The luxurious private residence of fugitive Ukrainian ex-president Viktor Yanukovych — known as Mezhyhirya — has become state property, according to Ukrainian Minister of Ecology Ostap Semerak.
“A decision has finally been made in the ‘Mezhyhirya’ case,” Semerak wrote on Facebook on November 30. “The Supreme Economic Court of Ukraine has decided to transfer said residence to state ownership.”
Semerak also stated that the authorities would take an inventory of the property and establish a governing body for the estate.
“The Ministry of Ecology will initiate the [process to] grant Mezhyhirya the status of an object of the natural reserve fund, which will open up the territory to the public forever, allow for the protection of [Mezhyhirya’s] rare animals and plants and make this place an educational and scientific center,” the statement reads.
After the Euromaidan Revolution of 2014 ousted Yanukovych, protesters entered Mezhyhirya and discovered a scene of luxury underscoring Yanukovych’s extensive corruption. Besides expensive furniture and landscaping, protesters discovered a number of unusual items at Mezhyhirya: a zoo with dozens of exotic animals, a loaf of bread made of solid gold, and a naked portrait of the ousted president.
Discussions about making Mezhyhirya state property began in March 2017, when Semerak announced the start of the nationalization process.
“The Ministry of Ecology and I, as its head, are calling for the court to go back in time and initiate the procedure for returning state objects to the state,” he said at the time.