Pro-Russian protesters attend a rally in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
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In Viktor Yanukovich's party headquarters in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, a stain on the wall marks where a framed picture of the ousted president used to hang.It is not only the photograph that has gone since Ukraine's parliament stripped Yanukovich of his powers Saturday. So has the support he once enjoyed in his home region, his power base as he moved from minor Soviet bureaucracy into local politics in the 1990s and rose to become the governor of the coal-mining region around Donetsk, prime minister and eventually Ukraine's president – at the second attempt – in 2010 . Donetsk is home to Ukraine's richest man Rinat Akhmetov, who bankrolled Yanukovich and his party.Shtukarin also said Yanukovich had tried after taking office to reduce the influence on him of Akhmetov and others in the Donbass, seeking to amass wealth within an inner circle of relatives and friends that came to be known as "The Family".Yanukovich's drive last year to sign trade and political agreements with the European Union – which he reversed under Russian pressure, triggering the Kiev protests – had been resisted in the Donbass.
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