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While we were in Kiev (Kyiv), we had a choice of visiting either Chernobyl (the site of the nuclear reactor accident) or Mezhyhirya (the residence of Ukraine’s ousted ex-president). They were both available as a day trip and one day was all we had. We took the safe option to view this monument of corruption.

We ordered a taxi from the hotel. It took us about 45 minutes to reach the residence outside Kiev.

The Mezhyhirya Residence (Межигір’я) is an estate where Viktor Yanukovych lived when he was prime minister and then president of Ukraine. It is now a museum displaying Yanukovych’s luxurious lifestyle at the people’s expense.

Yanukovych lived in the estate from 2002 to 21 February 2014, when he fled the country to Russia during the 2014 Ukrainian revolution (Euromaiden). He was one of the patrons of the now infamous Paul Manafort (ex-Trump campaign manager).

The estate is over 140 ha (350 acres) and is situated on the banks of the Dnieper river. It is packed with recreational facilities from a yacht pier, an equestrian club, a shooting range, a tennis court to hunting grounds. Unfortunately we did not see any of these facilities as they were quite spread out. We could have rented a golf cart but did not initially think we needed one.

The estate also has an automobile museum displaying Yanukovich’s exotic cars, a golf course, an ostrich farm, a dog kennel, numerous fountains and man-made lakes, a helicopter pad, and a small church. The entire complex is enclosed by a five-meter tall fence along the perimeter.

The grounds are beautifully maintained and we saw several couples in gown and tux taking wedding pictures at various scenic spots.

Gazebo with giant chairs

The main feature of the residence is the so-called “club house”, also known as Object Honka (Honka being the name of the Finnish company that built the log house).

Front of the House

Back of the House – only the top half is visible

He even built a fake Roman ruins next to the the House

On 21 February 2014, the police withdrew and Euromaiden protesters were able to enter the complex. There was no looting or vandalism. Activists later turned it into a public park.

Viktor Yanukovych served as President from February 2010 (defeating Yulia Tymoshenko) until his removal from power in February 2014. It started when Yanukovych rejected a pending EU association agreement, choosing instead to pursue a Russian loan bailout and closer ties with Russia. He is currently in exile in Russia and wanted by Ukraine for high treason.

Yanukovych has been widely criticized for “massive” corruption and cronyism with an estimated net worth of $12 billion.

Private zoo with many different kinds of birds and animals – ostrich

It was said “For most of [Yanukovych’s] career he was a public servant or parliament deputy, where his salary never exceeded 2000 US dollars per month. … In a country where 35% of the population live under poverty line, spending 100,000 dollars on each individual chandelier seems excessive, to say the least.” He was robbing his people.

Viktor Yanukovych hired and paid millions to Paul Manafort who was Donald Trump’s election campaign chairman for a period and has since been found guilty of five tax fraud charges, one charge of hiding foreign bank accounts and two counts of bank fraud. He recently lost his plea deal after being caught lying repeatedly to the FBI. Real crooks.

One Comment

  1. Chris, very ‘ educational‘! Thanks for the write ups all along.

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