Check Out the Pictures That Show the Crazy Luxury of Ukraine’s Presidential Compound

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 22 2014 1:55 PM

Check Out the Pictures That Show the Crazy Luxury of Ukraine’s Presidential Compound

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People wander around Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's Mezhyhirya estate.

Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

In what was perhaps one of the most unexpected effects of opposition leaders taking control of Kiev and ousted Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych fleeing the capital, citizens finally got a chance to see what was inside the mythic presidential compound. Thousands of Ukrainians descended on the presidential compound outside Kiev, and happiness with what their revolution had achieved mixed with shock as they saw how Yanukovych lived. Channel 4’s Matt Frei has one of the best descriptions of the day:

We headed down there and came across what looked remarkably like a swelling Saturday family outing. And yes, they were going to the zoo but it happened to be the president’s private zoo that had, until today, been kept a very well-guarded secret, together with all the other opulence of Villa Yanukovych. I have never seen anything like it.
The crowd that gathered to size the high security walls of the presidential compound, only completed four years ago at a cost of what must have been many millions, had no idea what awaited them on the other side. The supersized mansion built in a style that could best be described as Swiss chalet brutalism, occupied a position on top of the hill overlooking acres of parkland and a lake.
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Check out the amazing video and pictures of Yanukovych's estate after the jump. One quick point, though, on what makes these pictures so shocking is that while we’re used to hearing about the unabashed opulence of dictators, Yanukovych was a democratically elected president who only took power in 2010. Now, yes, on to the photos:

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This picture taken on Feb. 22, 2014, shows the main building of Yanukovych's residence near Kiev.

Photo by Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images

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This picture taken through a window shows the interior of the main building of Yanukovych's residence.

Photo by Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images

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Thousands of people visit Yanukovych'smain residence.

Photo by Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images

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Anti-government protesters sit on a couch on a back patio at Yanukovych's Mezhyhirya estate.

Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.