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Did President Yanukovych show everything at Mezhyhirya?

29.06.2011    source:
Journalists who have long been trying to get the President to reveal his sumptuous residence uggest that the select group of journalists invited were shown far from all that Viktor Yanukovych owns

The journalists who were invited to Yanukovych’s residence Mezhyhirya described details of the President’s life even before the television broadcast of the interview which was the reason for their exclusive trip to his residence last Friday.

Some publications have asserted that the journalists were selected for the interview in an informal atmosphere according to whether they were loyal to the President.

At the same time, the journalists who have long been trying to get the President to reveal the property in which he lives suggest that the four presenters on leading TV channels and journalists from several printed media outlets were shown far from all which Viktor Yanukovych possesses.

Interest in the President’s residence has not abated since the first versions emerged of how the President had increased his property in the Vyshhorod district via a firm close to his family.

Yanukovych had promised journalists who take a critical view to organize a visit to Mezhyhirya, but later he ignored repeated requests citing the right to a private life (In fact this was one of the arguments given by the court which obligingly allowed an application to ban a peaceful protest by journalists on 6 June 2011, aimed at reminding the President of his promise given a full year earlier – translator)

The newspaper Segodnya [Today] which is linked with Ukraine’s richest oligarch and comrade in arms of the President within the Party of the Regions, Renat Akhmetov, described how the journalists were taken by coach around the huge residence.  The newspaper points out that Yanukovych claims that he has no connection with that land, and that he owns only a small part which is bordered off by a fence.  The paper also writes of an open swimming pool, sauna, pergola, fountain, gray cranes which walk around the territory.

Some Internet sites, for example, Ukrainska Pravda had previously cited facts which could suggest close ties between the Yanukovych family’s business interests and the firm which at present owns most of the territory, over 135 hectares.

The filming of the interview shown on four channels on Tuesday was not done by the channels’ film crews, but by the President’s Press Service  which is the case during official events when the press are either not admitted or restricted in their work due to the official nature of the information.

Much abridged from a report on the BBC Ukrainian Service

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