Amid the flora and fauna of the Hryshko National Botanical Garden in Kiev, Ukraine, sits a lizard-shaped park with attractions such as a US$46,000 crystal falcon and a 100m-long tent resembling a golden loaf of bread.

Welcome to Kiev's "Corruption Park" — an exhibition being staged this month by the European Union's Anti-Corruption Initiative.

As visitors make their way through the park, they come face-to-face with lavish mock-ups of politicians' offices, some of which contain the actual spoils of former Ukrainian leaders.

The golden, loaf-shaped tent was found in the home of former Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014; in front of it sits a US$300,000, limited-edition BMW seized by the government from a corrupt official.


Nearly all of the displays here are interactive. In one of the park's nine tents, visitors lie on their backs to watch the imagined dreams of a corrupt politician; in another, they use virtual-reality headsets to experience what it is like to work in the National Anti-Corruption Bureau.

The goal is for visitors to see "the direct relation between top-level corruption and ordinary Ukrainians," said Volodymyr Solohub, a spokesman for the EU Anti-Corruption Initiative.

Corruption has plagued Ukraine for decades. Before he was ousted in 2014, Yanukovych was paying on average more than US$1 million in bribes per day and living in a luxury mansion that included a private zoo. Four years after his departure, Ukraine is still ranked as one of the most corrupt nations in Europe.

This problem is costing Ukraine 2 per cent of its GDP per year, a representative from the IMF estimated. On June 7, Ukrainian MPs voted to establish an independent anti-corruption court.

Yet, on the same day, Oleksandr Danylyuk, Ukraine's Finance Minister and an anti-corruption advocate, was dismissed. The day before, Danylyuk had said he was pressured by Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman to allow "political corruption" or quit.

Eka Tkeshelashvili, the head of the EU initiative, said educational initiatives such as "Corruption Park" are essential to building domestic pressure against the issue.