Odessa Local Customs

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  • Local Customs
    by arturowan
  • Local Customs
    by arturowan

Best Rated Local Customs in Odessa

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    Just waiting for a tram?

    by arturowan Updated Mar 12, 2013

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    Typical street scene in 0dessa - a scenic city...
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    A first time visitor from the west, is sure to be taken aback at what 0dessa girls chose to wear - or not to wear on the hottest days of the year...
    I know I was! My return visits have all been in the winter, but even so...
    Fashion basics is apparently - Paris streetwalker, with more make-up than a typical transvestite would apply - peculiar considering Ukrainian girls are naturally attractive, yet seem compelled to bury their looks under facepaint...
    Such 'dyevooshkee' seem to delight in hanging around the kerbs on busy street corners, looking for any passer-by, like 'asphalt flowers', (a Russian euphemism for girls soliciting for men...)
    A sarcastic Russian couplet has evolved in popular culture, in observation of this behaviour...
    It does not translate well in English, because it is a rhymimg phrase - 'padoomayesh? Ya nye takaya, ya tolka zhdoo tramvaya!'
    ("You think? I'm not such, I'm just waiting for a tram!")
    0bject of the vicarious humour being - if the girl in ? who has taken such offence at being approached by a curious male, is so innocent, why wear enough make-up you could paint a 'dacha' with, together with push-up bra, flimsy top, fishnet hold-ups, & obligatory miniskirt?
    0f course - the main reason in order to visit 0dessa is to admire the scenery - the classical architecture, that is!

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    Ukrainian skip wars!

    by arturowan Updated Jan 31, 2013

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    0dessa has a deserved reputation for being a dusty, dirty metropolis & that was certainly my first impression on my original arrival in August - so it came as a surprise to discover in that the early hours of each morning, the streets are bustling with hunchbacks, bent over with short-handled brooms, sweeping. (When I returned in winter, I witnessed the same folk busy about sweeping snow from the pavements...)
    Their brushes are still traditionally made from a bundle of twigs, bound to a short handle, so it is back-straining work requiring a lot of stooping. 0dessa's streets are lined with dumpsters - 'moosarniy' - into which it might seem obvious to put the collected leaves, trash & dust, but instead it is heaped into piles in the kerbs - the consequence of which is that when the wind blows in from the coast, all this diligent brushing goes to waste...
    The blue dumpsters are a characteristic sight of 0dessa - bearing the tradename SOYUZ - synonymous with when Ukraine was part of the Soviet 'UNION' & all companies, privetely-owned or nationalised, were supposedly all 1-in-the-same...
    1 of the notable differences in the city when I returned later, was to see the new black skips lined along pavements, bearing the tradename EKOGRAD - a symbol of 'the new Ukraine' (& privatisation)...
    0n subsequent news features, this new competitor to the SOYUZ monopoly was shown as the victim of the wrath of the establishment's workforce, who on their rounds were sabotaging the EKOGRAD bins & leaving them upturned in the streets - so, as if 0dessa did not have a chronic enough litter problem, now the workforce paid to clear it, is in fact, adding to it - only in Ukraine...

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    WATCH YOUR FEET!

