Considering how poor Ukraine's economy is, it might come as a surprise to see just how extravagantly its president lived.
Viktor Yanukovych has reportedly abandoned his Ukrainian home for an undisclosed location while violent protests continue — leaving the gaudy presidential palace open to the public.
"You can see people crowding up to the president's country estate. They're not looting it. They're not trashing it. They're simply walking around the grounds, bringing children, taking photographs as if they were tourists." (Via CBC)
"The massive rare car collection. The zoo filled with exotic birds. Beautiful gardens. Random Greek gazebos. The golf course. The tennis court." (Via Al Jazeera)
Pictures from Yanukovych's house spread on social media including this, showing a giant wooden ship on his estate reportedly used as a banquet hall. (Via Twitter / @AnshuVari)
London's Channel 4 news reports the estate probably costs more than the president's annual salary of about 50,000 euros. That's about $70,000 U.S. dollars. The estate was likely funded through personal wealth.
Yanukovych is currently refusing to resign from power of the country despite the country's parliament voting to oust him from power. But a BBC commentator says the exposing of his lavish lifestyle is, in some ways, validation to the protestors.
"To get this kind of glimpse behind the curtain of the opulent life that Viktor Yanukovych was leading in a country which is on its knees economically, that may make people think they were right to push for his overthrow." (Via BBC)
Ukraine's Speaker of Parliament has been given interim presidential powers.