US & World

25 pictures from the Mezhyhirya: The opulent estate of Ukraine's former president

Photo shows a view of the interior of the Mezhyhirya, the private residence of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, near Kiev on February 24, 2014. Ukraine issued an arrest warrant on February 24 for ousted president Viktor Yanukovych over the 'mass murder' of protesters and appealed for $35 billion in Western aid to pull the crisis-hit country from the brink of economic collapse. The dramatic announcements by the ex-Soviet nation's new Western-leaning team -- approved by parliament over a chaotic weekend that saw the pro-Russian leader go into hiding -- came as a top EU envoy arrived in Kiev to buttress its sudden tilt away from Moscow.
Photo shows a view of the interior of the Mezhyhirya, the private residence of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, near Kiev on February 24, 2014. Ukraine issued an arrest warrant on February 24 for ousted president Viktor Yanukovych over the 'mass murder' of protesters and appealed for $35 billion in Western aid to pull the crisis-hit country from the brink of economic collapse. The dramatic announcements by the ex-Soviet nation's new Western-leaning team -- approved by parliament over a chaotic weekend that saw the pro-Russian leader go into hiding -- came as a top EU envoy arrived in Kiev to buttress its sudden tilt away from Moscow.
AFP/AFP/Getty Images

On Monday, Ukraine's acting government issued an arrest warrant for former president Viktor Yanukovych, accusing him of mass crimes against protesters.

Thousands have since traveled to Yanukovych's closely guarded suburban countryside residence of Mezhygirya — a gargantuan compound nine miles from Kiev which became a symbol of his alleged corruption and contempt for democracy — to marvel at the gold and marbled mansions, statues, stables of cars, and antelopes in the menagerie. 

The grounds were abandoned by security on Feb. 22 after Ukrainian members of parliament voted to oust Yanukovych and bring presidential elections forward to May 25. Yanukovych has reportedly fled to the pro-Russian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea.

On site, anti-government protesters and activists joined forces with security and volunteers to protect the 345-acre mansion estate from vandalism and looting.

To give you a sense of what they're trying to protect, we've assembled a gallery of images that reveal the compound's lavish treasures.