A dog's life on Yanukovych's estate

Collection with 28 media items created by lordcob

04 Apr 2014 09:33

Ousted President Viktor Yanukovych was known for his extravagant lifestyle. The Ukrainian government has seized some of the former president’s properties alleged to have been acquired through corruption. Among the items found was a dog breeding operation. In his 137 hectares property in Mezhyhirya, Ukraine’s former leader had built a compound, which included breeding and surgery rooms, a beauty salon, a gym, and rooms for the staff who had to be present 24/7. This photo essay offers an unprecedented tour of Viktor Yanukovych’s extravagant kennel, where some dog trainers still live and take care of the animals.

Nikolai Garus, 34, and Petrov Verena, 43, used to work as dog trainers in Yanukovych’s Kennel. They decided to stay as volunteers on the kennel to take care of the dogs after Yanukovych left. "These dogs are our life", Nikolai says. "They grew up with us and we are the only ones who know how to take care of them. They were crying all day after Yanukovych left. We had to keep the dogs inside the kennel because they were not used to the hundreds of thousand people who came to visit the property after it has been open to the public. But they quickly got used to the new situation", he adds.
Nikolai and Petrov insist they come from the cities of Chernihiv and Khmelnytski, north and west of Kiev. "There were so many people saying that people working in Mezhyhirya were all from Crimea or Donetsk, but that is not true", Petrov says. "Yanukovych was just choosing the most qualified people in the country."

According to the trainers, the former president preferred to breed massive dogs. The smallest one is Antei, an English Mastiff. The other sixteen are gigantic Shepherds from the Caucasus or Central Asia. Ken a beautiful red-coated Tibetan Mastiff belongs to one of rarests and expensive breeds in the world. In 2011, a similar dog was sold for more than 1 million euros. Yanukovych, who used to keep only a small Chihuaua in his gigantic wooden mansion, was visiting the dogs only once or twice a week: "He was always very busy but the dogs knew when he was coming because we they felt we were preparing for the occasion", says Petrov, while proudly showing a room full of trophies from international canine competitions attended by both dogs and trainers. Yanukovych and his guests used to sit in this to watch the rare breed dogs exercising in a large field beside the Dnieper River. “Yanukovych also used puppies as gifts”, Nikolai recalls, as he shows showing the certificates of two English Mastiffs who were offered to the Chinese President.

"Maintaining the kennel, as the whole property, is extremely expensive", says 51 year-old Igor Priyemskiy, who is part of a self-defense unit in Maidan Square and currently helping with the financial management of the property. "We found documents that shows it cost 3.5 million Euro a month and now we are struggling to find the 30 000 Euro needed to pay a reduced salary to the 80 persons who still work on the property. Not to mention the electricity and gas bills!" he says. Several proposals have been made for the future use of the property. One of them was to convert it to a rehabilitation center for children. But the government says it take care of it at the moment because of the current political crisis.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

A cat in the dog-gym of ousted president Viktor Yanukovych's former property in Mezhyhirya.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

Nikolai Garus, 34, and Petrov Verena, 43, in the dog-gym of ousted president Viktor Yanukovych's former property in Mezhyhirya. They decided to stay as volunteers after Yanukovych flee, to take care of the dogs. "These dogs are our life", Nikolai says. "They grew up with us and we are the only ones who know how to take care of them".

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

Dog beauty-salon in the former property of ousted president Viktor Yanukovych in Mezhyhirya.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

Nikolai Garus, 34, in the surgery room of ousted president Viktor Yanukovych's kennel in Mezhyhirya.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

State of the art breeding room in the former property of ousted president Viktor Yanukovych in Mezhyhirya.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

Surgery room for dogs in ousted president Viktor Yanukovych's kennel in Mezhyhirya.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

A recovery room for dogs in ousted president Viktor Yanukovych's kennel, in Mezhyhirya.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

Certificates of two English Mastiff puppies that were offered to the Chinese President by Yanukovych during an official visit.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

Petrov Verena, 43, in the kitchen of Yanukovych's kennel, in Mezhyhirya.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

Nikolai Garus, 34, in the kitchen of Yanukovych's kennel, in Mezhyhirya.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

Nikolai Garus, 34, looking at the training field from the kennel's trophy room.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

The trophies room in Yanukovych's kennel, in Mezhyhirya.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

The trophy room in Yanukovych's kennel, in Mezhyhirya.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

Trophies room in Yanukovych's former residence, in Mezhyhirya.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

A dog trophy in the trophy room of Yanukovych's kennel, in Mezhyhirya.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

The trophy room in Yanukovych's kennel, in Mezhyhirya.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

A dog training field beside the Dnieper river Yanukovych's former property in Mezhyhirya.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

A dog training field beside the Dnieper river Yanukovych's former property in Mezhyhirya.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

Inside Yanukovych's rare breeds kennel, in Mezhyhirya.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

Nikolai Garus, 34, holding Ken, a Tibetan Mastiff, one of the rarest and most expensive breed in the world, Yanukovych's kennel. A Tibetan Mastiff has recently been sold for a million Euro in China.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

Antey and its trainer Petrov Verena, 43, in Yanukovych's kennel, in Mezhyhirya.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

Petrov Verena, 43, dances with a Central Asian Shepherd in Yanukovych's kennel, in Mezhyhirya.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

Nikolai Garus, 34, plays with two Mastiffs outside Yanukovych's kennel, in Mezhyhirya.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

Nikolai Garus, 34, plays with two Mastiffs outside Yanukovych's kennel, in Mezhyhirya.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

A photo of the Antei and its son in Yanukovych's kennel, in Mezhyhirya. The two dogs won many prices.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

Ownership registration documents at Yanukovych's kennel, in Mezhyhirya.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

Ownership registration documents at Yanukovych's kennel, showing the dog's special diets.

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By Transterra Editor
28 Mar 2014

A cat rests in the dog-trainers kitchen in the former property of ousted president Viktor Yanukovych in Mezhyhirya.