Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Oh and then there was that day we walked through Yanukovich's home...

Well I can truly say without a doubt that I NEVER would have anticipated having a post with this title.  Let's face it, a lot of things happened in the last week that I never would have anticipated....EVER.  Hence the whole 'learning to hold my plans' loosely lesson that is currently a reality.

The air in Kiev this week seems to hold tension mixed with hope.  The streets on Maidan remain full of people in mourning and flower and candle memorials are stewn about the streets as far as the eye can see. It is clear that no one is packing their bags to go home yet.  There is also unrest in the southern part of the country (Crimea) as the pro-Russian part of the region stands strong against the pro-Ukraine Crimean Tar-tars.  It is an interesting time to say the least.

So now back to the title of this post....walking through Yanukovich's home....

Within hours of Viktor Yanukovich fleeing Kiev last Saturday, his home became an instant tourist attraction.  After being seized by journalists and members of the EuroMaidan protest group, the grounds of his home quickly became a hot destination in Kiev. Thousands of people toured the property on Saturday alone! It became an overnight sensation and the talk of everyone in town.

There are many reasons I love my job and the many interesting opportunities it presents! Orphan's Promise (who I work for) is a ministry of CBN, and this past week my dear friend and colleague George Thomas from CBN News has been here to cover the crisis and news developing in Ukraine.  My team in Kiev has been helping George with his logistics and he's been kind enough to let me tag along on some of his coverage of the week's events (I'm a groupie at heart).  His press privileges have gotten our little team into a few cool places we might not have otherwise had access to....like the INSIDE of the Yanakovich estate.

What an experience!  After-all, its not every day you get to stroll through a vacated President's home...open up his medicine cabinet (you bet I did), play a song on his grand piano (that was my cousin),  drink coffee out of one of his cups (that was our tour guide), or sit behind his official desk (that was me too).

Taking calls for the President while he is MIA
People have been describing the home as 'opulent, excessive and ostentatious,' and while I will not be the one to disagree, I cannot say that the actual interior house was all too impressive.  Grand, yes, expensive, yes- but in terms of a being the president of a nation, I'm sure there are presidents who boast grander homes. (And yes- I do realize Yanukovich has more than this one!).

What baffled my mind most of all was the fact that we were freely walking through a home that only days before had been occupied by the man himself. 
I couldn't help but wonder -how quickly did he make his exit strategy?
What is he thinking now, knowing that thousands are traipsing through his grounds....seeing where he slept?
I guess he currently has more important things on his mind...

What was the most disconcerting or perhaps amusing was the fact that his estate is being guarded by a bunch of young, practically self-appointed kids who had been down on Maidan.  One of our 'tour guides' was an 18-year-old- barking orders of what to do and what not to touch (he was sweet though!).   It was quite the motley crew running the show.  At least they are limiting who they let in the doors.   I have to say it is a good thing we were a group of 'upstanding individuals' as the ability to steal small items from the estate would have been quite easy! (Don't worry...we didn't...that's just how my mind works!)

So here is a little more of the inside of the Victor Yanokich's home at Mezhigiria.  I'm still pinching myself...

George and team filming a stand-up in the living room
billiards anyone?
and a little concert
our 'guide'
you'd think he could afford to update the bedside phone?
a heavy dose of medicine at hand...
looks like he took all his clothes with him as he ran...
some family finds..
he even has his own church....seriously...
and an elevator...
Our guide's coffee break mid-tour

School may be cancelled, but I'd say I took my cousin Gabrielle on a good field trip!
Thanks George!! Life is never boring when you are around!

5 comments:

Rudolf Harris said...

unreal!

Jodi Durr said...

How absolutely interesting. How quickly things change.

strangekaty said...

Wow! I've loved reading your insights into the situation in Ukraine, Karen! Keep up the good work.

Yvonne Owens said...

Thanks for sharing your field trip. I enjoyed it greatly! I am sure my brother, Sam Gates, was back in Kiev to go too!

Tara G. said...

I'm laughing over your guide- I get that! Nice closet; I loved those pull down bars.