The Prohibition years. Chicago bootleggers suffer losses due to their betrayal by one Mick Nich - Mikita Nichiporuk. The mob decides to execute the traitor, who escaped to Odessa, USSR, and organized his own bootleg business there. The hitman, Pollack, arrives in Odessa, and realizes how hard it is to make the hit here, as compared to a civilized country like USA.
The plot takes place in 1925. One of Chicago mobsters Mik Nich (born as Mikita Nechyporuk) flees to Soviet Odessa to escape the revenge of other mobsters. Mob leaders send the best hit-man Johnny Pollack to Odessa. The killer disguises himself as an American entomology professor who wants to visit the grave of his father in Odessa.
In search of his victim, Pollack gets into the most unbelievable situations arising from the peculiarities of the city of Odessa, as well as from mad historical era. Being the first passenger of the ship voyage New York-Odessa, he is assigned to be accompanied by the Komsomol guide Glushko and is besieged by pioneers and journalists. Jumping from the train and hitting his head, Pollack forgets what he is actually doing there (retrograde amnesia), and tries to live up to his cover as an honest professor. Nechyporuk, in turn, learns about the arrival of the killer and is trying to kill him. Pollack experiences several periods of regain and loss of memory (a periodical Deja vu) while trying to track down Nechyporuk. Finally, Nechyporuk is arrested by Soviet authorities on an unrelated charge and sent to jail. Pollack, having lost the rest of his sanity, ends up in a mental hospital.
Jerzy Stuhr as Johnny Pollack
Galina Petrova as Klara Glushko
Nikolai Karachentsov as Mishka Yaponchik (Mike the Little Jap)
Vladimir Golovin as Mick Nich (Michail Nichiporuk)