The New York Times has a lengthy piece on the story of what has happened to former Ukrainian leader Victor Yanukovych’s palatial home since he fled the country in the wake of the Maidan protests. The estate, which boasts such excesses as solid gold fixtures and a private zoo, became a symbol of the success of the revolution when ownership of it was ordered to be transferred to the Ukrainian state.But since, it has become a perfect symbol of the growing failure of the revolution, and a perfect microcosm of the political reality in much of Ukraine; it has been taken over by a strongman who is using it to generate funds for himself. The Times reports:
In the confusion, the whole lot has fallen under the control of Denys Tarachkotelyk, a burly former businessman and now the self-declared “commandant” of a 350-acre estate, nearly twice the size of Camp David. The boss of a small transport company who supported protests in Kiev’s Independence Square, he arrived at Mr. Yanukovych’s Mezhyhirya residence on the morning after the president fled and somehow managed to outmaneuver rival revolutionary avengers to gain control of the entire property. […]The struggle for control of Mr. Yanukovych’s estate, however, shows just how hard that will be in a country where who really owns what is often hidden in an opaque fog. Mr. Yanukovych and his cronies are gone, but government bureaucracies remain stacked with underpaid officials shaped by their corrupt ways.
The Russian troops in the east are less dangerous ultimately to the future of Ukraine than the dysfunction, disorganization and corruption in the west. Putin’s Ukraine policy rests fundamentally on the premise that Ukraine isn’t a real country; he thinks that the west isn’t committed enough and that Ukraine isn’t together enough to build a functioning economy and government, and he hopes that by stirring the pot in the east he can contribute to the destabilization process in the west.The only way to change that is for the third Ukrainian revolution, unlike the first two, to produce a working government and a strong state. So far, that hasn’t happened. Putin’s sinister plan is working.