Odessa National Scientific Library is a leading cultural center of Ukraine

Odessa National Scientific Library (Pasteur street 13) is the first public library in Ukraine. Its opening in 1829 marked the beginning of the foundation of public libraries in all cities of Russian Empire. Today, it is the leading socio-cultural center of the South of Ukraine and the research, methodological and coordination center in Ukraine on issues of library science, bibliography, document management.

The founding of library dates back to 1829. Those times, Odessa was fast growing and became the most opened and liberal city in Russian empire. Further to the introduction of the Porto Franco (free tax zone) regime, the City became a big center of international trade. More than 20 educational institutions were active, alongside with the Imperial Society of Agriculture and the Odessa City Museum of Antiquities. Several printing houses worked in the city and a newspaper, the “Odessa Vestnik” (Odessa’s Messenger), was publishing since 1827. A theater of 800 seats offered shows to the citizens.

On September 13, 1829, the city public library was founded in Odessa. It was a private initiative of public figures and intellectuals, like Aleksey Lyovshin, editor of the “Odesskiy Vestnik” (which had a French version: “Journal d’Odessa”), with the support of the Governor-General of the region, Count Mikhail Vorontsov, who appealed to the Emperor Nicholas I to issue an order to establish a city public library in Odessa. It was the second in the Russian Empire (after the Imperial Library in St. Petersburg).

Actually, the library was opened on April 15, 1830, because a plague epidemic broke out in Odessa at the end of 1829, By this time, the collection already numbered 5 thousand books.

Count Vorontsov presented the library with “a collection of expensive rare works.” These were 600 volumes of French classics in a luxurious edition of Firmin Didot. The wealthy citizens of Odessa followed the example of the Governor, and the number of books in the library began to increase rapidly.

The following collections of literature donated to the library were of particular value: Count. M. Tolstoy (more than 40,000 editions), G.G. Marazli (10,000 volumes), the library of the archaeologist P. A. Burachkov (3,176 volumes) and others. The fund also received foreign donations, since the 50s of the XIX century: the Smithsonian University (Washington), the Universities of Paris, Prague, Beijing, Harvard, the British Museum Library, the National Library of Paris and the Library of Congress in Washington.

A special place among the Trustees of the Library belongs to the honourable citizen of Odessa, Count Mikhail Tolstoy, who was its supervisor within 1897-1919.

Due to the constant expansion of the fund, the library moved several times; in 1883, a separate building was built for the Library and Museum of the Society of History and Antiquities, mainly at the expense of the mayor Grigory Marazli (currently it houses the Archaeological Museum).

In 1907, the library once again celebrated a housewarming, moving to one of the best examples of library architecture in the world, erected by the architect Fyodor Nesturkh. The front part of the main building is made in neo-Greek style with empire motives and modern elements. Above the portico there is a bas-relief in the form of garlands, interspersed with triumphal wreaths. Above them, the architect placed six majestic female figures, caryatids, who hold in their hands books and wreaths of wisdom and knowledge.

In 1922, thanks to the inclusion of the library in the list of the URSS leading library institutions, the library began to receive a mandatory copy of domestic publications. This completed the library with new editions in all branches, published in Ukraine.

In 1924, Odessa public library was subordinated to scientific institutions. In 1930, it was merged with the Odessa State University’s scientific library and the T.G. Shevchenko library. The new library received the name of «Odessa State Scientific Library». On February, 10, 1941 a Decree of Presidium of Supreme Soviet of Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic named the Library after «Maxim Gorky».

In 1998, the Library initiated the gallery of honourable benefactors of Odessa, to continue its tradition of patronage in arts.

In 2015, the Odessa National Order of Friendship of Peoples, Scientific Library «Maxim Gorky» was renamed into the Odessa National Scientific Library.

In 2018—2019, with the assistance of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation, two innovative projects were implemented:  

  • “Old engraving – the cultural heritage of Ukraine”, where for the first time a collection of unique engravings by masters from England, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Ukraine, France of the 16th-19th centuries, which are stored in the Library’s fund; remote access to them is provided.
  • “Treasures of Ukraine: a digital collection of book monuments in the fund of the Odessa National Scientific Library”, which provides remote access to the most valuable rare book monuments from the Library’s fund, subject to entry to the State Register of National Cultural Heritage.
The Library’s Fund

The fund of the Odessa National Scientific Library is universal, it contains more than 5.4 million documents in Russian, Ukrainian, English, French, German, Polish, Czech and other languages, including more than 200 thousand manuscripts, early printed books, rare and valuable publications.