    by arturowan Updated Nov 7, 2013

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    The new Ukraine might like to believe it is up to par with western Europe, but 1 area where the standards are lamentably Third World, is the condition of pavements & roads - potholes in this country, night be regarded as crevasses in the west...
    0dessa suffers worse than maybe any other Ukrainian city, owing to its age, with the cobbled, tram-lined, main streets giving a very old world feel to the centre, where there does not appear to have been any effectual maintenance throughout the Soviet era...
    0dessa's centre is characterised by courtyards & cellar-level dwellings, reachable from a flight of stone steps set inconveniently into the pavements, WITHOUT railings, so considering there is no street lighting in the city, if you do not watch your step, you could suffer a serious fall...
    The drainage grids & manhole covers are bigger than is standard in the west, & the weight of metal in them makes them lucrative to scrap thieves, so there are many open holes in the roads, leaving a sheer fall into the sewers or buried cables - take particular caution in wet weather when crossing the road - what appears to be a deep puddle may be a fathomless pit...
    The trip hazards are increased by the tree & vine-lined streets, because roots from these plants have rippled the paving, in places making it resemble a ploughed field, covered in asphalt...
    As if all these faults in the pavement were not enough of a problem, to deter pavement parking, plant pots have been concreted to the surface by residents, & these more than all the other hazards listed, have caused me more trips & near mishaps, especially after dark...
    0dessa is built over a complex of catacombs & these do not seem to be that far below ground level - a problem when subsidence occurs, as it does by itself, or when a heavy vehicle is left too long on a vulnerable area...
    0n the tv news I have seen a delivery lorry, buried cab end down, up to the glazing, where the surface on which it was parked has sunk into the dark depths...
    Having mentioned all these very real dangers, Inever managed to actually fall over during any of my stays in 0dessa, but the biggest downside of all this careful stepping, was that the city's spectacular skyline cannot be appreciated while on the move, because it really requires eyes to be kept downwards...

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    NAKED...& funny?

    by arturowan Updated Jan 17, 2014

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    0dessa is a city with a reputation for a unique sense of humour & there is even a day set aside as a local festival to celebrate 0dessite hunour...
    The city can also be recognised in scenes from the locally made, but American financed, blend of Jeremy Beadle meets The Benny Hill Show - NAKED & FUNNY!
    This show is a supposed set-up of unsuspecting passers-by, usually involving at least 1 model losing her clothes, stripping-off, or appearing topless in such unlikely settings as a library...
    It is entertaining enough, but the over-acted reactions of members of the public when the supposedly 'hidden' camera is pointed out to them, suggests that as with all such supposedly candid tv, the entire scenario was no secret...
    This programme might not be regarded as typically 0dessite, but I do think it reflects the city's humour, because like the people, it is a tad immature/childish, akin to a McGill seaside postcard scene, minus the English subtlety & sophistication - adding any bikini model who is game enough to give an eyeful of her 'balshoi bankee' ("big jugs"...)
    I once presented a bottle of Californian wine to some folk in 0dessa, who found it hilarious when the label serving suggestion was translated to read, "with a barbecue, or while watching a DVD..."
    Quite why drinking wine while watching a DVD was such a source of hilarity I still do not quite appreciate; I suppose you just have to be an 0dessite?

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    'dooshna'

    by arturowan Written Mar 28, 2011

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    0dess'ka 0blast is a hardwater area - something you only have to turn any tap on to discover!
    Limescale emerges in flakes & even when boiled in strong tea or coffee, taints the taste. In Soviet times, drinking water was delivered daily by tanker, but now you have to go to the pathetically few & far between, for a city of 1.1million people, standpipe stations, with plastic containers to store your water in. To counteract the limescaling of pipes, an unforunate tradition has arisen in 0dessa, in August, when the weather is described as , "dooshna" (suffocatingly hot) to turn off hotwater systems. The result of which is THE worst thing about the city if you visit in this month - THE STENCH! You really do have to experience it to believe how bad it is - not only of unwashed bodies, but stale, sweaty clothes as well...Even in the evenings, when the streets are not so crowded, the air is still tainted by this pervasive odour...By far the worst afflicted is public transport, making trams & trolleybuses unusable, unless you're adapt at holding your breath, as the locals appear to be...

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    beggars can be choosers?

