The Mezhyhirya Residence (Ukrainian: Межигір'я, romanized: Mežihìr’â, pronounced [meʒɪˈɦirjɐ]) is an estate in Ukraine where Viktor Yanukovych lived when he was Prime Minister and then President of Ukraine and is now a museum displaying Yanukovych's luxurious lifestyle. Yanukovych lived in the estate from 2002 to 21 February 2014, when he fled the country during the 2014 Ukrainian revolution.
Major landmark: "Honka" club house
|Etymology: Saint Transfiguration Monastery|
Location of Mezhyhirya
|Municipality||Novi Petrivtsi village|
The estate was founded as a monastery that functioned off-and-on until closed in 1923 by the Bolsheviks following the establishment of the Soviet Union. From 1935 Mezhyhirya was a state government residence, first under the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and then under an independent Ukraine, until 2007 when it was privatized. In 2012 the State Administration of Affairs rented a space from Tantalit for 99,691 Ukrainian hryvnia per year, arranging it for official receptions. In 2014, it returned to state ownership.
The estate is over 140 ha (350 acres) and is situated on the banks of the Dnieper river (Kyiv Reservoir) in the village of Novi Petrivtsi, Vyshhorod Raion. There is a yacht pier, an equestrian club, a shooting range, a tennis court and other recreational facilities as well as hunting grounds. The estate also has an automobile museum displaying some of Yanukovich's former exotic cars, a golf course, an ostrich farm, a dog kennel, numerous fountains and man-made lakes, a helicopter pad, and a small church. The entire complex is enclosed by a five-meter tall fence along the perimeter.
The lease of 1 ha (2.5 acres) in Mezhyhirya for Yanukovych cost 314 Ukrainian hryvnia per month (2010) which was about $39.57 according to the exchange rate. The Internet newspaper Ukrayinska Pravda in its investigation published a number of documents that confirm a link between those organizations-tenants, family members of Yanukovych and his entourage.
Another, perhaps even more luxurious residence was under construction near Cape Aya in Crimea at the time Yanukovych was ousted from office. Journalists call it "Mezhyhirya №2".[This quote needs a citation]
Until April 10, 1786, the space now occupied by the modern residence was inhabited by the Savior-Transfiguration Monastery, the establishment of which is attributed prior to the period of princely epoch in Kyiv, which was liquidated by the Russian Imperial edict of Catherine the Great. A year later, the monastery was set on fire, supposedly on the order of the same Catherine the Great. Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko wrote about the incident: "As tsaritsa with Nechesa walked around Kyiv and the Mezhyhirya Savior she set on fire at night". At the end of the 19th century the monastery was restored as a female monastery called "Intercession of the Saints", but in 1923 was once again closed by the Bolsheviks. During 1923–1931 the monastery building was used by as a college for ceramic production. Former cells of the monastery became occupied by a commune of artists-monumentalists. In 1931 the college was moved to Kyiv. At the same year the iconostasis of the Savior-Transfiguration Monastery was destroyed.
Mezhyhirya is also the former summer house of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's leaders since 1935.[failed verification] During the occupation by Nazi Germany, it was a residence of the Reich Commissar Erich Koch in a palace of the Kiev Military District commander Iona Yakir. Before its privatization by the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych (at that time Prime Minister of Ukraine), the residence belonged to the State recreation complex Pushcha Vodytsia.
Transformation into private property
Stepping into the post of Prime Minister of Ukraine in 2002, Viktor Yanukovych received free of charge building #20 with an area 325 m2 (3,500 sq ft) in the residence from the Fund of State Property. On April 1, 2003 Viktor Yanukovych rented building #20 and 3 ha (7.4 acres) of land through the mediation of Donetsk Charity Fund "Revival of Ukraine". By the agreement, the rental price was 3.14 hryvnia per month for a period of 49 years for the purpose "implementation of measures for the promotion of national and international programs aimed at improving the socio-economic status".
Stepping out of the post of Prime Minister of Ukraine in 2005, Yanukovych received another building, #20-a.
