News form Ukraine: Kingdom come for the rich
Society18:26 Aug. 2, 2016

Kingdom come for the rich

Ukrainians sell tombs of their relatives at elite cemeteries so the rich could build their own mausoleums on top of them

Kingdome come for the rich. Ukrainian politicians and famous individuals have found new fashion - buy or reserve expensive family vaults or tombs at cemeteries in Ukraine. They pay thousands of dollars for such privileges.

Baykovyi is the most prestigious graveyard in Ukraine, located in Kyiv. It is almost 200 years old. People pay up to 20,000 dollars for the opportunity to be entombed here.

Sometimes they build their mausoleums on top of other people's graves, because average Ukrainians are usually willing to sell the sections where their relatives were buried. They even advertise it on the Internet.

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Kyiv resident: "I want 15,000 dollars for the grave where my father is buried. He doesn't need it anymore, he's long gone. You can do whatever you want with the grave. Why am I selling it? My leg needs a surgery, that's why?"

However, relatives of famous Ukrainians are granted a place at the cemetery for free.

Andriy Yukhymchuk, Baykovyi Cemetery head: "People, awarded by the country, are allowed to bury their relatives here: wives, children, grandchildren."

The graves are often decorated with marble on the outside, as well as under the ground. Local staff says, some of them even open automatically. This tombstone looks like it belongs in the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. It was built by a Kyiv official for his wife. After he died, he was also buried here.

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Ukrainian football players, famous musicians and actors are often entombed at Baykovyi cemetery.

Iryna Stupka, Kyiv resident: "I think, the size of your grave doesn't matter in the afterlife. But this is our family place."

Politicians often reserve the graves while they are still alive. Family vaults indicate a person of noble name lies here. There are about twenty such vaults at Baykovyi cemetery. Only the people, who can prove they are members of the family, can be entombed here.

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Oleksiy Koshel, Ukrainian political expert, historian: "Should such practice exist? I believe it should, but it needs to be institutionalized. And prices for such privileges should be assigned accordingly."

The tradition to bury relatives in family vaults comes from Western Ukraine. There are about 5,000 vaults at Lychakivskyi cemetery in Lviv. Locals say, only a reach person can afford to build a new mausoleum, The construction costs thousands of dollars. 

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