Femen’s activists say they are being harassed by SBU, but will not give up

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June 30, 2010, 6:01 p.m. | Op-ed — by Anna Hutsol
Femen always thought we’d become the porn stars of Ukraine’s politics, but never could we have guessed that the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) would start to chase us, and that pseudo- law enforcers would threaten us with physical violence. That’s because we live, are living and will continue to live in a democratic society. At 1 a.m. on the eve of an event called “Democratic bitches against the SBU pressure on civic organizations and media” on June 23, two unknown people claiming to be law enforcement officers forced their way into my apartment. They threatened to “break the legs” and “tear off the heads” of anyone who participated in the event. They knew the addresses of all the Femen movement’s main activists.

They held me for two hours and forced me to call our press secretary to make corrections to the press release for the event. In the course of the conversation they kept changing their demands. In the end they demanded that we take out the paragraph from the press statement with a reference to “preventative talks” of SBU workers with the organization’s activists.

The government’s feverish response to Femen’s actions has reached its peakand now the SBU summons activists to “preventative chats” – a practice that was common in the era of Leonid Kuchma, and whose roots go even deeper into the Soviet system of total control over citizens.

Activists of Ukrainian women‘s movement Femen bear the acronym of the Ukrainian Secret Services (SBU), reading “SBU-bitches,“ on their underwear as they block the entrance to the SBU building during a protest in Kyiv on June 23 against lawlessness in the country. (Yaroslav Debelyi)

Just like then, the SBU has turned into an instrument of pressure, instead of an instrument to defend state interests.

To be honest, this is something that should have been expected ever since power was taken by the clan of brutal ageing machos, who hold their women behind closed doors, assigning them the role of servants (or secretaries, or deputies). Bare women’s breasts scare them more than the bandits: It seems they know what to do with the bandits, but not bare breasts.

The language of force, the only one they can understand, is not acceptable to us. That’s why after the midnight threats we decided to act democratically and go public about all instances of pressure.

It was scary. But would any woman not get scared if a strong man raised his hand against her? But staying silent would be like accepting defeat in this case, and a total collapse of democracy in Ukraine.

On June 23 we came out to the SBU building, and before the watchful eyes of many photo and television journalists we addressed the Ukrainian community as well as Viktor Yanukovych as the guarantor of the Constitution to protect us from pressure and threats.

Femen in front of the SBU on June 23

The situation spiraled downward the next day as we found an ad on the Internet, saying: “A respectable organization is collecting information about the girls who took part in Femen’s actions for money.” In the café when we’re usually based and where we know almost all visitors, we spot strange people that look like they’re shadowing us.

There is a major question about the professionalism of today’s SBU chief and his institution after the daily newspaper Segodnya wrote on June 19, citing sources close to Khoroshkovsky, that the bullying of Femen is the work of former SBU managers who are currently in opposition.

In other words, if one of Femen activists is injured or killed today, tomorrow they will say that it’s a “provocation of the opposition.”

Being an independent force, Femen has managed in the last two years to raise the issues of sex tourism and prostitution to the national level. But also with our enthusiasm, however Soviet this may sound, we revived public social activity in Ukraine, which had been discredited by paid-for demonstrations that are still used as an instrument in power struggles. We shall not allow anyone to discredit us any further.

We’re proud of our activists who were not afraid to come to the SBU after the threats, and who decided to go to the end. They have balls bigger than all our government members together. They have matured enough to become a true political force that can resist the current or any other authorities that fail to act in accordance with the laws of democracy.

Anna Hutsol is the leader of Femen, a non-profit organization that promotes women’s issues. She can be reached at

You can watch a chat with one of Femen's activists on TVi with Roman Skrypin:

The Kyiv Post is hosting comments to foster lively debate. Criticism is fine, but stick to the issues. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks will be removed from the site. If you think that a posted comment violates these standards, please flag it and alert us. We will take steps to block violators.
Anonymous June 30, 2010, 6:36 p.m.    

Cold Blooded or a gay government?

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Anonymous June 30, 2010, 6:37 p.m.    

So people claim to be SBU but do not provide ID, a little like half the drunks who claim to be mafia, there is a website asking for information but no website address is given or IP address for even the most lame of people who make comments here to trace by yourself and given an excellent opportunity to do so, the incident happened on 23 July, but was not worthy writing about until 30th July, and the blame of any injury to a FEMEN member will be put squarely on the opposition, the same opposition MPs who laughed at the two FEMEN women who disrupted Big Politics a few weeks ago?

