Dozens of Ukraine demonstrators vandalize monument

Ukraine protestors demolish the letters on the KGB officers monument
Dozens of demonstrators in Kiev defaced a monument to KGB (Soviet Russia’s security agency) officers on Sunday, covering it with graffiti and smashing an inscription from its base with hammers.

Soviet Russian icons and monuments have been under attack in Ukraine in recent days, seen by many opposition protesters as symbols of the Russian influence they have fought to overthrow in the past months.

Emotions mounted around statues of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin, after angry protesters took them down in several towns and cities.

Statues of Lenin across the former USSR are seen as a symbol of Moscow’s rule.

The monument to KGB officers was regarded in the same way.

“I think nobody needs this monument. I never see people coming to this monument, laying flowers on it. I live not far from here. But I don’t have any positive emotions about it. It’s like an empty place for me,” said Alyona Havrylyuk, standing in front of the defaced monument.

“It reminds me of (Soviet founder Vladimir) Lenin, (Soviet revolutionary and head of Soviet secret police, Felix) Dzerzhinsky and the starvation in 1933 (killing millions of Ukrainians, regarded as result of Soviet policies). This is the same as what happened in Mezhyhirya (invasion of President Viktor Yanukovych’s residence),” she said.

The opulent residence of President Viktor Yanukovych, known as Mezhyhirya, has always been a closely guarded secret – and a symbol of the alleged corruption at Ukraine’s highest levels.

On Saturday, after he fled the capital and its gates were thrown open, thousands streamed into the compound to get a first-hand look.

Inside the walled compound, posh mansions stood amid manicured lawns.

There were parks dotted with statues, ponds with fountains and wild ducks, a tennis court, a golf course and a colonnaded pavilion.

Many expressed disgust as they wandered the grounds.

