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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

Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of Repulsion at 7 p.m. and Rosemarys Baby at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy The Tenant, the cult comedy The Fearless Vampire Killers and Cul-de-sac among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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