The special pride of the library is the department of rare editions and manuscripts, created in 1921. Its first head, Alexandra Nikolaevna Tyuneeva (1888-1984), a well-known librarian and bibliophile, created the first book museum in Ukraine in the library.

The fund of the department has about 40 thousand rarities and is a national treasure of the people of Ukraine. The oldest monuments of Slavic writing of the 11th century are kept here. Among them are the legendary Khilandar and Ohrid sheets, found in the 19th century. the famous scientist V.I. Grigorievich on Athos (Greece), 52 incunabula and 155 paleotypes, a collection of Cyrillic early printed books, including the Ostrog Bible (1581), printed by Ivan Fedorov, publications of the Lviv Brotherhood, Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.

Pictures from Archodessa

“Odeskabel PJSC” knows how to choose a LAN cable for fast Internet.

With the rapid development of network components and ever-increasing bandwidth, higher demands on network cables are required. Considering the difficulty of replacing and re-upgrading cables, advanced cables must be used for future deployments.

Industry expert Sergey Sidorenkov, the Head of the Structured Cable Systems Department at Odeskabel PJSC, spoke about the cable market developing in the modern world and gave recommendations on choosing a LAN cable.

World trend

Today, the shares of cable categories cat. 5e and 6 / 6A have a global average of about 50/50. Moreover, if in developed countries the share of solutions based on cat. 6 and above approaches 90%, and cat. 5e covers about 10%, then in developing countries the situation is exactly the opposite: the biggest share (about 85%) falls on cat. 5e. Some exceptions to this rule are the 50/50 US market despite the high level of the country’s economic development.

What are cat5, cat5e and cat6 / 6a Ethernet cables?

Category 5 and 6 are used for Ethernet networks, consist of four twisted pairs of copper wire to carry signals. Cat5 is the older generation of cables, especially compared to cat6. Currently cat6 is the most advanced generation between three types of cables, faster than cat5 or cat5e. And it can support higher frequencies.

The industry is developing and the share of cat. 5e is constantly decreasing. According to new forecasts the rate of such changes is about 5% per year. And this is true both for the global market and for Ukraine.

It is worth mentioning that a number of experts are now talking about a much more intensive pace of development of digital infrastructure, which is due to recent problems with network bandwidth caused by a sharp increase in traffic during the Covid-19 quarantine period.

Previously, the reason for the lack of need for high speeds was rather that for most applications 100 Mbps streams were sufficient. Today, the situation has changed, primarily due to the widespread use of video services and the dominance of video data, which form about 80% of traffic.

We were the first to encounter a problem in China, where due to the massive transition to online offices, education systems, and entertainment, serious overloads were observed, which at some point completely “put down” the network. Similar problems have arisen around the world, with services such as YouTube and Netflix having to lower video quality to avoid network congestion.

Interesting facts:
* The Boeing 787 generates about 40 terabytes (TB) of dataper flight, 500 GB of which is ultimately transferred to the data center for analysis and storage.
* A large retail store collects about 10 gigabytes (GB) of data per hour, of which 1 GB is transferred to the data center.
* A mining company like Rio Tinto can generate up to 2.4 TB of data per minute.


Despite the presence of the international standard ISO / IEC 11801, European countries are often guided by EN 50173, and the USA by ANSI / TIA 568.

There is no fundamental difference between them. Only some minor differences in technical parameters and terminology. But the key requirements of all these standards will be the same: for home use, it is recommended to use solutions of at least cat. 5e (Class D), for offices, business centers, hotels – not lower than cat. 6 (Class E), and for data centers – cat. 6A (Class EA) and above.

Any cable system is designed for a much longer service life than, for example, active equipment. Therefore, competent managers, if necessary, will save better on computers (functional wear), but not on the cable system. And the cost of such a system is orders of magnitude less. As for the difference in the cost of moving to a higher category, it averages 30%. In this case, the possible data transfer rate is at least doubled.

Now let’s summarize. The choice of a cable system depends primarily on what the network is built for.

Home use: category 5e is the most rational solution that fully covers the needs of today. If you want to have a reserve for the future choose category 6.

For an office, hotel, business center, bank: we use at least category 6. If the average line length exceeds 50 m, and there are many lines, it is better to opt for category 6A.

