Roman Kartsev, a famous Odesite who for a long time had been living in Moscow, died a week ago. There, in Moscow, he worked. There he died having not lived to be eighty. He never forgot his mother city, kept visiting it and the city welcomed him with open arms. I am sure Odesa grieves at him more than Moscow does.
How sad! How sad that he died. Sad that most people will remember him as Schwonder from the film “Heart of a Dog”, a character he had nothing in common with in his real life! How sad that by the end of his life he ventured (like many Russian celebrities did) a comment that was easy to forgive but hard to forget. I did not know Roman in the last years of his life. I used to know him as a very young participant of “Parnassus” in Odesa, the city left by him forever – and forever he stayed in it. Forever.
I very much loved him and I still do. Although he had lived in Moscow for a long time, he still stayed “a traditional Odesite”, a little bit exaggerated though. That is not my favorite type but in Kartsev’s performance he was amazing. Roman contributed much to Odesa humor traditions. We can be proud that Odesa gave birth to such a talent even though unable to keep it. Roman had been a citizen of Russia for years. He might have felt himself Russian. I am a bit disappointed he made his (minor) contribution into Putin’s propaganda… Actually, no one is forced to love anyone. Including the country he or she once lived in. Besides, it was not a country then. And to be absolutely honest, for “a traditional Odesite” love to Ukraine means “a bad taste”, and “our people” lived in Moscow and did well. I have no negative feelings to the deceased. I will always remember him warmly. But the unpleasant aftertaste remains and nothing is to be done about it.
Traditional Odesa has left our city. It lives and dies in Moscow and in other cities of our planet.