When the Ukrainian people descended upon the palatial presidential palace Mezhihiyra in Kiev, they found reams of documents detailing the administration’s corruption; some had been burned. Some files were thrown into a lake by security guards loyal to Yanukovych and with the motive of protecting their own involvement in the schemes played out by the administration to steal billions from the public coffers. Fortunately, the papers were saved and teams of investigative reporters from the Yanukovychleaks project have pieced together details. Follow them at Yleaks.
A disgusting amount was spent on the Mezhihirya Residence, the former state owned residence of Ukrainian ruler’s, of which Yanukovych claimed ownership in 2009; think marble floored toilets, fleets of luxury cars that never left the grounds, enough fresh flowers to put Elton John to shame and Liberace style interiors. Even more was syphoned off public funds via a series of invoices to Italian and Ukrainian design teams for last minute ‘arch-urgent’ design changes, whatever that means.
More alarmingly, are two lists of people which were prepared for the President by one of his security team. Ten members of the controversial Femen group, whose tactic to draw attention to their corrupt government is to gain as much exposure as possible by exposing themselves in public. Despite their critics, these women drew attention to their country by appealing to the lowest common denominator; bare flesh attracts attention.
Another list of ten investigative journalists was produced, which may have been no surprise to those on the list, but frightens those who speak and act against corruption. The bodyguard had even logged and recorded a chillingly brief account of a planned attack on a journalist who must have got too close to the truth. Tetyana Chornovil was attacked hours after publishing an article about a luxury home owned by a government minister. The bodyguard’s final entry for the event reads: “1am – clean.”