Topless Activist in Pursuit
Putting her bare breast forward, a topless activist bearing the message “Kill Kirill” on her back chased after the Patriarch inside Kiev, Ukraine’s airport on Thursday.
Yana Zhdanova, a protester within the Ukrainian women’s rights movement known as Femen, came within a few feet on the Russian Church Leader before being stopped by security.
Zhadnova staged the attempted attack in protest of alleged anti-Ukranian policies by the church and the Kremlin.
The Associated Press reported that the activist shouted a phrase from a religious ritual that’s purpose is meant to expel demons.
Kirill himself did not react to the incident but ignored the interruption while talking to reporters about his visit to the Ukraine for an annual worshiping trip.
The topless Kiev-based Femen group, who’s Facebook page reads, “Our God is woman, our mission is protest, our weapons are bare breasts!” was founded in 2008 and became internationally known for organizing topless protests against sex tourists, international marriage agencies, sexism and what the group describes as “other social, national and international ills.”
According to police, Zhadnova was held at the airport and will soon appear in court where she may face a fine or several days in prison.
The incident shed light on what the Associated Press calls,
…the tension between Moscow and Kiev as Ukraine tries to move out of Russia’s shadow politically, economically and spiritually.
Despite what has become a growing movement to establish a strong, unified Ukrainian Orthodox Church that would be equal to that of Moscow’s, the Orthodox Church in Ukraine still answers to the Russian Church leader’s Patriarchate.
The anti-Russia protest also served to point out the difference between the freedoms of a democratic Ukraine compared to Russia, where President Vladimir Putin has adamantly stifled free expression and democracy; most notably by imprisoning three members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot. The rockers, all in their early twenties like most of the women of Femen, have spent months in prison for an impromptu art performance inside Moscow’s main cathedral. The band’s “Punk Prayer” defied Putin and called for Holy Mary to deliver Russia from the presidents reign.
A spokesperson for the Ukranian Orthodox Church said that charges will not be pressed against Zhadnova.
According to the Facebook page of Femen, the group’s goals are “To develop leadership, intellectual and moral qualities of the young women in Ukraine” and “To build up the image of Ukraine, the country with great opportunities for women”.
The protesters have gained prominence for their topless public activism against political and social ills, especially in the realm of women’s rights.
Last May, a Femen activist with the words “Fuck Euro 2012” written on her torso, lunged for the Euro 2012 football trophy while it was on display in a Ukrainian city square. The activists believed the Euro 2012 was an excuse for prostitution and sex trafficking.