Photos: Ukrainians at Residence of Yanukovych

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Protesters walk past the main building of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's residency near Kiev on February 22, 2014. A member of Ukraine's parliament said on February 22 that President Viktor Yanukovych has promised to submit his resignation in response to violence that left nearly 100 dead in anti-government unrest. Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) opposition party lawmaker Mykola Katerynchuk told reporters that Ukraine's embattled leader said he would resign in a conversation with protest leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk. AFP PHOTO/GENYA SAVILOV
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People express their joy in front of the main building of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's residency near Kiev on February 22, 2014. A member of Ukraine's parliament said on February 22 that President Viktor Yanukovych has promised to submit his resignation in response to violence that left nearly 100 dead in anti-government unrest. Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) opposition party lawmaker Mykola Katerynchuk told reporters that Ukraine's embattled leader said he would resign in a conversation with protest leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk. AFP PHOTO/GENYA SAVILOV
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A man holding a European Union flag poses in front of the main building of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's residency near Kiev on February 22, 2014. A member of Ukraine's parliament said on February 22 that President Viktor Yanukovych has promised to submit his resignation in response to violence that left nearly 100 dead in anti-government unrest. Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) opposition party lawmaker Mykola Katerynchuk told reporters that Ukraine's embattled leader said he would resign in a conversation with protest leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk. AFP PHOTO/GENYA SAVILOV
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Anti-government protesters pose in front of the main building of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's residency near Kiev on February 22, 2014. A member of Ukraine's parliament said on February 22 that President Viktor Yanukovych has promised to submit his resignation in response to violence that left nearly 100 dead in anti-government unrest. Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) opposition party lawmaker Mykola Katerynchuk told reporters that Ukraine's embattled leader said he would resign in a conversation with protest leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk. AFP PHOTO/GENYA SAVILOV
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This picture taken on February 22, 2014 shows the main building of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's residency near Kiev. A member of Ukraine's parliament said on February 22 that President Viktor Yanukovych has promised to submit his resignation in response to violence that left nearly 100 dead in anti-government unrest. Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) opposition party lawmaker Mykola Katerynchuk told reporters that Ukraine's embattled leader said he would resign in a conversation with protest leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk. AFP PHOTO/GENYA SAVILOV
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This picture taken on February 22, 2014 shows the main building of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's residency near Kiev. A member of Ukraine's parliament said on February 22 that President Viktor Yanukovych has promised to submit his resignation in response to violence that left nearly 100 dead in anti-government unrest. Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) opposition party lawmaker Mykola Katerynchuk told reporters that Ukraine's embattled leader said he would resign in a conversation with protest leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk. AFP PHOTO/GENYA SAVILOV
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This picture taken through a window on February 22, 2014 shows the interior of the main building of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's residency near Kiev. A member of Ukraine's parliament said on February 22 that President Viktor Yanukovych has promised to submit his resignation in response to violence that left nearly 100 dead in anti-government unrest. Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) opposition party lawmaker Mykola Katerynchuk told reporters that Ukraine's embattled leader said he would resign in a conversation with protest leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk. AFP PHOTO/GENYA SAVILOV
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Anti-government protesters stand guard in front of the main building of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's residency near Kiev on February 22, 2014. A member of Ukraine's parliament said on February 22 that President Viktor Yanukovych has promised to submit his resignation in response to violence that left nearly 100 dead in anti-government unrest. Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) opposition party lawmaker Mykola Katerynchuk told reporters that Ukraine's embattled leader said he would resign in a conversation with protest leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk. AFP PHOTO/GENYA SAVILOV
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An opposition protester walks in front of the main building at the residency of the Ukrainian president near Kiev on February 22, 2014. A member of Ukraine's parliament said on February 22 that President Viktor Yanukovych has promised to submit his resignation in response to violence that left nearly 100 dead in anti-government unrest. Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) opposition party lawmaker Mykola Katerynchuk told reporters that Ukraine's embattled leader said he would resign in a conversation with protest leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk. AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOV
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A man leads a crowd marching towards the main residence of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in the outskirts of Kiev, on February 22, 2014. Earlier in the day, Ukraine's parliament voted to hold early presidential elections on May 25, passing a resolution stating that Viktor Yanukovych had failed to properly fulfil his duties as president. AFP PHOTO/GENYA SAVILOV
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People queue to visit the main residence of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in the outskirts of Kiev, on February 22, 2014. Ukraine's parliament on February 22 voted to hold early presidential elections on May 25, passing a resolution stating that Viktor Yanukovych had failed to properly fulfil his duties as president. AFP PHOTO/GENYA SAVILOV
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Thousands of people visited the main residence of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych as anti-government activists took control of it in the outskirts of Kiev, on February 22, 2014. Ukraine's parliament on February 22 voted to hold early presidential elections on May 25, passing a resolution stating that Viktor Yanukovych had failed to properly fulfil his duties as president. AFP PHOTO/GENYA SAVILOV
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Anti-government activists visit the main residence of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in the outskirts of Kiev, on February 22, 2014. Ukraine's parliament on February 22 voted to hold early presidential elections on May 25, passing a resolution stating that Viktor Yanukovych had failed to properly fulfil his duties as president. AFP PHOTO/GENYA SAVILOV
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An anti-government activist stands guard at the main building of Ukrainian President's residency near Kiev on February 22, 2014. Ukraine's border police blocked Viktor Yanukovych from flying to Russia and the embattled president is thought to be "hiding" in the country's east, the newly elected parliament speaker said on February 22. "He tried to take a plane to Russia but he was blocked in doing so by border police. He is currently hiding somewhere in the Donetsk region," Oleksandr Turchyno was quoted as saying by Ukrainian news agency Interfax. AFP PHOTO/GENYA SAVILOV
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People visit the main building of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's residency near Kiev on February 22, 2014. Ukraine's border police blocked Viktor Yanukovych from flying to Russia and the embattled president is thought to be "hiding" in the country's east, the newly elected parliament speaker said on February 22. "He tried to take a plane to Russia but he was blocked in doing so by border police. He is currently hiding somewhere in the Donetsk region," Oleksandr Turchyno was quoted as saying by Ukrainian news agency Interfax. AFP PHOTO/GENYA SAVILOV
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People cheer in front of the parliament building in Kiev on February 22, 2014. Ukraine's parliament on February 22 voted to hold early presidential elections on May 25, passing a resolution stating that Viktor Yanukovych had failed to properly fulfil his duties as president. The resolution said that Yanukovych "is removing himself (from power) because he is not fulfilling his obligations, and (that parliament) is setting elections for May 25." AFP PHOTO/ BULENT KILIC

Ukraine is deeply divided between eastern regions that are largely pro-Russian and western areas that widely detest Yanukovych and long for closer ties with the European Union.

Yanukovych’s shelving of an agreement with the EU in November set off the wave of protests, but they quickly expanded their grievances to corruption, human rights abuses and calls for Yanukovych’s resignation.