Inside Ousted Ukrainian President’s Massive Dog Kennel

May 6, 2014 | Sophie Weiner

Since the ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych fled his insane palace, it has been open to the public who can pay about a dollar to marvel at what their president had been spending all their money on. Alongside the 70 cars, a shooting range, some golden toilets, and a private zoo, Yanukovych’s property also housed a dog breeding operation. DAZED Magazine just ran an amazing feature on this dog kennel — which is far from abandoned — featuring amazing photographs by Jacob Balzani Lööv.

“We had to keep the dogs inside the kennel because they were not used to the hundreds of thousand people who came to visit the property after it has been open to the public,” Nikolai Garus, one of the remaining dog trainers, told DAZED. “But they quickly got used to the new situation.”

These weren’t just any dogs. The president preferred massive, rare and expensive breeds, such as the Tibetan Mastiff, or the English Mastiff puppies that served as a present to the president of China.

(Image: Jacob Balzani Lööv/TRANSTERRA Media via Dazed Digital)

A protestor suggested that Yanukovych’s penchant for large dogs was a reflection of his insecurity, which coming from a guy living in on a piece of property nearly the size of Monaco, makes a lot of sense.

The kennel itself, like much of the property, was a huge investment, and its future is unsure. Just to run the kennel costs about 3.5 million Euros a month, based on documents found at the site. It’s uncertain whether the admission fee to the grounds will be enough to cover it. But as Garus told DAZED, the trainers are committed to protecting their charges: “These dogs are our life. They grew up with us and we are the only ones who know how to take care of them.”

(Image: Jacob Balzani Lööv/TRANSTERRA Media via Dazed Digital)

(Top Image: Jacob Balzani Lööv/TRANSTERRA Media via Dazed Digital)