For data center: category 6A

Interesting facts:
* The share of shielded LAN-cables produced by “Odeskabel
PJSC” in the EU Countries reaches almost 50%.
* On the basis of Long Ethernet cable manufactured by Odeskabel PJSC, it is possible to obtain a 100-megabit line length up to 300 m.
* The copper conductor diameter in a Category 6 LAN cable can be 0.51 mm (24 AWG).
* Specially for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, a unique LAN cable cat. 5e brand KRM was created. It withstands 1.2 kN tensile strength and resists the harshest field conditions.

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VII Moldova Business Week 2020 Forum

On November 19-21, 2020, Chisinau will host the VII Moldova Business Week 2020 Forum , organized by the Government of the Republic of Moldova and the InvestMoldova Investment Agency.

During the first day of the forum, Moldovan officials and leading experts plan to discuss trends in world economies, main areas of investment, as well as panel sessions on Moldova’s economic policy, development of measures to integrate Moldova’s economy into the world, attracting foreign investment to create new ones. production and industrial processes.

The second day will focus on the development of seven strategic sectors of the Moldovan economy: agri-food, information and communication technologies, business process outsourcing and research and development (BPO & R&D), infrastructure, information technology (IT), industrial production and fashion.

Within the framework of the sessions it is planned to hold presentations of individual companies from each sector of the economy, to organize the possibility of selecting business partners, to participate in interactive panel discussions.

Among the Speakers:

  • Michio KAKU – Influencer, motivator, visioner, futurist, bestselling author of 4 New York Times Best-Sellers, New York, USA
  • Binod CHAUDHARY – Chairman of Chaudhary Group, Nepal and CG Corp Global
  • Massimo MELONI – Economic Affairs Officer, Investment Policies Expert, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
  • Stefan KRATZSCH – Industrial Development Officer, United Nation Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
  • Ion CHICU – Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova
  • Dereck J. HOGAN – U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova
  • Sergiu PUȘCUȚA – Prime Minister, Minister of Finance
  • Sergiu RĂILEAN – Minister of Economy and Infrastructure
  • Rodica VERBENIUC – General Director, Moldovan Investment Agency
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Moldova Business Week 2020

Due to the further spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the forum is planned to be held online. The registration form for participation will be available soon on the event page – https://mbw.md/.

Ukrainian enterprises are invited to participate, whose participation will promote the development of Ukrainian-Moldovan economic cooperation and cooperation between enterprises of both countries.

Hamburg investment of Euro 20 million in the Port of Odessa

Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA), the biggest German container terminals operator based in Hamburg, has completed a new project in the Port of Odessa worth 20 million euros. Its Ukrainian subsidiary, Container Terminal Odessa (CTO), has finished the construction of the 4th launch complex of a new container terminal on the Quarantine Pier of Odessa Sea Port.

A briefing presentation of the completion of the project took place within the framework of the international transport forum TRANS EXPO-2020 (report from the press service of the German Group).

The 4th launch complex is a 6-lane platform for storage and handling of containers, with all communications and lighting, equipped with modern Liebcherr pneumatic gantry container cranes. According to the German side, the total investment in this facility amounted to more than 20 million euros.

Today we are presenting the successful implementation of the next stage of investment within the framework of the project to expand the container terminal at the Quarantine pier, which gives us a” plus “the terminal’s capacity of 300 thousand TEU.

Anastas Kokkin, General Director of CTO

According to the head of the company, the completion of the construction of the 4th launch complex was another step towards the implementation of the plan to create a high-tech container terminal in the port of Odessa with a capacity of more than 1.2 million TEU per year.

To date, the German side has already invested more than 120 million euros in the project. In addition to infrastructure investments, in order to improve the quality of service for clients and achieve maximum efficiency and manufacturability in work, Container Terminal Odessa invests in innovative technologies. Currently, a project is being implemented to introduce a state-of-the-art web portal for the transition to electronic document management and maximum optimization of basic procedures for the terminal’s clients, including a dramatic reduction in the time required to process the entry of freight vehicles.

Anastas Kokkin, General Director of CTO

He added that the new service using the web portal meets the advanced European standards and is certified by the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine.

In turn, Svetlana Yarovaya, Vice President for Social and Political Relations of CTO and Hamburger Ambassador in Ukraine, confirmed the continuity of the HHLA course towards the development of its projects in Ukraine.

