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  • Odessa's foundation was sponsored by Catherine ll. When after her death the son inherited the throne and became the Emperor, he was not interested in Odessa's project. The city was young, it did not generate its own money. The port's construction stopped without external financing. Odessa's founder, Jose de Ribas, came up with a smart plan: to present to the Emperor his favorite fruit – oranges, which were an extremely rare fruit in Russian Empire at that time. Upon receiving the gift, the Emperor got extremely excited and wrote an official letter to Odessa’s magistrate, in which he granted the city a quarter million rouble long term loan, funds to finish construction of the port and all tax privileges that the city had gotten during his mother’s reign. Oranges saved the city and in fact, they were… a bribe.

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