President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych chose it as his residence after he won the 2010 Ukrainian presidential election. This ownership was contested. Serhiy Leshchenko, of Ukrayinska Pravda, has claimed Yanukovych owned more of the estate than he claimed, and that he managed to do so through a complex ownership structure via a network of international holding companies that ultimately comes back to a firm called Tantalit, run by a lawyer close to the Yanukovych family, Pavlo Lytovchenko. The estate's level of luxury and the reconstruction of a road to it spawned controversy within Ukraine.
Transformation into museum
On 21 February 2014 Yanukovych fled Kyiv, and the police units that had guarded the residence during Euromaidan withdrew and protesters were able to enter it. Following that, thousands of Ukrainians went to visit this luxurious palace and park for free. Activists of Automaidan took care of the residence from the moment it was abandoned by security forces and turned it into a public park. Since that time an employee of Kyiv Zoo has been taking care of the animals and birds at the residence.
On 23 February 2014 the Ukrainian parliament, Verkhovna Rada, adopted a resolution to transfer Mezhyhirya as a recreational complex of Pushcha-Vodytsia to state ownership. It returned to state ownership via court action on 25 June 2014. Since mid-November 2014 Mezhyhirya has been a museum.
Former owners (2009–2014)
|No.||Legal entity||Area (ha)|
|2||Revival of Ukraine||7.6|
- Tantalit, LLC (Ukrainian: ТОВ "Танталіт")
- Charitable Fund "Revival of Ukraine" (Ukrainian: Благодійний фонд "Відродження України")
The State Administration of Affairs rents an office in the residence.
- Berkut, State Security Administration (UDO) – security
- State Auto Inspection – road blocks, traffic restrictions
- Ukrainian Ground Forces (An anti-air mobile fire team of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was deployed on a breakwater in the Kyiv Reservoir in December 2012.)
In November 2011 "UkrAeroRukh" made Yanukovych's part of the Mezhyhirya residence a no-fly zone.
Club house (Honka)
The main feature of the residence is the so-called "club house", also known as "object Honka" (after the Finnish log home manufacturer Honka). The building is located on territory belonging to the charitable fund "Revival of Ukraine".
In 2010, speaking before the German public in Berlin, Viktor Yanukovych actually refuted his previous statements that he had nothing other than his house on the territory of "Mezhyhirya". Speaking that in his personal life he prefers "German quality", he noted: "It's no big secret to anyone... I built one such house, a club house... It was built by "Honka", a Finnish company..."
According to Ukrayinska Pravda, a reception house was designed for Viktor Yanukovych in 2011, based on a barge that was brought to Mezhyhirya and moored in the inner harbor ( ). Officially, it is registered to the company Tantalit. The length of the "palace on the water" is around 50 m (160 ft). The windows are decorated as round portholes.
As reported by Ukrayinska Pravda, the barge has a personal office and a hall for receptions. The "palace" is decorated with wood of valuable species, gold leaf, marble and crystal. In the niche of the ceiling of the main hall, there are three chandeliers, the price of one of which was estimated by Ukrayinska Pravda at $97,000.
A journalist at Ukrayinska Pravda found various "ancient treasures of Ukrainian literature" in the residence on 25 February 2014, including the alleged first printed book in Ukraine (dating from 1654) by Ivan Fyodorov.