In particular, in addition to investing in the expansion of the container terminal on the Quarantine Pier, this year the German partners announced the creation of the Ukrainian Intermodal Company (UIC), which will develop container rail transportation, to and from the Odessa port. For this purpose, CTO is implementing an investment project to double the terminal’s capacity to handle regular container trains.

As an honorary representative of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg in Odessa, I would like to note that the German company HHLA of the Hamburg port with a turnover of more than 1.25 billion euros, is a systemic and most powerful German investor in the maritime transport industry of Ukraine. Today, in the most difficult economic conditions, connected with an epidemiological quarantine situation, Hamburg not only did not stop its investments, but is also doing everything possible to increase cargo turnover and attract new customers.

Svetlana Yarovaya, Vice President for Social and Political Relations

It is worth reminding that the subsidiary company Container Terminal Odessa (until 2017, subsidiary “GPK-Ukraine”) is the largest operator of port container handling in Ukraine. According to the results of last year, CTO handled almost 5 million tons of container and general cargo. At the same time, 391.4 thousand TEUs were handled (+ 15.8% to the level of 2018).

The company has been operating a container terminal at the Quarantine pier of the Odessa port since 2001. The company has been implementing the terminal expansion project together with the USPA represented by the Odessa port administration since 2019. The first and second start-up complexes of the project, which include, incl. new state berths 1-k and 2-k, put into operation in autumn 2014.

CTO is one of the largest taxpayers of the Odessa region: in 2018, the company transferred UAH 390 million to the budgets of all levels. At the end of 2019, “Container Terminal Odessa” took second place in the international rating of leaders of the Black Sea container terminals.

Film Code Odessa: “Natural selection”

The story of an alien sent to a doomed earth to try and ‘correct’ the mistakes humans have made. We’re speaking about “Natural Selection”, the video clip which was shoted in Odessa for Black Orchid Empire by Alina Gordienco

This year the British alternative rock band Black Orchid Empire premiered three music videos for their singles ‘Evergreen’, ‘Winter Keeps Us Warm’ and ‘Natural Selection’. Having been shot in Odessa, Ukraine, this collection of music videos are directed by Odessa born, London based filmmaker and producer Alina Gordienco, whilst cinematography was led by Vadim Dusman. For Alina, ‘Natural Selection’ is the fifth music video she has directed and recorded in Odessa.

Shot in the iconic Odessa district – Kotovsky Borough, ‘Natural Selection’ video centres around an alien creature landing on a post-apocalyptic like Earth and arrives in the heart of the city’s suburbs to study the local lifeforms amongst the Soviet brutalist architecture. The alien roams among the surreal constructions, coming across the wired inhabitants and even having a close call with local police, however luckily his extraterrestrial ability to freeze people using his magic necklace helps him avoid any trouble. The overall negative state of the world is examined by the alien before it weighs up the ultimate decision of whether the planet and its inhabitants should be allowed to exist or be ‘reset’ for good. It is only when the alien witnesses a parent and child share a moment of love for the planet and each other, the final choice is called into question and in the concluding moment the alien seems to favour saving the planet, although that is left ambiguous.

I think this video is my best work so far. This is a product of a true love for fabulous music and great people with whom I have worked. And I am endlessly grateful to my wonderful team that helped to do all this.

Alina Gordienco
Alina Gordienco
Behind the scene

Speaking to Alina, who grew up in the Kotovsky Borough area, it was important to pay homage and showcase the realism of Soviet brutalist architecture as a backdrop to the experiential video plot. The aliens arrival conjures a mirror to society, in which we reflect on the day to day living and call into question the way humanity exists. Seeing the world through the alien’s eyes, Gordienco felt that it was essential to “show to the audience our world from a different perspective if we don’t have any knowledge about the history or background of the place”. The illustrated mosaic facade of School Number 14 of the Kotovsky Borough is set as the backdrop of the aliens appearance and as the alien traverses deeper into the urban landscape, the local suburban architectural provides a post apocalyptic feel to the footage. For Alina, who has a degree in Architecture, the “rhythm” of the music can be emphasised through the concrete structures and particularly in this case the “worn out pieces of Soviet brutalism architecture” provide a glimpse into Odessa’s past. The significance and special connection Gordienco has to the city stems not only from her childhood but lies in “a strong need to introduce her hometown all over the world”.

