I bicycle over the pass between Bozeman and Livingston and see the beauty of the snow capped Crazy Mountains to the east and the Absaroka-Beartooths to the Southeast. I dream of visiting a place like Odessa. Thanks for the descriptive narrative.
Glad to see Odessa get a bump, but it's simply not true that Kiev saw "violent clashes between pro- and anti-Russian demonstrators."
There was a lot of violence here in Kiev this winter, for example between anti-government protests and the government's riot cops--- but the clashes the author refers to simply never happened.
Also, the author intimates that he speaks some Russian, but the Russian he quotes, "strana v straneya" is flagrantly incorrect.
Does City Journal fact check such articles?
to Thomas Lipscomb:
I just read your post here. "Is it good for the Jews" can be viewed as a test of a more inclusive question, "Is it good for freedom and decency and civil society?"
Not an idea original with me, but the Jews in every civilization in which they have lived have functioned as the Canary in the Cage of that society. The Jews were always the weakest and most defenseless group in any society (lunatic postings on the internet and bigoted rantings by the likes of Pat Buchanan to the contrary), and how they were treated was reflected ultimately, sometimes sooner, sometimes later, in how the rest of the members of that society were treated.
Just an observation.
My wife's great grandmother and grandmother both lived in Odessa all of their lives; their children and grandchildren emigrated to America just before the start of World War One.
We always believed that both ladies were the source of their descendants' fair skin, blonde hair and blue eyes, unusual for most Russian Jews. Their husbands were peripatetic merchants, travelling throughout Russia and the Ottoman Empire selling and buying whatever was around, while the wives stayed at home. And, we joked that while the husbands were away, the wives were entertaining German sailors who had jumped ship in the Odessa harbor to see the sites of the city and to visit the exotic Jewish women of Odessa.
Probably not far wrong. Maybe someday we'll do a DNA test.
Since more than 90% of Odessa's Jews disappeared because of WWII, it would be nice to have some sense of proportion in your coverage of Odessa in 2014. "Is it good for the Jews?" is too often a distorting glass of provincialism at City Journal.
Odessa--From where our grandmother originated
Excellent article. I would love to see a follow up on how Odessa's expat community in Brighton Beach has recreated a Little Odessa (as it is know locally) on the Brooklyn Atlantic Ocean boardwalk.