Fake “Feminists” of Femen Participated in the Odessa Massacre
by Steven Argue
Femen is known for bold and visually striking topless protests across Europe and North Africa. Often regarded as a feminist organization, the fact that they were started and was run by a man, Victor Svyatski, is less well known. He has recently been ousted from the leadership, but as Femen is his brainchild, he still worth looking at. Also less well known are Femen’s ties to the anti-woman Ukrainian neo-Nazi movement.
Kitty Green, a former Femen activist, describes Victor Svyatski's as the leader of the group, saying, "Once I was in the inner circle, you can't not know him. He is Femen."
Victor Svyatski would personally review potential activists to see if they were pretty enough. In addition, Brazilian supporters were denied a franchise under the brand for not having the right weight.
Kitty Green's description of Victor Svyatski's rule over the group isn't pretty, "He was quite horrible with the girls. He would scream at them and call them bitches.”
Victor Svyatski explained his male iron fist methods of leadership over the women saying, “These girls are weak.” He says this in the recent film documentary "Ukraine is not a Brothel" which outs him as the leader of the group. He further explains his position:
“They [the Femen activists] don’t have the strength of character. They don’t even have the desire to be strong. Instead, they show submissiveness, spinelessness, lack of punctuality, and many other factors which prevent them from becoming political activists. These are qualities which it was essential to teach them.”
This is indeed a curious attitude towards women for the male leader of a supposedly feminist organization. Yet, when one looks at the targets of Femen’s protests, the goals seem to be far more anti-immigrant and anti-Russian than one of fighting for women’s liberation. This includes their participation in the recent Odessa massacre which was a massacre of 116 anti-fascist protesters who stood up for the rights of the oppressed Russian nationality in Ukraine.
An early campaign of Femen was in Lviv Ukraine against Turkish football fans being able to visit Ukraine. In fact, they claimed that this was a threat to the genetic purity of Ukraine. Similarly, Femen leader Inna Shevchenko recently stated the reasons why the group is coming to the UK, listing:
“Prostitution, laws about immigration, Islamic extremism in UK will not escape Femen’s naked massacre now. Whether it’s Derby’s Al-madinah school or Buckingham Palace, Femen will always find the way to be where it’s needed.”
So like many on the far right, Femen’s apparent opposition to Islam playing a role in oppressing women in North Africa and the Middle East is actually part of a wider campaign against an entire group of peoples, men and women, as they try to immigrate. A reality usually ignored by this ideology is that these people are trying to immigrate from the repression, exploitation, poverty, sexist oppression, and wars largely imposed on the regions of their homelands by U.S. and European imperialism. This is U.S. and European imperialism in league with regional capitalists, dictators, and religious extremists. Immigrants flee the poverty imposed by imperialism. They also flee the Islamists the U.S. placed in power in Libya and Afghanistan by giving heavy backing to armed religious fanatics. Today the U.S. is also backing similar groups in Syria. Likewise, the U.S. also gives major support to the religious fanatics in power in Saudi Arabia, the most repressive and anti-woman government in the world.
Femen did recruit one woman from an Islamic country. This was a 19 year-old Tunisian named Amina Sboui (who was active under the alias Amina Tyler). She was threatened with being stoned to death for her bold topless acts and did spend four months in prison. Upon her release from prison, however, Amina Sboui quit the group, saying, “I do not want my name to be associated with an Islamophobic organization.” She was also concerned about the source of the group’s funding, saying:
“I don’t know how the movement is financed. I asked (Femen leader Inna Shevchenko) several times, but I didn’t get a clear answer. I don’t want to be in a movement supported by suspect money. What if it is financed by Israel? I want to know.”
Some funding sources for the group have been revealed, including the wealthy American capitalist Jed Sunden, who also founded the Kyiv Post. The Kyiv Post is a terrible news source that has backed U.S. imperialist intervention in Ukraine and the U.S. backed junta that came to power in the February 22nd coup. Other sources of funding for the group have also been revealed, but because the group has no transparency in funding, no complete public listing exists. There is, however, no question that the group is well funded. A Ukrainian journalist who infiltrated the group in 2012 reported on air that that group members were paid a salary of US $1,000 a month. In addition, each Parisian operation costs at least US $1,300 per woman with paid expenses including airplane tickets, hotel rooms, taxis, and food.
There is no question that large amounts of American money have been pumped into Ukrainian non-governmental organizations to carry out the U.S. sponsored coups in Ukraine that occurred in 2014 and in 2004. Hundreds of millions of dollars were poured into the country through groups like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Open Society Institute (OSI), International Republican Institute (IRI), and the Freedom House. Major backers included MoveOn.org sponsor and American multi-billionaire, George Soros. In addition, Victoria Nuland, speaking for the Obama administration, bragged that the U.S. has spent five billion dollars supposedly “promoting democracy” in Ukraine. The term "democracy" is U.S. imperialist double speak for overthrowing elected governments. And like the Femen activists, the U.S. backed Maidan rioters who overthrew the elected government of Ukraine also received regular payment for protesting. Femen was also among those who supported the Maidan
protests, the February coup, the murderous neo-Nazi attack in Odessa, and Femen also has ties to the neo-Nazi Svoboda Party that came to power with two other right wing parties in the February coup.