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Black Orchid Empire - Natural Selection (Official Video)

Having been awarded the title of Goodwill Ambassador of Odessa in 2018, Gordienco feels a strong personal need to display the “many unique” aspects of the city, as well as the “special Odessa spirit” on a global platform.

The honour of representing Odessa is further supported during the annual Odessa International Film Festival (OIFF), which according to Gordienco has been the “biggest game changer” in recognising and promoting the city world-wide. Alina has also collaborated with OIFF for years as the curator of the Art Program. Despite the OIFF being held virtually this year, Gordienco believes the “dedication, commitment and hard work” in finding new approaches is vital to keep the Ukrainian cinematography industry going despite the difficulties faced in 2020. The directorial work produced by Gordienco highlights her individual ties to the area and recognises the cultural heritage of the city that helped shape and mould her creative vision.

“Natural Selection” the fourth track taken from the new studio album  Semaphore  via  Long Branch Records

Director – Alina Gordienco
Cinematographer – Vadim Dusman
Producer– Alina Gordienco
Executive producer – Vadim Dusman
Featuring Bogdan Aksanyuk, Oleg Topor, Stanislav Obrashchenko, Inna Radyukevich, Maksym Mikhnevych, Felix Chaklosh, Oleksandra Chaklosh, Anton Lysykh, Anastasia Potapova
Editor/Colorist– Maxim Denysenko
Produced bySaturn 8, Bazooka production
1 AC – Sasha Chernov
2 AC – Vyacheslav Shevchenko
Production designer – Alina Gordienco
MUA – Tetiana Mikhnevych
Production Manager – Mikhail Sorvachev
Key Grip – Anton Lysykh
Jewelry by Alligator Jesus
Outfit by Nimble Scissors
Special thanks: Lena Kosenko, David Tamargo
Music – Black Orchid Empire

Behind the scene

Haifa Sister City of Odessa

Haifa is the 3rd largest city in Israel, with a population of 283,640 (2018) inhabitants and, since the British Mandate, the Country’s main port, specialised in exports. In recent times, its reputation as education and research centre has grown, thanks to the presence of two of Israel’s leading Universities: University of Haifa and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

Haifa is considered the Israel’s most ethnically mixed city. Actually, it is the home of Jewish new immigrants, coming mainly from Ukraine, Russia and Ethiopia, accounting for 22.8% of the total population, veteran Jewish (residents of Israel for more than 20 years), Arabs both of Muslim and Christian faith (10.6% of the city population), as well as a new growing group of “non Jewish, non Arabs immigrants” (around 1-2%).

Historically, the city has also been the venue for Protestant migrants from Germany, Jews from Romania, “Baha’í” believers (after the interment of the remains of the Prophet Báb on the Mount Carmel) and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, a reformist movement founded in India. Moreover, has to be mentioned the presence of Muslim Sunni, Christian Catholic and Orthodox and Druze communities.

Due to this ethnic and religious mix, which creates amazing fusions of different cultures the City is considered a model of tolerance and the most cohesive city in Israel.

The “San Francisco” of Israel

Beautifully set on the slopes of Mount Carmel (which owes its name after an old monastery of Carmelites), facing the Mediterranean Sea, Haifa is called by some as “Israel’s San Francisco”. Although traditionally a working city, there are many attractions for tourists: Baha’i Gardens, German Colony buildings, Haifa’s beaches and some important museums.

The city’s crown jewel when it comes to tourism is undoubtedly the Baha’i Gardens, which form part of the Baha’i World Center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Baha’i religion is an Islamic sect, which emphasizes tolerance and peace. These beautiful gardens are a place of pilgrimage for members of the Baha’i faith and are set across terraces sloping down Mount Carmel towards the Mediterranean Sea.

At the foot of the gardens is Haifa’s German Colony. It was founded in the late 1860s by German Templars (not to be confused with the Templar Knights of the Crusades) and throughout the two world wars in the early 20th century was inhabited by a community of German Protestants. The main street of the German Colony, Ben Gurion Avenue, runs direct from the bottom of the gardens towards the coast and is lined with cosy restaurants and red-roofed cafes.

As far as museums in Haifa are concerned, the Madatech Science and Technology Museum is Israel’s national museum of Science. The city’s zoo, the Haifa Educational Zoo, beautifully set on Mount Carmel, has over 100 species of wildlife, whilst the city’s Clandestine Immigration and Navy Museum chronicles the story of Israel’s Navy and some of its major successes. The Haifa City Museum has a varied schedule of exhibitions ranging from film to art. Just south of Haifa is the Atlit Detainee Camp, a museum about illegal immigration in Israel.

