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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Kuchma's Daughter Spends £80 Million on Britain’s Most Expensive Home

Olena Franchuk — who chairs the Anti-AIDS Foundation in her native Ukraine, a country with the highest prevalence of AIDS in Europe — went for the record when she recently bought Britain’s highest priced mansion. (Read the full story in The Evening Standard and in this blog post.)

Daughter of former
autocratic Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, Franchuk is also the wife of Viktor Pinchuk, Ukraine’s second-richest man with a current estimated net worth of $10.5 billion.

Both Franchuk and Pinchuk have engaged in widely publicized philanthropist activities. Last summer, the couple organized an AIDS awareness concert by Sir Elton John in Kyiv.

Well, now that they have such a fine nest to stay at in London, Sir Elton John no longer has to fly to Kyiv to sing that “Circle of Life.”



Anonymous said...

Pic of Kuchma and his daughter

And the Pinchuks are avid art collectors.

and they also fund artists like "Teller's images of naked Ukrainian women slathered in black caviar."


elmer said...


The place was bought by a developer in 2006 for 20 million (looks like pounds).

Franchuk decides to go to Londongrad and buy the place, which is not yet finished, for 80 million (again, looks like pounds in the Evening Standard story).

Now I understand that the place had a lot of construction done on it, but 60 million worth? Only 2 years later?

I especially got a kick out of the following:

"The work is said to have upset neighbours, who include the Mayor of Moscow and his wife. "

Now, if you're going to claim a lot of credit for doing a lot of things in Ukraine, I wonder why you would not spend 80 million in Ukraine?

Furthermore, as Luida pointed out, I don't see how naked pictures of women in an English art gallery help Ukraine, even though they are portrayed somehow as an "image of Kyiv." The pictures are hideous. They don't represent Kyiv at all, nor do they represent the "extreme desire for capitalism or luxury in Kyiv."

Now, if he had taken naked pictures of Kuchma's daughter, or of Firtash, or Kuchma, or Mogilevych, or Yanukovych, then that indeed would represent the extreme desire for luxury - in Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk.

And for this people are supposed to think that Pinchuk is somehow helping Ukraine and doing "charitable work"?

Finally, it seems to me that the Pinchuk Foundation focuses mainly on Jewish things, not on Ukrainian things.

It's his money, and he stole it fair and square. And if he wants to focus on Jewish things, that's great.

But I am not ready to go goo-goo and ga-ga and extol the virtues of the Pinchuk Foundation, even if they do claim to know Elton John.

What concrete good things can they point to?

I have not found anything on their site yet that's actually hard results.

It's all in the "planning stages."

Oh, except for a movie by Spielberg.

Yep, that'll get rid of corruption in Ukraine - NOT.

Taras said...

Luida, you’re a genius:)!

The links are priceless! I couldn’t resist planting that lovely family pic into my post!

Everyday we discover something new about Ukrainian philanthropy. Those “images of naked Ukrainian women slathered in black caviar” — and I think I found one of them — are a good case in point. After all, Ukrainian philanthropy is an art, isn’t it?

If you have a “sincere and strong passion for contemporary art,” you can succeed in any art.

And some enlightened souls greatly appreciate it!

Taras said...

Elmer, it’s moments like these that dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s in “philanthropy” as it happens in Ukraine.

The “multitasking” activities these high-net-worth individuals engage in defy the original meaning of philanthropy. And what’s more, the cognitive dissonance doesn’t seem to upset them.

So, as millions of Ukrainians flee their country in search of ways to make a living, these individiauls circle the globe in search of ways to live it up.

DLW said...

Keep the ridicule going...

This ought to cost them a lot more philanthropy to save face...


Anonymous said...

"I think I found one of them"

Yep, that is one of the pictures which had been part of "52nd International Venice Biennale 2007, where a selection from this series" was shown. Some additional pics are here.

and here

"these pictures represent a place where beautiful girls wait to be discovered in a place where the desire for luxury has reached a fever pitch.'


PS While on the flip side photos from a photojournalist who took photos back in 2004 (when Ukraine had fewer AIDS cases then now) ---- photos taken in a hospital AIDs ward in Odessa Ukraine (not for the faint hearted)
"well known Czech photographer Jan Sibik who took pictures of the patients in an HIV/Aids hospital in Odessa, one of Ukraine's cities worst affected with the virus."
photos here but text is in Czech

"At times, strong emotions have roused even the photographer himself to cross the line between his field and becoming something of an activist: his experience in Ukraine, where he got to know AIDS sufferers, was such a case. Back in Prague, he organised what eventually became a series of exhibitions to raise money to help AIDS sufferers. The exhibition was titled "I still want to live"." (To my knowlege Jan's work nor charity raising was not funded by the Pinchuks.)

Taras said...

David, nobody has lost any faces here. It’s a calculated publicity risk and "business as usual."

Every year, they make billions of dollars in one of Europe’s poorest countries. They give back a few million. They call it “philanthropy,” and some fundraisers gladly accept it.

The only problem is that this kind of “philanthropy” doesn’t make much of a difference for the Ukrainian people. It’s a drop in the ocean. It’s an ego-stroking game. It’s a fetish. It’s the same as buying a record-breaking ₤80 m mansion.

Luida, this post would be incomplete without the links you supplied!

The Artcal summary says it all: “The Ukraine” is “where beautiful girls wait to be discovered,” and “a place where the desire for luxury has reached a fever pitch.” Bravo! That’s exactly what “the Ukraine” is all about, from a “philanthropic” point of view!

In contrast, there’s no “desire for luxury” in Jan Sibik’s photo set. No “beautiful girls” who “wait to be discovered.” No “naked Ukrainian women slathered in black caviar.” No “desire for luxury.”

And after all this, you wonder why they ignored his collection?

DLW said...

Yeah, it's pretty messed up and part of me wd very much prefer stronger language.

I read about your gas crisis and I just don't know what to do...

Taras said...

It is messed up.

And if things keep going this way, lots of people in this country will favor stronger action over stronger language. Today, I’ll post a video that supports my theory.

I’m too tired to write about the gas soap opera.