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Yanukoyvch's Palace, and Putin's

One reason for widespread disgust with the administration of ousted Ukraine President Viktor Yanukoyvch was the display on TV and in newspaper accounts of his secret palace near Kiev. A public servant, supposedly, Yanukoyvch could not have afforded a luxury resort for himself--golf course, restaurant in the shape of a galleon, a zoo, etc. It all had to come from public monies he misdirected.

The damning news reports of stunned locals walking through the palace outside Kiev reminded one of the Russian Revolution and the awe of revolutionaries after they stormed the winter palace in St. Petersburg.

But it is unlikely that Russian media, which echo the official government assertions of Kiev's over throw of Yanukoyvch as the work of "hooligans", have displayed the film footage of the recent kleptocrat's palace.

Why not? One reason is that it would change minds of ordinary Russians about what has happened in Kiev. The other is perhaps that many people believe that Vladimir Putin has built himself an even more elaborate palace on the Black Sea. Reputable news organizations, such as the BBC have reported this story.

Meanwhile, in Ukraine Yanukoyvch may have left his secret palace behind, but he also left a near-impossible economic mess.

According to EU sources, the Kyiv Post (apparently a paper in Kiev) "reports that new Ukrainian PM Arseniy Yatseniuk has told the Ukrainian parliament that ex-President Viktor Yanukovych's administration took more than $70bn from the financial system in the last three years."

That, of course, if retrievable, would help Ukraine get out of its current serious slump. SInce it probably is not retrievable, the country will have a hard time raising the $15 billion it is estimated to need to avoid collapse.

Yanukovych's gaudy palace alone--shown everywhere on TV, except, one suspects, in Russia--must account for hundreds of millions.

That is why ordinary Ukrainians--and the large Ukrainian-American population in cities like Seattle--believe the real issue is corruption.

The best disinfectant for corruption, of course, is light.

You can email brucechapman@discovery.org

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