Major events in Haifa

Haifa’s biggest cultural event is the “International Film Festival”, which runs for one week each year at the end of September and transforms the city into a party city with over a hundred films of all genres shown.

In December, the city hosts the “Festival of Festivals”, which celebrates Hanukkah, Christmas, and Ramadan. During this festival, thousands of people travel to Haifa to join the celebration and walk along the “Co-existence Walk”, which passes through the city’s old neighbourhoods.


The municipal cooperation for the years of 2008-2009 saw these initiatives held in Odessa and Haifa respectively:

  • Exhibition of cartoon artists of Haifa, Zvi Roger’s photographic exhibition «Modern Haifa», exhibition «Odessa. Beginning of the Twentieth Century», prepared by the City Hall of Odessa.
  • Exchange of sports teams to participate in the traditional competitions in judo, conducted by the sport departments of the municipalities, took place.
  • Visit by the Odessa delegations to Haifa to participate to the celebration of 75th  Anniversary of the city Rotary Club of Haifa and to the International Conference of Sister Cities in Jerusalem.
  • On the 15th anniversary of Sister City Agreement between Odessa and Haifa, an extra cooperation agreement 2007-2008 was signed by the Odessa mayor Eduard Gurvits, for strengthening the bounds of cooperation in economic and cultural branches.
  • Visit by the Haifa delegation headed by Mayor J. Yahav to Odessa to discuss issues concerning the further development of amicable relations between two cities, particularly in the sphere of tourism, cooperation in the issue of opening research centers in high technology.
  • From 13 to 18 of October, 2017 a delegation of Odessa was on a working visit to the State of Israel. During their meetings the Mayor of Odessa Gennadiy Trukhanov and Mayor of Haifa Mr. Yona Yahav discussed the further development of cooperation between the two sister cities.

The Odessa Journal thanks the Foreign Relations Department and the Secretary General’s Office of Haifa Municipality for the help offered to create this article.

The legend of the Cossack Gold left in the Bank of England

This is the story of the Hetman (Cossack leader) Pavlo Polubotok, who deposited a large amount of gold into an English bank in 1723, before being imprisoned by the Tsar Peter the Great. This legend is also called: the Gold of Polubotok.

In 1723, the Cossack Pavlo Polubotok, Hetman of Left-bank Ukraine (East of the Dnieper River), dispatched his son Iakiv and three companions to the northern port of Arkhangelsk. From there they had to sail to London on a mission of the utmost secrecy. The Cossacks carried one (or two) wooden barrel filled to brimming with between 200,000 and 1,000,000 gold rubles, to be deposited with an English bank. Unfortunately, the precise detail of the bank (Bank of England, or Lloyd’s Bank, or perhaps the East India Company Bank) have been lost to history.

Polubotok sent his gold to London because he knew he was going to be arrested by the Tsar Peter I. The Hetman had long been a staunch defender of the principles of Ukrainian autonomy, as defined by the Treaty of Pereyaslav of 1654, and had thereby incurred the first Russian emperor’s wrath. The Count Alexander Rumyantsev was dispatched to investigate the Cossack leader for “conspiracy to promote the autonomy of Ukraine,” a capital offense, and Polubotok was convicted.

In November 1723, Polubotok had been inprisoned in Saint Petersburg’s Peter and Paul Fortress, and within a year he was dead, probably starved or smothered by his captors. But, his rubles were quite safe in England, under 7.5% annual interest. Polubotok had instructed the depositors that the gold represented a bequest to the Ukrainian people, albeit one that would not vest immediately. Only upon the attainment of a “free Ukraine” would the bullion be distributed with these quotas: 20% to his heirs, and 80% to the Ukrainian people as a whole.

Pavlo Polubotok
Russian, Soviet and Ukrainian investigations and recovery attempts

In 1907, the story first became widely known when it was published in the Russian journal New Time by Professor Alexander Rubets. In 1908, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia ordered an investigation by the Russian Consulate in London. Specifically, their unclaimed deposits at the Bank of England over the previous 200 years were controlled, and the alleged amount of Polubotok’s fortune was not found.