    by arturowan Updated Apr 23, 2011

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    The attitude of 0dessites is unlike any other I have experienced & is not easy to define; contrary & paradoxical as it is. Perhaps this is best typified by their reaction to receiving gifts, something that you might assume to be gratefully taken, considering the proportion of the population claiming they're too poor to afford food...
    In general, 0dessites are appreciative of a kindness, but it is tempered with a peculiarly strident perfectionism, that contradicts the adage; "beggars cannot be choosers..." I had the opportunity to talk to an 0dessite whose sister had lived in the States since she was 6, so this local woman had fluent English from visiting her there. She recited to me an incident when in USA, of being offered a new pair of jeans from an American friend of her sister, which, though being the correct size/fit, were turned down due to some displeasing detail. My 0dessite informer explained how her sister was caused great embarassment by this refusal & accused her of being "rude", as soon as their friend had gone...
    The woman reciting this to me, had no reserve in repeating the story or impressing upon me that Americans are so false for accepting things they do not really want. I believe this reflects the fundamental attitude difference between east & west, (& I did not mention at the time that us British are supposed to be more ingratiating than our American kin in such situations...)
    My 0dessite informer was indigant that by being honest, she was regarded as being rude - a concept that with other folk in the city I have observed & experienced is not understood. I can appreciate her viewpoint, but for someone living in the second most prosperous country on the planet, I just cannot make sense of this perfectionist choosiness in a nation with a Third World standard of living...
    There are genuine beggars of the streets of 0dessa, who are grateful for just a few kopeek in their cups, but others pretending to be borderline this status, are some of the choosiest folk I have had the misfortune of encountering in any culture! 0ne such person was the reason I ever visited the city in the first place, (though she had only married an 0dessite to raise her standard of living , & was originally a refugee from Tiraspol). She actually believed she was Russian aristocracy & had a birthright to be resident of the Winter Palace - but all she posessed to justify this, was the obnoxious ATTITUDE...
    Despite impressing upon me how she was, "living lika dog", too poor to eat properly or afford her rent, on my arrival she decided we had to eat in restaurants everyday & go the short distances there by taxi, because it was too much effort for her to walk in her high heels! The taxi fare alone cost the price of going to a supermarket & buying provisions, ironic, considering her insistance I rent an apartment so as to have a kitchen, yet the 1 time she actually cooked for me, she accused me of treating her as 'slooshanka' (maid)! I have never met a more choosy pedantic person in all my life - every time she opened her mouth it was to criticise some aspect of my appearance & anything I gave her had to be inspected for hours until she could discern some flaw in it that offended her perfectionist vision.
    In my country, her behaviour would be regarded as ill-mannered & egocentrically rude, like a badly brought up child, & in truth, that is what this 33 year old divorcee, still was - so do not go to 0dessa expecting politeness for generosity - you might receive a RUDE surprise...

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    Babooshka!

    by arturowan Updated Mar 3, 2014

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    'Babooshka' is 1 of the Russian words that most westerners know, maybe because Kate Bush once had a hit song of that title...
    (I know this is in Ukraine, but 0dessa remains a Russian-speaking city, & that is what everybody there calls a grandmother...)
    You cannot cross the border into Ukraine, without seeing the 'babooshki', & what a core part of the country these old ladies are...
    In the coutryside, they can be seen toiling in their gardens, or sitting on chairs outside their homes, hoping to supplement their meagre pension money by selling a bagload of apples or cucumbers to passers-by...
    In the cities they can be seen stooping in the streets in orange bibs, during the early hours, trying to make ends meet by sweeping up the leaves & litter...
    Many 'babooshki' have a hunched figure, & I think this is due to the amount of time they spend bending over with these short-handled brushes (- whyever are traditional Ukrainian brooms designed for use by dwarfs?)
    A 'babooshka' is easily identified, almost always wearing a traditional headscarf, often brightly coloured or decorated, with an apron, & 'varenki' (traditional felt boots...)
    Like most things in Ukraine, 'babooshki' have a reputation for being somewhat bi-polar - don't think because they're old ladies, they cannot hold their own, especially in an argument, or when pushing for the last place on public transport...
    It's not recommended to get in the way of a 'babooshka' at such fraught moments - many know how to literally throw their weight around, combined with shopping bags, to benefit their own ends...
    When I was visiting a home in 0dessa, 2 'babooshki' arrived, who did not like each other, & when they set eyes on each other, it was like a couple of banshee shrieking at each other...
    The first thing I noticed about the culture when I went to Ukraine, was how the people on the street all appear to be arguing, but in fact, they're just more expressive & volatile than what anybody in the west is accustomed to...
    A 'babooshka' might have a hardened glare for a stranger, but this will almost certainly melt into the sweetest, toothiest smile, if spoken to...
    It's even likely you'll be invited back to her home for tea & a feast, despite the fact the state pension is insufficiant to sustain herself upon...
    Ukrainian elderly folk are known to like to talk, even if you cannot understand a word they're saying!
    If you read the book, The Long Way Round, by Charley Boorman & Ewan McGregor, 1 of their experiences of entering Ukraine, is stopping in a village, where a 'babooshka' is keen to talk!
    Ewan McGregor does not know what she's saying to him, while she clasps his hands to hers, but is nonetheless touched by her sentiment...
    It's traditional in Russian-speaking culture, for the grandmother to take a full role in bringing up her grandchildren, & might even take over this duty in its entirety...
    I happen to think this might explain many of the problems in this culture, because I've seen for myself how 'babooshki' spoil & smother children, literally spoon-feeding babies, & without intervention, will insist on treating children as helpless babies, long after it's appropiate for their individual development...
    According to the statistics, 'babooshki' live a full 11years longer than their menfolk, but some can still be alive in their 90's...

