But his critics point to strong evidence he actually lives in very different digs: a luxurious, marble-columned mansion with a golf course, a helipad and even an ostrich enclosure.
The reported grandeur is becoming a campaign issue in a country quickly getting fed up with widespread corruption. Critics call Viktor Yanukovych’s home an emblem of the secrecy and arrogance that defines his presidency, painting him as a leader who basks in splendor while his main political opponent, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, is locked up in prison on charges the West has called politically motivated.
Yanukovych has refused to answer questions about the house or the vast park where it sits, once darkly suggesting that an investigative journalist back off. An opposition activist looking for answers broke into the property James Bond-style, scaling the walls with a tow rope. She was detained, but still managed to salvage photographs of a golf course and glitzy buildings, describing an opulent palace guarded by heavy security.