President Yanukovych has finally shown a select few journalists around his Mezyhirya home. Not one of them were amongst the 'troublemakers' who had initially requested such a visit over a year ago.
The interior of the building is decorated in the usual hideous/cheapo, tacky central European '60's communist dictator style - and does not give the impression that it is actually lived in..But the building itself is very grand, and the extensive forested grounds are palatial. They include fountains, lots of marble, waterfalls, a large swimming pool etc. The journalists behaved as if they were impressed.
Afterwards, they interviewed the president at length under a rather grand gazebo, fountain playing in the sylvan background. The president answered the soft-ball questions put to him in his usual bumbling style, but looked quite relaxed and confident inside his botoxed and buffed face.
One passage that struck me was almost at the end of reel 4 of the interview.
With a fancy swimming pool, fountain an exotic trees and flowers behind his shoulder, he said rather inarticulately: "Life has not been simple for me and has taught me to suffer/endure..[terpity]. In order to do this for people that have already suffered much. I cannot look at this when poor people are still suffering...the government should apply just policies for people..we need to reduce the distance between rich and poor.."
Somehow I don't think he would have convinced many viewers...
Naturally, he was not asked the obvious question: How did a man who has only worked as a civil servant, and never run any business acquire such a property? And naturally, not a word about the remaining 135 hectare of Mezhyhirya with its massively bigger 'clubhouse', tennis courts, riding range, boating lake, yacht club, ostriches, llamas, kangaroos etc. etc..Or about the swanky downtown Kyiv apartment, the Crimean mansions, hunting lodges, Donetsk properties etc.
p.s. How it can end if you get too greedy...
Many times in recent history have the palaces of greedy and vain leaders been ransacked But Yanukovych was probably more interested in running a street crime gang than studying history while at school..and he spent three and a half years in prison as a youth for theft and violent crimes..