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Mansion Sweep Reveals Riches

Published: February 26, 2014 (Issue # 1799)



  • An ornamental horse outside Yanukovychs countryside residence near Kiev.
    Photo: Efrem Lukatsky / AP

KIEV Cash: $12 million. Decoration of a dining hall and tea room: $2.3 million. Statue of a wild boar: $115,000. A bribe: $4,000.

These are some of the expenses detailed in financial documents found in ousted Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovychs abandoned residence, which was occupied by protesters after the leader fled the capital.

Related: Yanukovych Blocked from Leaving Ukraine, Speaker Says

As thousands of Ukrainians continued to tour Yanukovychs opulent estate outside of Kiev on Sunday, evidence was uncovered of lavish spending in an economy that is teetering on the verge of default.

Yanukovych left Kiev on the night of Feb. 21 after opposition protesters took control of the capital and the national parliament in the wake of deadly clashes with police last week. More than 70 people were killed and hundreds were injured.

While visitors gawked in awe and outrage at Yanukovychs luxurious mansions, ponds and exotic animals, journalists combed through heaps of documents that appeared to show a leader who basked in extravagant wealth while his country sought bailouts from both the West and Russia.

Related: Warrant Issued for Deposed Ukraine Leader for Mass Murder

Many of the financial and other documents were burned, while others were dumped in a lake before Yanukovych fled his closely guarded residence, flying to the eastern city of Kharkiv, where his support base is strongest. Divers were able to retrieve many of the documents, and activists laid them out to dry.

Photos of the documents were posted online by Mustafa Nayem, a top Ukrainian investigative journalist for the Ukrainska Pravda website and Hromadske.tv online news channel. Other respected Ukrainian news outlets also reported on the documents.

One was a receipt for $12 million in cash. Another invoice was for a payment of $10 million. Some 80,000 euros ($110,000) went for curtains in a room called the knights hall. Another 1.1 million euros ($1.5 million) was spent on plants. Wooden decor for a handful of rooms cost $2.3 million.

Notably, $115,000 was spent for a statue of a running boar, possibly intended for Yanukovych, who is an avid hunter.

One page listed expenditures, and next to item No. 47 on the sheet was a payment of 32,580 hryvna ($4,000) for what was described as a bribe used in a bidding process.

The documents were sure to fuel more anger among protesters.

Yanukovychs residence in Mezhyhirya Park, about 140 hectares of forested hills along the Dnieper River, had become for many Ukrainians a symbol of a corrupt administration.

After Yanukovychs departure from Kiev, the estate was taken over by the oppositions self-defense units, which opened it to visitors and deployed activists to maintain order and prevent any looting or property damage.

Ukrainians, many bringing their children, rushed to tour the parks. They reacted with wonder and revulsion at the opulence, including Yanukovychs private golf courses, pig farm and a small zoo with ostriches and peacocks.

Some have called for turning the site into a hospital, sanatorium or even a museum of corruption.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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