The president of Ukraine is only elected for five years, but a tradition is developing that lets the highest officeholders keep their luxurious state residences long after they leave office – perhaps for life. And many don’t like it, citing the sweetheart – if not scandalous – means of presidential acquisition.
But when Yanukovych became prime minister for the first time in 2002, the status of the mansion was changed from “state residence” to “state dacha.” In 2003, Yanukovych’s Donetsk-based charity fund Revival of Ukraine (Vidrodzhennya Ukrayiny) rented the house and the land around it.
According to the Internet paper Ukrayinska Pravda, which has extensively investigated the case, Yanukovych paid a much lower rental fee than the market price – Hr 107,000 annually, or less than $2,000 monthly. In 2005, a court cancelled the rental agreement.