The founder of the FEMEN Movement – Anna Hutsol, told Focus about who will be the victim of future actions and why the methods of this Movement is still not out of date.
What happened to FEMEN since you left the country?
– Some of the activists stayed in Paris and worked there with our training camp. They asked for political asylum in France, me – in Switzerland. For six months I lived in migrant camp centers for refugees. When Maidan had happened, we had a rush to return. But it would be dangerous for us, and I think that then our presence in Ukraine was not necessary. We conducted the action, when there was absolute calm. And during the Maidan the whole nation raised up against the system. Maybe now we’re back because of the recession of civil activity. Now we are needed.
What themes for actions you see in Ukraine nowadays?
– The same as before. The fight against the sex industry, which flourished because of the war and the crisis, discrimination of LGBT people, dictatorship, opposition to religious institutions. We have always said that Putin has an impact on what is happening in Ukraine. The answer was: “You’re saying rubbish!” Well now we see that it was not our stupidity. Irritating, we derive a conflict, show the true face of power.
Do you often receive messages on Facebook from the girls who want to participate in FEMEN activities?
– It is difficult in Ukraine. Everyone is terrified. Sometimes they write, but I always warn about the risks, then many of them turn away. We have new activists, but we do not show them for security purposes. There are activists who have been with us, and then left the movement, and are back again. For example one of them – Angelina. She took part in the first topless protests, then decided it was not her thing, and left. And now she says she has matured and is ready to act.
FEMEN Movement turned 8 years old in Ukraine. Don’t you think that your actions become outdated, no longer shocking?
– In the world, in general, it is very difficult to find something new. We see that our format – sexy topless diversion – hits the mark. It does not get insipid, until machos rule. Additional attributes or theater are needed only if the act itself is not enough bold. But it is not our case.
What do you think of the other actionists? About Peter Pavlensky, for example.
– I believe that the future is not for writing releases and petitions but for protests and actionists. But everyone has its own format. Mutilation – this is Pavlensky’s format. Topless is ours. I love actionists therefore sadly observe how Pussy Riot off the actionists turned into human rights defenders. I believe actionism is more effective.
What is the action you dream to organise?
– A dream for us is to get to the most protected representative of the patriarchal world. We’ve already done something like this – attacked Putin in Germany in 2013. Yet, we’d want to hold protests in Muslim countries. But it’s very expensive. We held action in Tunisia, it seemed to us that it is not the most Islamic country, but even there we’ve got into trouble. Activists got sentenced for three to four months in prison, and only through our efforts and support of the activists all over the world we were able to release them.
Photos – Olexander Chekmenyov