The Washington Post

Mansion was only a fixer-upper, Yanukovych says

The house! You know the mansion that Victor Yanukovych, overthrown president of Ukraine, lived in until a week ago? The one with gold-footed toilets, crystal-laden chandeliers, 6,700 square feet of space, on a modest 17 acres of lovely countryside?

Turns out it was a fixer-upper.

A staircase winds up in a view of a room inside President Viktor Yanukovych's Mezhyhirya estate on  Feb. 26  in Kiev, Ukraine. (Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)

This is sure to make Ukrainians feel better. After the former president fled last weekend and ordinary people saw the house, they got angrier than ever about the billions they say were looted from the national treasury. If only they had known.

Yanukovych gave a news conference Friday from the safety of Rostov-on-Don, a Russian city about 185 miles from the Ukrainian border. He assured reporters that there was nothing untoward about his mansion. It only cost a measly $3.2 million.

He had moved to the house outside of Kiev, in 1999, he said and later former president Leonid Kuchma told him he should stay there for security reasons.

“When new authority came, they tried to evict me from that house, but eventually there was a proposal that I buy it,” he said.

He said he scraped together his life savings, sold all of his belongings, bought it for $3.2 million, and stayed on when he became president in 2010.

“That house was too old,” he said. “I had to repair it.” And not all of it was his, he said. Perhaps he was referring to the various guest houses. (He said he needed a place to work.) Or maybe he meant the rows and rows of expensive and antique cars, the shiny motorcycles. (He said he had to get back and forth to Kiev.)

Accusing him of wanton luxury? His enemies were trying to discredit him, he said.

“I have never had any foreign property,” he said. “I have never had any foreign accounts. I declared everything on my taxes.”

And just you wait, he said. Lawyers were heading to court, and they intended to return the property to its rightful owner.

Ukrainians had other thoughts. “Delusional,” one tweeted.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments

Sign up for email updates from the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

You have signed up for the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

Thank you for signing up
You'll receive e-mail when new stories are published in this series.
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.