Estate of former Ukrainian president turned into tourist destination

World Today

A year ago, Ukraine’s former President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted from power and fled the country. The day he left, angry Ukrainians stormed his estate and were astonished by the lavish setting they discovered. Today, the grounds serve as a tourist destination and a reminder of the reason Ukrainians were demanding reform.

CCTV’s Stephanie Freid filed this report from Mezhyhriya, Ukraine.

Estate of former Ukrainian president turned into tourist destination

Estate of former Ukrainian president turned into tourist destination

A year ago, Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted from power and fled the country. The day he left, angry Ukrainians stormed his estate and were astonished by the lavish setting they discovered. Today, the grounds serve as a tourist destination and a reminder of the reason Ukrainians were demanding reform. CCTV's Stephanie Freid filed this report from Mezhyhriya, Ukraine.

As estates go, former President Yanukovych’s is terribly impressive. There are lakes, a golf course and a private zoo on the 140-hectare estate. There is also an indoor tennis court, two billiard rooms and a private gym.

The extravagance is what strikes a collective nerve among Ukrainians who earn an average 300 Euros (about $340) per month.

The estate has 10.5 million (about $12 million) Euros worth of woodwork, a vast art collection, lavish bathrooms with gold finishings and a limited edition John Lennon grand piano.

What was most discomforting to Ukrainians when this house opened up was the discovery of how their president lived like a king. One chandelier in the estate, for example, cost about $8 million.

Yanukovych’s salary, reportedly $100,00 a year, doesn’t begin to account for the opulence, especially when factoring in his collection of vintage World War II military vehicles and limited edition Soviet, German and U.S. made cars and motorcycles.

Shedding light on the mystery are documents uncovered after the president’s departure. Those documents show multi-million dollar bank transfers to various Ukraine accounts from unknown sources.

Ukrainians who come for an estate tour have said they were disgusted and felt ripped-off by a former president. However, those feelings are offset by the gratification in knowing proceeds from the price of admission go towards displaced nationals and Ukraine soldiers currently fighting in the East.