In 1922, Ostap Poluboto from São Paulo (Brazil), a relative of the famous Cossack, met up with the Ukrainian Soviet Consul, Yuri Kotsubinsky, in Vienna and showed him a copy of the 200-year-old document attesting to his legacy. Kotsubynsky approached Grygory Petrovsky, the Head of the Ukrainian Central Committee and of the All-Ukrainian Revolutionary Committee, with a plan for the recovery of the fortune.

In July 1922, a meeting took place between Ostap Polubotok, Robert Mitchell, from the Bank of England, and the Consul Peter (Kotsubynsky was ill) in Maria-Esensdorf, outside of Vienna. The matter however came to an end with the removal and repression of both Petrovsky and Kotsubynsky during a purge.

In January 1960, the United States of Dwight Eisenhower proclaimed the Ukraine’s Day. The Soviet KGB reported that England had given money to support this propagandist action and that the money had come from the Polubotok’s bank account. The matter came to the attention of Nikita Khrushchev, who ordered an investigation to recover the money. They set up a commission, which included two historians: Olena Kompan, and Olena Apanovych. In January 1968, Olena Apanovych published her findings in a paper for the Presidium of Communist Party. She was later asked not to discuss this “State secret”.

In the chaotic time of the Soviet Union’s collapse, the story again attracted public attention. In May 1990, the Ukrainian poet Volodymyr Tsybulko instigated a spirit of “gold rush”, announcing that if the gold were returned, it would amount to 38 kilograms for each one of the 52 million citizens of independent Ukraine. This astronomical figure, was calculated on the basis of interest over 270 years. Thereafter, Tsybulko confessed that his speech in 1990 was merely propagandistic.

The heated interest in the lost treasury coincided with a visit to Kiev on June 9, 1990 of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. In that time, the Ukrainian legislator Roman Ivanychuk announced with levity that the Bank of England would soon be owing sixteen trillion pounds sterling to the future Ukrainian Republic. “This was not a legend,” the Ukrainian ambassador to the United Nations, Gennadiy Udovenko, confidently announced at a press conference held in Geneva. The Ukrainian parliament created a special committee headed by Petro Tronko, Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, who visited London. The gold, however, was not found.

While rumours of Polubotok’s gold had been surfacing regularly since around 1860, and had thoroughly been investigated by folklorist Alexander Rubets in 1907, no supporting evidence had ever been found. Some Ukrainians held out hope that evidence could still be found buried in Soviet archives, while others worried that most ancient bank records had been set ablaze during Stalin’s crack down on the monasteries.

In any case, it is sure that this story will survive as a nice and emblematic legend within Ukrainian history.

Peter the Great and Pavlo Polubotok in prison

The Masonic house in Odessa

The Odessans call it the “Masonic house” for the Masonry symbols on the portico of its façade. It is located at the corner of Knyazhskaya and Staroportofrankovskaya streets. This house was very important in the history of Odessa.

In 1864, the Odessa Society of Engineers and Architects, was founded in Odessa. It was one of the first technical societies in Russia. In 1871, on its basis, the Odessa branch of the Imperial Russian Technical Society (RTO) was created.

The design and construction of the department building was entrusted to the most prominent architects of Odessa at that time (who were also members of the RTO). The project was prepared by E.Ya. Mesner; the building was constructed by A.I. Bernardazzi, with the participation of architects A.D. Todorov and N.K. Tolvinsky and engineers P.S. Chekhovich and M.M. Dieterichs. The interiors were designed by Hermann Shevrembrandt, who used rich materials (mahogany, stucco) for the decoration. The construction began in 1887 and was completed in 1892.

The “School of Foremen” at the Russian Technical Society in Odessa

A little later, namely in 1901–02, according to the project of the architect S.A. Landesman, the builder G.F. Lonsky, with the participation of engineers P.S. Chekhovich and V.B. Orlovsky, a new building was added at the Russian Technical society, also called, the School of Foremen.

The buildings were built in the “brick style”, that became popular in the second half of the 19th century. The characteristic features of this style were the use of bricks of various shapes, colours and sizes as a finishing material (without the use of plaster) and as elements of decoration of buildings.

The department had several sections, the number of which constantly increased, with the development of science and the emergence of new fields of knowledge. By the end of the society’s existence, there were 13 sections in it: construction, chemical, mechanical, mining, naval, military, photographic, commission on technical education, economic, architectural, sanitary and technical; electrical and aeronautical and automotive section. The department carried out scientific and educational work, famous scientists were invited to teach at the school at the department and to give lectures.