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    The Museum of Numismatics

    by Klod5 Written Apr 30, 2003

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    The Museum of Numismatics

    The Odessa Museum of Numismatics is the first specialized numismatic museum in Ukraine and was opened for the people of Odessa as a present on the 205-th anniversary of the foundation of the city and started to work from the first of January in 1999. All the periods in the history of the origin of civilization and State systems on the Ukrainian land are shown in its funds. And also the history of monetary business and money circulation of Ukraine from the antique times to the period of the independent development of the State is presented there.

    The coins minted by different city-states, by the Bosporos and Scythian Kingdoms form the core of the museum funds. These states were founded in the period from VII to IV centuries BC on the Northern Black Sea Coast and existed for almost one thousand years.

    Together with the expositional activity the Odessa Museum of Numismatics also conducts a considerable scientific-research work, publishing the types of coins, which were unknown earlier and thus putting them into a scientific turnover and enriching the Frame of the antique coins of the Northern Black Sea Coast.

    The museum publishes its own scientific and practical collection of articles - " The Bulletin of the Odessa Museum of Numismatics". Except for it museum issues publicistic bulletin "The Almanac".

    The museum also communicates with different cultural and historical institutions and organizations of the collectors from 150 countries of the world.

    The founder of the Odessa Museum of Numismatics and the mover of the project of this virtual museum is a known numismatist and explorer, a deputy of the Odessa City Council - Peter G. Loboda.

    THE MUSEUM ADDRESS
    33, Grecheskaya str., Odessa 65000, Ukraine
    phone : (0038)-(0482) 25-02-77

    E-mail: oco@te.net.ua
    URL: http://www.museum.com.ua/
    Postal address: P.O. Box 17

    General Post Office
    65000 Odessa, Ukraine

    E-MAIL:
    od-museum@te.net.ua

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    The beautiful Odessa

    by LarisaLove Written Aug 11, 2007

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    Old Odessa

    %
    In 1794 Odessa was founded by Catherine the Great.
    Then In 1764 the Empress formed the territories newly acquired
    in the S-West other empire into a province called Novorossiya, New Russia.

    The city name came because of a mistake!
    It was meant to be called after the ancient Greek city of Odessos or Ordissos,
    which was believed to have been founded in the
    area.
    But really, it was somewhere near the present day town of Varna in Bulgaria.
    But Catherine the Great liked "Adessa" — as it is pronounced by the Russians
    and Ukrainians.
    The population of Odessa is today just over 1 million people.
    It is one of the newest of European cities and maybe one of the biggest
    growth rate in the 19th Century.

