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Pushkin Bust
In 1820 Alexander Pushkin was exiled to nearby Moldavia by the czar. He then moved to Odessa for 13 months between July 3rd, 1823 and August 1st 1824. He worked as an archivist in the office of the Governor Mikhail Vorontsov. (Deribasovskaya 32) (Photo of Puskin)

"Vorontsov treated Pushkin with disrespect, which was evident in the assignments that he gave him. He once ordered Pushkin to go and write a report on a locust infestation in very rural farmland. Pushkin returned to give his report. Pushkin found the Count at an opera and told him that he was ready to give him his full report. Vorontsov told him that it could wait, but Pushkin insisted. Spitefully and sarcastically Pushkin said, "The locust flew in, landed, ate, and left." He told it in a rhyming poet verse that sounded very smug and mocking when quoted in Russian." (Gabe Skvor, Russian Sunbirds)

Vorontsov also once told Vigel, Vice Governor of Bessarabia, the problems he was having with Pushkin. Vigel replied that men like Pushkin could only be great poets. Vorontsov responded dryly that he did not think that was good for much.

Pushkin had two affairs simultaneously, one with Vorontsov's wife, Elizabeth Vorontsov, which began December of 1823, and one with Amalia Riznich, who he had probably meet in the summer of 1823 at the Opera Theater.

Vorontsov's wife reportedly had a daughter by Pushkin. But Pushkin was finally dishonorably relieved and banished to his father's home in Mikhalovskoye, Pskov region, not because of his affair, but because of a letter that had been intercepted by the police. In this letter (possibly to Vyazemeky) Pushkin wrote that he agreement with a local philosopher's views on Atheism.

(For a history of Vorontsov, see Mikhail S. Vorontsov Monument)

While in Odessa, Pushkin completed the poem "To the fountain of Bahchisaray", began his poem "The Gypsies", wrote over thirty other poems, and wrote two chapters of "Eugene Onegin". Living just a few blocks away, Pushkin often strolled Primorsky Boulevard (Приморский Бульвар).

Few written guides about Odessa will mention the fact that in many of Pushkin's letters, Pushkin expressed his dislike and boredom of Odessa. He missed the larger, more cosmopolitan Russian cities, and in many of his letters seemed very homesick. (for more about the life of Pushkin refer to the book "Pushkin" by Eliane Feinstein, Weidenfeild and Nicolson Publishers., 1998)

The monument was sculpted by Janna Polonskaya and the architect A. Vasilyev. Polonskaya's sculpture is a very close likeness of Pushkin. The monument was finished in 1888, a year after the 50th anniversary of the poet's death.

The bronze bust stands on a big rectangular pedestal of gray granite. in the upper portion it has a star and a lyre (stringed instrument) as a symbol of Pushkin's poetic talent and inspiration. On the wreath of the lyre are the date's of Pushkin's southern exile 1820-1824. It has the inscription:

"To A. S. Pushkin, from the citizens of Odessa"

It is rumored by Odessites today that the authorities were still angry with Pushkin's affair with the Governor's wife, and refused to build the monument.

The people of Odessa loved Pushkin so much that they then collected the money without any help from the authorities.

On the other side of the monument is the date 1888, the date of the monuments unveiling.

Below the monument are fountains that shoot from the mouths of bronze fish into iron basins on the granite base.

Historic photo of Pushkin monument and the port


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