To get why so many people hate Viktor Yanukovych, take a tour of his ridiculously luxurious mansion


Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych attends the signing of an agreement to end the crisis in Kiev on Friday.  Andrei Mosienko, AP/Presidential Press Service/Pool)

Ukraine's ongoing crisis is about many things: geopolitics, economics, linguistics, ethnicity, to name a few.

But for many people, the problem is much simpler. It's all about President Viktor Yanukovych, who is widely believed to have used his position as the country's leader to enrich himself and his inner circle, collectively known in Ukraine as "the family."

To get an idea of why Yanukovych is so loathed by many in Ukraine, take a quick tour of his mansion in Mezhyhirya, some 12 miles outside Kiev. Now that Yanukovych has fled the capital, thousands of people, including reporters and curious bystanders, have made their way to the residence.

Here's some of what they found:








Yanukovych's residence in Mezhyhirya had long been held up as an example of the Ukrainian elite's corruption and waste: It has been estimated to have cost $100 million to build. For most Ukrainians, however, this is the first time they've been able to see it up close.

In any country, a president who owned a zoo or a galleon might be viewed cynically. In a country with a per capita GDP of $7,300, such indulgences might be unforgivable.

Adam Taylor writes about foreign affairs for The Washington Post. Originally from London, he studied at the University of Manchester and Columbia University.

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Adam Taylor · February 21, 2014

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