In September 15, 1897, within the walls of the RTO, the inventor of radio A.S. Popov, within the framework of the “IV Consultative Congress of Railway Electrical Engineers and Representatives of the Telegraph Service of the Russian Railways”, carried out experiments on “wireless transmission of dispatches.” In addition to delegates, who arrived from all over the Empire, the report was attended by workers of the postal and telegraph department of Odessa, officers of technical troops, commanders and officers of ships in the Odessa port and on the roads, teachers and students.

At school, along with special disciplines, they studied general subjects. Russian literature, for example, was taught at one time by P.V. Kataev, the father of the writers Valentin Kataev and Yevgeny Petrov. The future rocket scientist, academician S.P.Korolev studied in this building.

The training carried out, delivered better than in state educational institutions, made it possible for children from low-income families to acquire a working profession and improve the already existing qualifications of adult workers for a relatively moderate fee.

In 1912, an evening school for adult women of Anna Andreevna Mironovich was opened at the RTO, in which nine teachers taught. In 1914, at the address of the Society, there was a city primary school No. 80. After the start of the Great War, the Society created “Courses for crippled soldiers”, in which the wounded could learn new professions.

On August 11, 1904, the “Moving Museum of Visual Teaching Aids” was opened in the building. The museum contained a collection of samples of devices and preparations in various branches of knowledge, technical, industrial, and handicraft industries and arts.

Visual teaching aids, workshops for the production of manuals and a library were of museum value. The museum served as a kind of central warehouse for teaching aids for the Odessa region, from which grants for temporary use were issued. The museum served free of charge public schools, evening, Sunday and Saturday courses for workers; all other educational institutions – for a fee.

Workshops for the production of visual aids were set up at the museum. In the zoological workshop, macroscopic and microscopic preparations were made for zoology and other branches of natural science. The physical and mechanical workshop accepted orders for the manufacture of all kinds of physical instruments, accessories for laboratories and scientific offices. Black-and-white and colour transparencies were made in a specialised workshop. The prices for instruments and aids produced by workshops for sale were significantly lower than those of other firms.

On August 31, 1920, the Provincial Revolutionary Committee adopted a resolution to liquidate the Odessa branch of the former Imperial Russian Technical Society. All of its departments with sections were distributed between different departments. In Soviet times, the building of the former RTO housed the Institute of Rare Metals and a pilot production facility of the FKhI of the Ukrainian SSR Academy of Sciences.

In the memoirs of S. Richter, he mentioned his first public concert, on February 19, 1934, which was given in the “House of the Engineer, famous in Odessa”. By this name the great pianist had in mind precisely the “Masonic House”.

The legend of Freemasonry presence in Odessa

It is believed that the house got this name for its characteristic decor, reminiscent of the symbolism of “Freemasons”. The brick style itself, many Masonic symbols both in the decoration of the facades and in the interior, only confirm the correctness of this name. Symbols are, first of all, the working tools of the Freemasons, who called themselves the “Architects of the Universe”: compasses and squares in various combinations, a plumb line, a trowel, a hammer, an apron, gloves. On the shield, on the portico of the facade, under the letters TO (Technical Society), the inscription of the Society’s motto “Measure, Weight, Number”

The Masonic House remained abandoned for years and was gradually deteriorating. In August 2015, the Odessa Regional Council sold, on the third attempt, the property at an auction to Ruslan Tarpan’s Art Building Group for UAH 1.6 million (about $ 70,000). A price of a decent two-room apartment in a residential area of ​​Odessa, not an architectural monument, a two-storey stone house with a total area of ​​over 1100 sq.m. Certainly, the building was in bad condition. The drainage system, electric heating networks, household and drainage systems not used for a long time. The condition of the sale was that Art Building Group undertook the restauration of the monument in its authentic form.

However, Ruslan Tarpan was never able to get the ownership of the house. The Odessa Regional Administration’s Cultural Heritage Protection Department, when Mikhail Saakashvili was governor, refused to sign the protection agreement necessary to complete the purchase. On July 20, 2016, the roof collapsed. Many rich decorative elements have been lost. The head of the State Emergency Service in the Odessa region, Alexander Kritsky, said that some residents of Odessa dismantled the building and, consequently, it fell down.

Pictures from Dumskaya.net

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