Femen and Their Support For Mysogynistic Neo-Nazi Extremists
In 2011 Femen leaders Inna Shevchenko, Sasha Shevchenko, and Victor Svyatski can be seen at a small picket against Belarus. Flying over their heads is the red and black checkered flag of UNA-UNSO, a far right paramilitary group that merged with the neo-Nazis of Right Sector during the Maidan riots. Standing right next to Inna Shevchenko and Sasha Shevchenko is one of their Femen comrades holding a banner that is clearly marked with the logo and name of the neo-Nazi Svoboda party. The Svoboda banner reads, "Long live independent Belarus. Freedom for Ukraine", "No to red terror". Of course, these are absurd slogans for Svoboda, a neo-Nazi group that calls for executing Ukrainian Russian intellectuals without trial and endorses Nazi collaborator and mass murderer Stepan Bandera as their hero. As the Femen held Svoboda banner suggests, another campaign of Femen has been against the deformed workers state of Belarus which has avoided many economic problems found in Ukraine by continuing to maintain a planned socialist economy since the days of the Soviet Union.
The neo-Nazis of Svoboda, besides having total hatred for Ukraine’s Jews and ethnic Russians, also hate women. This was made clear when, Oleksandr Sych, as a neo-Nazi Svoboda MP in the Ukrainian parliament, introduced a bill that would have banned abortion in April 2013. Currently in Ukraine abortion is legal on demand in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. The bill introduced by Svoboda would have outlawed abortion except in rare cases like rape. When a Svoboda representative in parliament was asked what kind of proof a woman would have to show to prove rape, he reflected Svoboda’s deep seated misogyny by answering:
“I do not work in the law enforcement and do not know what a woman can or cannot prove… But first of all, [she] should lead such a lifestyle as to not be exposed to the risk of rape. In particular, [she should not be] drinking alcohol beverages in a questionable company.”
This is pure misogyny that infringes on the rights of women to control their bodies and their lives and blames the victim in cases of rape.
Likewise, Adolf Hitler opposed women’s reproductive freedom. The Nazis increased the penalty for abortion when they first came to power in 1933. In 1943, the Nazis took this a step further, making the performance of an abortion on an "Aryan" woman punishable by execution.
Obama claims to be pro-choice. Yet, in the United States he repeatedly renews the Hyde Amendment which bans public funding of abortions for poor women in the United States. Likewise, in Ukraine he backs neo-Nazis who seek to ban abortion. Similarly, the fake feminist of Femen protest for the right to abortion yet didn't protest against the Svoboda bill and have now helped bring these neo-Nazis to power through their support to the Maidan movement.
With the February coup, Svoboda has been given the positions of Prime Minister for Economic Affairs (Oleksandr Sych), Education Minister (Serhiy Kvit), Ecology Minister (Andriy Makhnyk), Agriculture Minister (Ihor Shvaiko), and Prosecutor-General of Ukraine (Oleh Makhnitsky). In addition, a cofounder of Svoboda, Andriy Parubiy, has also been given the portfolio of Secretary of National Security and Defense. Make no mistake, this is a fascist given a position of command in war that the capitalist state of Ukraine and its fascist thugs are now waging against the working class, leftists, women, Jews, and national minorities of Ukraine. Femen, by participating in the May 2nd Odessa massacre, is on the front lines of that war, and fighting on the wrong side. Where it counts in the world fight against fascism, Femen is supporting the fascists. Meanwhile, in western Europe, as if simply to confuse, Femen is staging hypocritical anti-fascist protests in places like Paris.
The subjugation of women has long been a key component of U.S. backed imperialist forces and remains the case today from the Islamists the U.S. supports in Syria to the fascists it supports in Ukraine. This is because the forces willing to align themselves with U.S. subjugation and exploitation tend to be rabid ultra-religious and anti-socialist types who have deeply engrained anti-woman hatreds.
Besides Femen support for the neo-Nazis of Svoboda, Femen also officially endorsed the three party coalition that led the Maidan movement. Those three parties included the neo-Nazi Svoboda Party, Batkivshchyna (Fatherland Party), and UDAR. All three were united in supporting the IMF austerity demanded by their imperialist sponsors while the democratically elected government of Ukraine refused. As a result of that Maidan movement coming to power in February, the neo-Nazis of Svoboda are now part of the junta that runs Ukraine. Solutions to Euro-fascism and sexism will be found in the hard struggles of the world proletarian and socialist movements against capitalism, imperialism, sexism, and fascism, not in the absurdly contradictory actions of Femen and the coups sponsored by U.S. imperialism.
-Steven Argue of the Revolutionary Tendency
Don’t miss my upcoming article, “Ukrainian Anti-Fascists Expropriate Some Oligarchs, Build Military”, it will be mailed from the following address, subscribe free:
Liberation News (Internationalist)
For related articles from this author, also see:
For Women’s Liberation through Socialist Revolution!
Afghanistan: Misogynistic Hell Hole Made in the U.S.A.
Voters Approve Independence For Lugansk and Donetsk People's Republics
U.S. / EU Backed Kyiv Junta Waging War Against Civilian Population
by Steven Argue
And also check out some older articles with in depth analysis:
US EU Imperialist Hands Off Crimea, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia!
by Steven Argue
Flyers Telling Jews To Register Are Not From the Donetsk People's Republic
Imperialists Out of Ukraine! Stop Supporting Neo-Nazis! (An earlier article before the coup with in-depth analysis)
Ukrainian Military Joins Revolt, Troops Vow to Defend Protesters
For Ukraine's Self-Defense Militias!
For Crimea's Right To National Self Determination!
Ukraine Holocaust Memorial Canceled Out Of Fear U.S. Backed Anti-Semites
Communist Party Wins Mayoral Election in Russia's 3rd Largest City
Belarus: President Lukashenko Vows to Prevent a Coup Similar to Ukraine