The Potemkin uprising was sparked by a disagreement over food, but it was anything but accidental. Morale in Russia’s Black Sea fleet had long been at rock-bottom lows, spurred on by defeats in the Russo-Japanese War and widespread civil unrest on the homefront. Many navy ships were teeming with revolutionary sentiment and animosity toward the aristocratic officer class.
The Richelieu Steps, where some of the worse violence occurred during the Odessa riots and massacre.
One of the Potemkin’s lead radicals was Afanasy Matyushenko, a fiery quartermaster known for railing against the brutal discipline of navy life. In early June 1905, he and Potemkin crewman Grigory Vakulenchuk joined with other disgruntled sailors in plotting a fleet-wide mutiny. Their audacious plan called for the rank and file to rise up and strike a concerted blow against the officers. After commandeering all the navy ships in the Black Sea, the conspirators would enlist the peasant class in a revolt that would sweep Czar Nicholas II from the Russian throne.
The mutiny was scheduled to begin in early August aboard the fleet flagship, but events conspired to see that Potemkin took the starring role. The trouble began on June 27, a few days after the ship set sail from Sevastopol to conduct practice maneuvers. That morning, a group of conscripted crewmen discovered that the beef intended for their lunchtime borscht was crawling with maggots. The sailors complained to their officers, but after an inspection by the ship’s doctor, the meat was deemed suitable for consumption. The Potemkin’s 763-man crew was left seething with rage. Led by Matyushenko and Vakulenchuk, they resolved to protest by refusing to eat the tainted food. .. .. ..
After calling off their revolt, the Potemkin mutineers went their separate ways. Many of the men chose to live out the rest of their lives in exile, but a few returned to Russia to face military justice. Matyushenko became something of a celebrity revolutionary and even met with Vladimir Lenin in Switzerland. He later snuck back into Russia to continue his fight against the Czar, only to be captured and executed in October 1907. Ten more years would pass before Nicholas II was finally deposed, but following the rise of communism, Soviet propagandists repackaged the Black Sea mutineers as early heroes of the revolution. In 1925, their deeds were even recreated on the silver screen in the famed silent film “Battleship Potemkin.”
The third largest Ukrainian city after Kiev and Kharkiv, Odessa is an important rail junction and highway hub and is a major industrial, cultural, scientific, and resort center. Grain, sugar, machinery, coal, petroleum products, cement, metals, jute, and timber are the chief items of trade at the port of Odessa, which is the leading Ukrainian Black Sea port. Odessa is also a naval base and the home port of a fishing and an antarctic whaling fleet.
The city’s industries include shipbuilding, oil refining, machine building, metalworking, food processing, and the manufacture of chemicals, machine tools, clothing, and products made of wood, jute, and silk. Large health resorts are located nearby. Odessa has a university (est. 1865), an opera and ballet theater (1809), a historical museum (1825), a municipal library (1830), an astronomical observatory (1871), an opera house (1883–87), and a picture gallery (1898). Ukrainians, Russians, Jews, and Greeks predominate in Odessa’s cosmopolitan population.
The city is said to occupy the site of an ancient Miletian Greek colony (Odessos, Ordyssos, or Ordas) that disappeared between the 3d and 4th cent. In the 14th cent. the site, then under Lithuanian control, became a Crimean Tatar fortress and trade center called Khadzhi-Bei.
In 1764 it passed to the Turks, who built a fortress (Yenu-Duniya) to protect the harbor. It was captured by the Russians in 1789.
By the Treaty of Jassy in 1792, Turkey ceded the region between the Dniester and the Buh (including Odessa) to Russia, which rebuilt Odessa as a fort, commercial port, and naval base. The city that developed around the fort grew rapidly as the chief grain-exporting center of Ukraine; its importance was further enhanced with the coming of the railroad in the second half of the 19th cent. It was a free port from 1819 to 1849, and in 1866 it was linked by rail with Kiev, Kharkiv, and the Romanian city of Jassy. Industrialization began in the latter part of the 19th cent.
Odessa was a center of émigré Greek and Bulgarian patriots, of the Ukrainian cultural and national movement, of Jewish culture, and of the labor movement and social democracy.
The city’s first workers’ organization was founded in 1875. Odessa was the scene in 1905 of a workers’ outbreak led by sailors from the battleship Potemkin. When Turkey closed the Dardanelles to the Allies in World War I, the port of Odessa was also closed and was later bombarded by the Turkish fleet. Following the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, the city was successively occupied by the Central Powers, the French, the Reds, and the Whites until the Red Army definitively took it from General Denikin, Anton Ivanovich , 1872–1947, Russian general. The son of a serf, he rose from the ranks. After the Bolshevik Revolution in Nov., 1917 (Oct., 1917, O.S.), he joined General Kornilov, whom he succeeded (1918) as commander of the anti-Bolshevik forces in the south.
City of ART
Cities of Ukraine from a height – Odessa
NATURAL WONDERS OF UKRAINE (Ancient Bakota Caves)
Dark history of Odessa – Ukraine