate and see the most important things.

The OLIZ brand has launched the Silk Art project”, which created the “Museum collection”. 20% of the sale of shawls will support the museums that took part in this initiative.

This time Oliz created a collection of silk scarves with the reproductions of paintings taken from the collection of the Odessa Fine Art Museum:

“Washing the Flock” and “Morning at the Sea” by Ivan Aivazovsky, “Oaks” by Gerasim Golovkov and “Harvest” by Zinaida Srebryakova

“Museum collection”

“Beauty will save the world” is especially relevant today, when we need more reasons to be proud of our country and its artists. That is why we want to support ukrainian museums and give you the opportunity to have your own museum at home

OLIZ brand representatives

Photo: Angelina Golt
Model: Lizunosby
Style: Diana Onatskaya


Washing the Flock, I. Aivazovsky
Morning at the Sea, I. Aivazovsky
Oaks, Gerassim Golovkov
Harvest, Zinaida Serebryakova

You can purchase it on the OLIZ or OFAM website or directly in the museum at Sofiyivska, 5a.

The energy dispute

The energy dispute between Belarus and Russia, behind the increase of oil supply from Azerbaijan through the port of Odessa.

Around 85,000 tons of oil are planned to be sent to Belarus through Georgian Supsa port on June 25-26.

SOCAR [Azerbaijani State Oil Company] may supply up to 1 million tons of oil to Belarus in 2020

Alexander Tishchenko, Belarusian State Concern for Oil and Chemistry (Belneftekhim)

At the beginning of 2020, erupted a dispute between Belarus and Russia, which has been attempting for a long time to use the energy supply as a leverage to enforce Belarus to deeper integration of the two Countries. In the mind of Moscow there is the creation of a common Eurasian Economic Union tax policy with Belarus and Armenia.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus

Minsk reacted with an energy diversification tactic, searching for alternative crude oil supplies, in order to reduce the pressure from Moscow, showing its capacity to develop its own independent oil sources.

This is the reason of the purchase of oil from Norway, notwithstanding its high cost per barrel, and from Azerbaijan or Kazakhstan, much more convenient. Both of these alternatives entail marine transport, transfer of the load in the ports of Klaipeda (Lithuania) and Odessa (Ukraine), with a more expensive transport, than importing from Russia. In fact, the Norwegian oil through Klaipeda, reaches by rail the Belarusian Naftan refinery, instead of the direct connection of the Belarusian refineries to the Russian pipeline Druzhba. From Odessa the transport is more efficient, due to the Odessa-Brody-Gdansk pipeline.

From March through April 2020, SOCAR Trading supplied four batches totalling nearly 335,000 tons of oil (three batches with about 250,000 tons of oil in March and one with 85,000 tons in April) via the Georgia’s Supsa port (terminus of the pipeline from Azerbaijan), the port of Odessa and Odessa-Brody pipeline to the Belarusian Mozyr Oil Refinery.

In the past, oil supplies from Azerbaijan to Belarus were already carried out in 2011. The contract envisioned a supply of 4 million tons, but the actual volume of shipments amounted to about 900,000 tons.

In May 2020, Belarus began importing oil also from Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Where to: Have a Breakfast in Odessa

Whether you’d like to start your day in a restaurant or a biker café – it’s all here

Odessa’s best breakfasts – where to find them?

If you’re already up and out early enough on the weekend, there are some places that will absolutely make your Saturday morning.

From beautiful crispy croissants to bowls (and everything in between) we’ve rounded up Odessa’s best breakfasts, where the food is both delicious and highly Instagrammable. Here is our first selection of the BBP – Best Breakfast places.

Silence Espresso Bar

The interior is designed in an urban style – gray-beige colors, brick walls and ventilation pipes under the ceiling. Breakfast is served all day long. The menu includes Croc Madame with an English Cheddar and ham, avocado toast with poached egg and pesto of sun-dried tomatoes, scramble on toast with mascarpone, baked tomato and green onions, blueberry oatmeal with banana, chocolate and almonds. Also, two types of pancakes are served for breakfast: the first with poached egg, broccoli and Dor Blue, and the second with caramelized banana and salted caramel.


