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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, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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