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FEMEN is probably the most well-known Ukrainian public action movement outside of Ukraine for their outrageous actions involving public exposure.

FEMEN  has always attracted attention both to the girls and sometimes to the issues they intended to highlight. One of the young ladies, Anna Allein, who made herself famous thanks to the “Blood bucket challenge” action in the Kiev Pechersk Lavra (the Kiev Monastery of the Caves, a historic Orthodox Christian monastery), was born in Kremenchug. She came back to her hometown and did a presentation in “Prostranstvo Idey” (the Space for Ideas).  While organizing this meeting we were concerned that the Kremenchug people were quite prudish and would not welcome nudity. The crowd which came to her presentation was not that numerous. There were many journalists.  Anna talked about the most famous actions she was involved: “Ukraine is not Alina” (Alina Kobaeva is allegedly a Russian President’s Putin girlfriend), “Blood bucket challenge”, “UEFA attacked our gates”, “Ukraine is not a brothel”, “Do me, Mogilev!” (Anatoly Mogilev was the Minister of Interior Affairs at the time), “The rime is naked,” etc.  She also spoke about the reasons why she decided to take part in these actions, that the first FEMEN actions did not involve any public exposure, about the activists who got married and stopped participating in the actions, about policemen and how they treated FEMEN activists at the police stations. Anna also talked about documentaries made about FEMEN.

 

 

It seems that everybody was concerned that she would immediately start to take off her clothes and pester everybody with her naked breasts.  But that didn’t happen. Instead, she spoke of her work at STB TV, how Moscow Patriarchy was set up in Ukraine, what her mother thinks about her activities, about “kept women” culture, about her fans in Rakovka, that Ukrainian law did not forbid going topless (though full nudity in public is illegal), about the legalization of prostitution, that a woman should remain feminine (gentle, beautiful, and fragile, however strong when required).  The audience asked her about marriage, where one would get a bucket of blood, what inspired her ideas for her actions of protest. However, there was some public exposure (strictly on video and photos), and Anna proved that she was just a girl who is “in harmony with her body,” who is concerned about her country, can organize an action of protests and write a good magazine story.  She didn’t claim to be committed to the FEMEN policies, but enjoyed the process.