The Atlantic: Femen, Ukraine’s topless warriors

On the tarmac at Kyiv's Borispil Airport, during a sun-drenched afternoon last July, 24-year-old Yana Zhdanova tensed up when she saw Kirill I, the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, descending the stairs from his just-landed plane. 

"I was pumped up with pure adrenalin," she said, clenching her delicate fists before me as we sat in Femen's office in downtown Kyiv. A former journalist with a university degree and a current strip-club dancer, Zhdanova had received accreditation from the Ukrainian church authorities managing Kirill's visit and so stood with members of the press corps covering the event. "They had cordoned us off behind a rope, and I knew I had to get Kirill quickly, when no one would expect it."  

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The mission of the "FEMEN" movement is to create the most favourable conditions for the young women to join up into a social group with the general idea of the mutual support and social responsibility, helping to reveal the talents of each member of the movement.

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