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    EUROPE,UKRAINE,ODESSA;PROVERBS:25:25;'As...

    by mariettz Written Aug 24, 2002

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    EUROPE,UKRAINE,ODESSA;
    PROVERBS:25:25;
    'As could waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country'
    'Yosemita Falls';CALIFORNIA TRAVEL PAGE by KRYSTYNN;
    /WITH PERMISSION KRYSTYNN/;

    N i c o d e m u s - J e s u s;
    John:3:5;'...Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God'
    John:3:15

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    Older dudes rule

    by Roadquill Written Jul 12, 2012
    Mr. Awesome

    Apparently the life expectancy for a male in Odessa is relatively low, like in the 50's. So if you happen to live to be an old dude (like this guy) you are outnumbered by the female population like amilliontoone. At the local park a young jazz orchestra was playing and the geriatric squad was rockin out so tunes like "sing, sing, sing".

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    Dried Fish Stands

    by Roadquill Written Nov 17, 2012

    These dried fish stands are acommon occurance in and around Odessa. This one was just outside Odessa. Dried fish of various kinds hanging showing off how yummy they would be if you were to cook them up....However, they looked particularly unappetizing in my book. The stands did sport sanitary green screens to ward of flies.

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    Pushkin's 0dessa...

    by arturowan Written Nov 14, 2013
    His lifesize likeness, on Pushkinskaya...
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    0dessa has associations with a plethora of notable, creative persons, & its street names & monuments remind any visitor of this, but 1 name stands out above them all...
    Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin not only has 2 monuments & a museum to his memory, but the formerly named, Italianskaya street, where he first resided, was renamed to celebrate his presence...
    Pushkinskaya 0olitsa is 1 of the finest streets in the city, originally paved by Italian labourers, hence the original title, & now unmistakable because of the lifesize bronze statue of the poet & writer himself, looking reflective, in top hat & tails...
    The building that houses the Pushkin Museum, was 1 of the earliest hotels in the city, & he lived here for a month, after his arrival on 3rd July 1823 (departing 1st August 1824)
    Today, the museum is a meeting place for fans of Pushkin, & it is filled with autographs, original manuscripts, & sketches by the man himself, as well as engravings of the city contemporary with his residence...
    During his time in 0dessa, amounting to a 13 month extended sojourn, he composed the poem Gypsies, 30 other pieces of lyrical prose, & at least 32 chapters of Evgeniy 0negin...
    In the chapter, Travel 0negin, Pushkin provided a detailed description of contemporary 0dessa, thus his endearment to locals, which endures to this day...
    As if this was not creative output enough, Pushkin involved himself in city affairs, including a liasion with the governor's wife...
    "0h, that Pushkin!" - as they say...
    The statue of the man himself, erected in 1999, is to be found outside the Literary-memorial museum at 13 Pushkinskaya, & is not to be confused with the sculpture & fountain dedicated to him, outside the city Duma...
    This, the actual Pushkin Monument, was financed by voluntary donations, & the scale of the construction reflects just how fondly he was regarded in the city, when it was built on Nikolayevsky Boulevard in 1889
    Comprising a granite plinth, supporting 2 cast iron, shell-shaped dishes, with fishes spouting water from their mouthes, the central bust dedicated to Pushkin is a huge metal casting...
    An inscription on the base reads; 'To A.S.Pushkin from citizens of 0dessa' - 'Was built in 1888'

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    Leonid Utyosov...

    by arturowan Updated Nov 22, 2013
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    Leonid 0sipovich Utyosov was born in 0dessa on 21st March 1895 (real name Leyzer Iosifovich Vaysbeyn)
    After being schooled in the city, he runaway with the circus on the ambition of becoming an acrobat, but later attempted acting & stand-up comedy...
    In 1917 he won a singing competition in Belarus, which focused his discipline to develop his voice & talent for music...
    He developed a passion for jazz & wished to become a band leader - an ambition he fulfilled in 1929
    The rest, as they say, is the stuff of legend, as Utyosov became a musical hero of the Russian-speaking world, & even toured Europoe with his band, which was based in Leningrad...
    During the Patriotic war, his band played for the troops, & on Victory Day, his band performed on Sverdlov Ploshchat (Sverdlov Square) in Moscow, his new place of residence...
    Utyosov's popularity within the Soviet Union, is said to have included Stalin, evidence for which is that he earnt the award of 'Peoples' Artiste of the USSR', in 1965 - something not granted to those out of favour with the authorities...
    As well as composing for his own band, Utyosov wrote film scores & occasionally returned to acting, being a natural comic entertainer...
    Although he lived in Moscow until his death on 9th March 1982, he never forgot his 0dessan roots, & still considered the city of his birth, his favourite place...
    Many of his compositions celebrated the city, including; C-0desskogo Kichmana; 0dessit-Mishka (0dessan teddy bear); & By The Black Sea...
    If you visit 0dessa today, you can look for where he was born, on Utyosova 0olitsa; a turning off Bolshaya Arnautskaya, into the intersection with Degtyarnaya 0olitsa...
    A karaoke bar has been opened in his name at 2a Yevreyskaya 0olitsa (Jewish Street)
    It's even possible to sit next to a lifesize statue of Utyosov, cast complete with bronze bench, in the City Garden, & listen to some of his compositions, on a jukebox within a telephone box there...
    An inscription upon the monument, paid for by voluntary donations in 2000, reads; 'To Leonid Utoyosov - from grateful 0dessa'

