Magazine article The Spectator

Yanukovych vs Caligula

Magazine article The Spectator

Yanukovych vs Caligula

Article excerpt

Tyrants never learn, do they? From Caligula through Gadaffi to the ex-Ukrainian prime minister Viktor Yanukovych, they rule not to serve the people but themselves - and all in virtually identical ways.

The emperor Tiberius populated Capri with palaces and grottos where lovers entwined themselves for the pleasure of his guests, like Yanukovych's gardens dotted with love-seats and colonnades. Caligula had built a vast barge in the form of a floating palace on a lake, complete with marble, mosaics, and a hot and cold bath system; Yanukovych had a floating restaurant designed as a galleon.

When Rome burned down in ad 64, Nero collared the grounds in the centre to construct a huge 'Golden House', covered in gold leaf, precious stones, ivory veneers and frescoes, complete with parklands, statues, fountains, lakes and animals.

Yanukovych's vast marble-lined mansion, hung with gold icons, inhabited a huge country estate with a private golf course and a zoo, and manicured lawns studded with statues of rabbits and deer. …

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