Unfortunately, FEMEN are not a serious enough body of people to be taken by any of the politicians in Ukraine, looking at something on You Tube and the comments of foreigners to FEMEN when in Kyiv and accosted by them in the street, being along the lines of &quot;we know who you are we see you in Germany, you very funny&quot;.

As much as I enjoy you flopping your jugs out at any given opportunity, I must admit that due to your extreme political naivity I also cannot take you seriously, despite on occasion you actually have a good point to make, if you actually expanded on it or entered into a debate over it, but you never have, at least not when I have been confronted with your tits and handouts in Kyiv.

Now you have public attention, it is time to actually move on from just getting your tits out and actully engaging in some debate. It is very hard to debate with those who will not debate and sadly due to my age, I can only be entertained by your tits alone for so long before moving on.

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Anonymous June 30, 2010, 10:30 p.m.    

The rantings of an angry sovok &quot;chicken little&quot;...

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Anonymous June 30, 2010, 11:14 p.m.    

old Boleshevik fossil

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Gene Nelson June 30, 2010, 9:37 p.m.    

Seems like there is always someone willing to deny the authoritarianism that is overtaking Ukraine today.

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Anonymous July 1, 2010, 3:34 a.m.    

You stated:

It is very hard to debate with those who will not debate

Read more:

Are you reffering to yanukovych?

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Anonymous July 1, 2010, 2:45 p.m.    

No FEMEN who I see in Kyiv often.

Of course, you won't see them in Kyiv will you as you are not even in Ukraine.

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Anonymous June 30, 2010, 11:02 p.m.    

yanukovych needs a month to decide if UKRAINIAN female students are to be protected in UKRAINE?

Both institutions replied that the decision will be taken within one month.

Read more:

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Anonymous July 2, 2010, 3:12 a.m.    

yanukovych wants women in the kitchen. Or, does he want to join UKRAINE to the kremlin and have DEAD UKRAINIAN women?

Domestic violence kills 14,000 women in Russia each year, which amounts to almost one woman every hour, or about the same number of Soviet soldiers who died fighting in the 10-year Afghan war. And at the moment there is no law to protect them.

There are 365 days in ayear, and each one has 24 hours, for a total of 8,760 hours per year. Each hour has 60 minutes, which means each year has 525,600 minutes. Divide that number of minutes by 14,000 murders of women by their husbands, and you get one such killing every 37.5 minutes, not every hour. It’s more accurate to say one Russian woman is murdered by her husband every half an hour.

In 2003, “only” 9,000 women were killed by their husbands in Putin’s Russia according to government statistics. That means that over the course of the next five years, while Putin governed, the murder rate increased by a shocking 55%. This figure is ten times the number of women murdered by their husbands in the United States, a country with twice Russia’s population. In other words, the per capita murder rate of women by their husbands is twenty times lower in the USA than it is in Russia. Yet, Russian government officials claim the problem of domestic violence is no worse in Russia than anywhere else, and the city of Moscow does not have one single shelter to house women fleeing domestic violence.

Not one shelter.

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Anonymous June 30, 2010, 11:27 p.m.    

An admirable show of guts and girl power. I would like to imagine that any powers that be would be more reluctant to use physical force against female protesters, than against male ones.

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Anonymous July 1, 2010, 3:31 a.m.    

Dear Anna Hutsol,

Thank you for caring about UKRAINE. Keep up the good work.



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Anonymous July 1, 2010, 4:43 a.m.    

you are the symbol of the ukraine.

you are it

you are simply the best

you are the climax

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Anonymous July 1, 2010, 4:44 a.m.    

you are the symbol of the ukraine.

you are it

you are simply the best

you are the climax

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Anonymous July 1, 2010, 5:16 p.m.    

Anna Hutsol is kinda hot...why don't they make her president to replace the old, fat, ugly Donetsk criminal

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Anonymous July 1, 2010, 10:35 p.m.    

disapointing from femen... why are they wearing clothes?

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Anonymous July 2, 2010, 7:35 a.m.    

Please have some respect for UKRAINIAN ladies.

For Ostarbeiter same ban on marriage was not. Gave birth ostovki and children, mostly - from their own legal husbands. For most of them conceived in sin, the child is a disgrace for the rest of his life, and nearly closed the possibility of returning to his native village. So the Germans could only marvel at the moral stability and chastity of girls from UKRAINE.

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Anonymous July 2, 2010, 5:50 p.m.    


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Anonymous July 2, 2010, 9:01 a.m.    

Yes, we the diaspora pimps spent 5 years to teach the Ukraine women the striptease trade and now they betray us. I'm very sad. I'm going to cry. Waa, waa, waa.

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