Honka club house
- "Honka" club house
- "Honka", side view
- Honka's balcony, close up
- Side stairs (Honka)
- Park surrounding Honka
- Gazebo near Honka
- Park area walkways
- Main lake with "Honka" in background
- "Galleon" barge
- Guest house
Panoramic photos of Mezhyhirya
- Ukraine: Former President Viktor Yanukovych's Palatial Residence in Mezhyhirya Opens as Museum, International Business Times (November 17, 2014)
- (in Ukrainian) Янукович заявляет, что он – законный владелец резиденции «Межгорье» Yanukovych said that he – the rightful owner of the residence Mezhyhirya, UNIAN (7 August 2009)
- Leshchenko, S. Life of the state elite: freebie apartment for Viktor Yanukovych. Ukrayinska Pravda. December 29, 2009
- Ukraine Leader Was Defeated Even Before He Was Ousted, The New York Times (3 January 2015)
- Yanukovych will forget way to work? For him was built an office in Mezhyhirya. Ukrayinska Pravda. February 26, 2012
- For office in Mezhyhirya Yanukovych will pay from the Budget 100 thousand per year to its own company. Ukrayinska Pravda. March 2, 2012
- Leshchenko, S. Viktor Yanukovych: We building new country. Within Mezhyhirya. Ukrayinska Pravda. April 7, 2010. Accessed February 15, 2014
- Ukraine elections marked by curses, threats and brutality, The Guardian (26 October 2012)
- (in Ukrainian) На "Межигір'я" рушила колона автомобілів: активісти хочуть заблокувати президента On the way to the residence of the President of activists stopped by the Berkut, Televiziyna Sluzhba Novyn (1 December 2013)
- Yanukovych's smooth ride to Mezhyhirya mansion, Kyiv Post (19 August 2010)
- Euromaidan activists depart for Mezhyhirya residence, Interfax-Ukraine (6 December 2013)
Traffic on road towards Mezhyhirya residence blocked off by police – media, Interfax-Ukraine (6 December 2013)
- Leshchenko, S. "Part II". Ukrayinska Pravda. April 19, 2010
- Leshchenko, S. "Yanukovych sheltered in Mezhyhirya... the hunting club of deputies-regionalists". November 26, 2009
- Serov, I., Homon, D., Kasianova, I. "In Mezhyhirya Yanukovych has a zoo, aerodrome, and orangery". Segodnya. June 7, 2010
- "Yanukovych rents Mezhyhirya residence for 3 hryvnia per are". TSN. June 3, 2010.
- "US Dollar to Ukraine Hryvnia (USD UAH) for 6 June 2010 (06/06/2010)". Exchange Rates UK.
- Leshchenko, S. "Is Yanukovich going to legalize Mezhyhirya?" Ukrayinska Pravda. July 29, 2010
- Shevchenko, T Slipyi (Blind). Collection of works in six tomes. Vol.1: Poetry 1837–1847. Kiev, 2003. 297–313; 723–725.
- Vechersky, V. Lost objects of architectural heritage of Ukraine. Kiev: NDITIAM – Holovkyivarkhitektura, 2002. 103–104
- Lysenko, V. Legends and treasures of the Mezhyhirya Abbey Archived 2014-02-02 at the Wayback Machine. "Collection of regional studies materials". Kiev 2010.
- Ukrayinska Pravda exposes president's Mezhygirya deal, Kyiv Post (6 May 2009)
- In pictures: Luxury Ukraine presidential home revealed, BBC News (23 February 2014)
- Vlad Lavrov: Mezhyhirya still a symbol of Ukraine, Kyiv Post (July 24, 2014)
- (in Ukrainian) Mezhigirsky zoologist, Hromadske.TV (8 February 2018)
- Law of Ukraine. On returning of the government residence "Mezhyhirya" in state ownership. Verkhovna Rada. February 23, 2014
- Court returns land in Mezhyhirya to state, says PGO in Kyiv region, Interfax-Ukraine (25 June 2014)
- Yanukovych rented in Mezhyhirya private office. Tochka.net. February 27, 2012
- Berkut arrived to defend Yanukovych's Mezhihirya from journalists. ictv. June 6, 2013
- Mezhyhirya. syohodni. TVi.
- For the first time during the years independence near the lighthouse of Vyshhorod appeared military: "Defending Viktor Yanukovych. Do you know such?" censor.net. December 5, 2012
- Yanukovych's residence was enclosed by the 6-meter fence and prohibited to fly over it. Dzerkalo Tyzhnia ("Mirror Weekly"). November 16, 2011
- Leshchenko, S. Secrets of Mezhyhirya. New luxury of Yanukovych. Ukrayinska Pravda. June 8, 2011. Accessed February 15, 2014
- Leshchenko, S. German building of Viktor Yanukovych. Ukrayinska Pravda. August 31, 2010. Accessed February 15, 2014
- Leshchenko, S. Inside of Mezhyhirya. First photos of unheard luxury. Ukrayinska Pravda. April 6, 2012. Accessed February 15, 2014
- (in Ukrainian) Yanukovych buried in Mezhyhirya first printed book in Ukraine and not only, Ukrayinska Pravda (25 February 2014)
- "360-Grad-Ansichten: Janukowitschs Gold-Villa" (url) (in German). Der Spiegel-Abo. Retrieved 2014-03-12.