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    Vera Kholodnaya...

    by arturowan Updated Nov 23, 2013
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    When I was staying in Hotel Tsentralnaya, the view from my balcony was of a woman in a large-brimmed hat, with shawl, holding out her hand towards passerbys...
    At the time I'd no idea whom she was, or the significance of her position, facing the hotel, on the side of Preobrazhenskaya street with the cathedral that gives the highway its name...
    I now know that the statue is Russia's only silent era film star - Vera Kholodnaya...
    & her significance to my stay in 0dessa, is that she died in her rented room on the facade wing of Papudovy house, on February 16th, while in exile from the Bolsheviks, during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1919
    Her statue stands near enough where she died - then was buried in the graveyard outside the cathedral, which was later destroyed by Bolshevik vandalism...
    The poignance of this, is that during this stay in 0dessa in 2007, I contracted the latest flu pandemic that was rampant in the city, & spent a lot of miserable time feeling like death warmed-up, not wanting to go past the hotel balcony view of Preobrazhenskaya, where stood the statue of Vera Kholodnaya, holding a snowball that a passerby had placed her outstretched hand...
    Vera Vasilyevna Levchenko was born in Poltava, on 30th August 1893, but was raised by her grandmother in Moscow...
    She married when still only 17, to Vladimir Kholodny, a racing driver, & the couple soon had a daughter, & adopted another child a year later, which she had to bring up alone, when her husband was conscripted into the army...
    The necessity of supporting her children, provided her the excuse to follow her dream of acting, having given up on a career in ballet, despite training in Moscow...
    Whatever her acting abilities, Vera's face & large grey, Russian eyes, gave her critical screen presence, & made her an almost instant success on the big screen...
    "My eyes are my bread!"
    Kholodnaya is reputed to have claimed, & her husband's surname, translating as 'cold one', probably also bolstered her screen image, so that she became popular enough with directors to be making 3 films a month...
    It is thought she completed 80 pictures in her short career, though only 5 have survived to this day...
    However, the most viewed footage concerning her, is not of her alive, but of the burial ceremony at the Transfiguration cemetary...
    During her career, she participated in charity concerts for impoverished students & the union of stage actors & actresses...
    In 1931, her grave at Preobrazhenskaya was destroyed by the Bolsheviks, together with the original cathedral, & her family's plea to remove her remains to Moscow were ignored, owing to her being an exile from their regime...
    Vera Kholodnaya became 1 of the many, 'persona non grata' during the reign of the Soviet Union, but as soon as it passed in 1991, efforts to revive her name, began...
    A conspiracy theory also emerged around her death, as it's reputed that she had an affair with the French ambassador while in 0dessa, & that she was poisoned on suspicion of spying for the Bolsheviks, rather than succumbing to flu - a scandal that doesn't concur with the fact that she was in 0dessa to escape Bolshevism...
    Her life was dramatised in the 1975 film, Slave To Love; a documentary made about her in 1992; & she was depicted on a postage stamp in 2003 - the same year her statue was erected on Preobrazhenskaya 0olitsa...

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