Here you will find the largest selection of morning dishes in the city. Whenever you visit this cafe, you will always be greeted with the phrase: “Good morning!”, Even if it will be already dark outside. In the Odessa cafe Benedikt, breakfast is prepared around the clock by the world’s best recipes: English, German, Italian, French, Israeli, Belarusian, Ukrainian and many others. The menu also has cheesecakes, cereals and fresh pastries.

Traveler’s Coffee Odessa 

There are 18 different breakfast on the menu, but you can increase their number by creating an individual breakfast. At the end of the menu there is a section “extras”, among which are eggs cooked in any form, salted salmon, toasts, berries, nutella and others. You can take any breakfast as a basis – green buckwheat with Feta and avocado, for example, and add salted salmon there – a new personal breakfast is ready.


Breakfast is served all day long, complemented with tea or cocoa. The menu includes omelet with cheese from Odessa goats milk, fried eggs with fried sausage, soft-boiled eggs with green salad and crispy croutons, croissants with salmon and poached egg or fried chicken, cereals and pancakes, dishes from milk and cottage cheese – yogurt with granola, cheesecakes with honey, cottage cheese or cheese with dried fruits and lazy dumplings with sour cream.


Intelligent city cafe “Minimalist” was created in the spirit of Scandinavian-Japanese aesthetics. Breakfast is served with filter coffee as a gift until 12:00. The menu includes scrambled eggs with slightly salted salmon, arugula and toast bread, poached eggs of your choice with mozzarella or salmon, omelet with mushrooms, scramble with truffle oil on spinach hash brown, toast with avocado mousse on whole grain bread, pancakes, cheesecakes and oats.

Hit The Fitz

Just don’t blame us for the headache tomorrow!

Serving an international jet-set crowd, drinks are organized by flavor profile, and the ones that incorporate champagne are the best place to start. It’s all about The Fitz Bar! The logo is a cheerful monkey with martini glass, as a symbol of carefree fun and celebration.

March 7, 2016 was the date of the official opening of The Fitz bar in Odessa. Its large windows open on to the street, although the sign outside is almost unnoticeable. Having crossed the threshold, The Fitz immediately conquers by its interior. An interesting combination of green-blue smudges on the time-worn walls with leather furniture plunges into the atmosphere of American bars of the Prohibition period, perfectly recreated by interior designer Denis Belenko.

Life here seemed to freeze and it is not the 21st century outside. There are shabby armchairs, crystal glassware in a large cupboard and a long bar counter – it’s a kind of time portal in the city center of Odessa.

The name of the bar refers to the images of Scott Fitzgerald, as well as Hemingway, who paid so much attention to the drinking of wine, cider and other alcoholic drinks in the “A Moveable Feast”.

Only a chic central chandelier makes you invigorate restoring connection with reality. At the long bar counter, which begins from the entrance, there are simple Viennese chairs decorated with metal backs with a logo – the letter F. They are echoed by solid and transparent metal lamps hanging above. A stand behind the bartender made of shiny metal has a shape symbolically resembling Russian roulette…

Going deeper into the bar along rows of chairs, you’ll find yourself in a small second room. In an ode to the revival of bar culture, a barbershop enters with a second line – the barber shop for men located right here. It refers to USA culture, in which such institutions appeared in the first half of the 20th century.

Here, each cocktail is served with a snack that perfectly complements and emphasizes its taste. You get not just a drink, but a whole complex of taste sensations.

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The Fitz Bar is delighted to announce the appointment of Federico Pasian as their new brand-bartender. Originally from Milan, Federico joined the bar team this year. With a decade of international experience, working in Italy, Spain and the Canary Islands, Federico is ready to impress the bar’s customers and introduce something different to the spoiled Odessa audience.

Federico Pasian

Photo credit: Belenco Design, The Fitz

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