Corruption in Ukraine scales new heights of plunder

Victor Yanukovych’s party, like that of Tunisian dictator Ben Ali, is allied to the EU member states social democratic parties. As with Ben Ali, they seem happy to accept his corrupt, criminal behaviour, but then one of them, the British Labour Party, has just appointed Tony Blair – the man who described Mubarak as a ‘force for good’ as advisor to its leader. So don’t expect much response from the centre-left…..

In many countries presidents live in an official residence which is built and maintained at the taxpayers' expense. Usually the right to enjoy that luxury is limited by the limits of the presidential term in office. On the face of it, similar rule exists also in Ukraine where the head of the state, as in Soviet times, is entitled to a special dacha (typically a small villa), maintained by the taxpayer, in a posh leafy suburb of Kyiv, from there the presidential cavalcade commutes every day to the presidential office in the centre of the capital and back. But in a twist of that old Soviet rule, presidents of independent Ukraine received a right to keep occupying their dachas even after their term in office has expired as well as a right to "renovate" their dachas, which provides a loophole to de-facto privatisation of the state property on the cheap.

All three previous presidents of Ukraine have to various degrees made use (or perhaps move appropriately: abuse) of those rules.

But the fourth one, the currently serving president Victor Yanukovych, seems to have taken this abuse to a whole new dimension. Partly in a literal sense: the former government residence located near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in the area called Mezhyhirya is huge – it measures up to 150 hectares (370 acres).

Read the rest of ‘The Secrets of Mezhyhirya’  .