Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Ukraine Palace Is Still Emblem of Dysfunction

The palatial compound of Viktor Yanukovych, the former president of Ukraine, was opened to the public shortly after he fled Kiev in February 2014. Image CreditYuriy Dyachyshyn/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images.
By ANDREW HIGGINS, NYT, SEPT. 8, 2014

VYSHOROD, Ukraine — It was supposed to become a Museum of Corruption, a triumphant trophy of Ukraine’s February revolution and a monument to its new leaders’ determination to uproot the lawlessness and avarice that blighted this country’s first two decades as an independent nation.

More than six months after protesters drove President Viktor F. Yanukovych from power, however, his lavish estate on a forested bluff north of Kiev, the capital, displays how difficult it is to bring real change. It also stands as a dark warning that Ukraine’s troubles reach far beyond the war zone in the east of the country.

“This was the main symbol of our revolution, our Bastille,” said Yuriy Syrotiuk, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament who, a day after Mr. Yanukovych fled Kiev on Feb. 21, drafted legislation that ordered the gigantic property transferred to the Ukrainian state.

But instead of joining the former Paris prison as an emblem of a decisive break with the past, Mr. Yanukovych’s palatial residence, tennis courts, golf course, personal zoo, helicopter pad and acres of landscaped gardens are now “a symbol of our state’s inability to function normally,” Mr. Syrotiuk said.

(More here.)

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