Femen: Our war is somewhat different from Maidan


Euroradio: What is your attitude to Maidan and to the situation in Ukraine?

Ganna Gutsol:  We do care and hope that the Ukrainian people will win. We are happy because Ukrainians can rise at least once in 10 years. Ukrainian citizens will become real citizens with time.

Euroradio: Femen have partially stopped their activities in Ukraine – you and your colleagues have asked for political asylum in France. Have you considered the possibility of taking part in protest actions in your country?

Ganna Gutsol: Femen have been taking part in protest actions for five years.  I think we were one of the first organizations that started fighting Yanukovich. They are doing fine without us now – there are heroes and, sadly, victims. We took part in the first demonstrations in December but our resources are limited now.

Euroradio: What resources do you mean?

Ganna Gutsol: Financial and human resources. We have no right to risk and urge Ukrainian women to protest now. The things that happened to us in summer mean that they will treat our members in a brutal way and may start killing instead of just beating.

Euroradio: Nevertheless, there are a lot of women in Maidan and they know about their risk. They understand why they are risking. But there are no Femen leaders among them…

Ganna Gutsol: Our activists who stayed in Ukraine are also helping in Maidan: some of them are making sandwiches, others are helping journalists and working in the information centre. Maidan has its own life and is struggling on its own – it is fine without us. I think that we are needed in extreme cases.

Euroradio: I do not think that your provocative topless actions could be out of place in Maidan…

Ganna Gutsol: Our movement is international. It was born in Ukraine but there are many more countries besides Ukraine and we have a lot of work to do. We are not disappointed about not being able to participate. We will hit, but we will hit from some other side. We are not warriors. Femen members are not guys with Molotov cocktails. We have our own tactics – the sextremism tactics.

Euroradio: You had an opportunity ‘to catch’ Yanukovich in Sochi.

Ganna Gutsol: We have a lot of plans but we will not reveal them. Victor Yanukovich rarely visits normal counties. He usually visits his dictatorial neighbours. 8 our members are personae non gratae in Russia. It is harder for us to get there even in comparison with Ukraine. But we will definitely catch him.

Euroradio: You used to make negative comments about Ukrainian opposition leaders in your previous interviews with Euroradio. What is your opinion about Klichko, Yatsenyuk and Tsehnibok now?

Ganna Gutsol: I cannot call them anything else but Coward, Boob and Veteran. It’s a pity that we do not have real opposition leaders in Ukraine. We said it long ago – even Tsimoshenko is not an opposition force. She is not the real representative of the people’s interests. This revolution may produce new leaders and they may come from the barricades, from Maidan, from war.

Euroradio: Could Ganna Gutsol do the things Klichko, Yatsenyuk and Tsehnibok cannot do?

Ganna Gutsol: Well, I’d prefer a larger scale!

Euroradio: Isn’t Maidan large-scale enough for you?!

Ganna Gutsol: Our interests are not limited to Ukraine. We are interested in the whole world and in protecting women’s rights all over the world. We consciously chose the way of an international women’s movement. Ukraine is only one of the things we care about. But we are going further than this. We cannot help Ukrainians in this struggle because it is not our war. Our war is different. Moreover, I think that Maidan is a false start. They had better preserved all this anger until 2015 to hit during the election campaign. I’m afraid that people may become apathetic and it may help Yanukovich win. I hope that it will not happen. I’m scared of Putin’s actions that may follow the Olympic Games. He may make use of the situation to get part of the Ukrainian territory like it happened in Georgia. It may end with war. We have relatives and friends in Ukraine – we do not want any war.

Euroradio: You live in Paris now. Is it difficult to live and work in France?

Ganna Gutsol: The forced emigration has united us and made us stronger. We live in our training centre in Paris now – we train and work there. We have applied for political asylum. However, we still have no rights.

Euroradio: You used to say that you were not paid for your actions and lived off donations. Nevertheless, you immigrated to Paris and live there. You even have your own training centre in the city...

Ganna Gutsol: It would be good if our country signed the association agreement with the EU so that our people could understand Europe better! It is necessary to forget about stereotypes: “Paris is a mythical place where everyone can eat croissants, drink coffee in expensive cafes and wander around doing nothing!” Life is Paris is a hard as in Kiev, Donetsk or Moscow. We still live off donations and our shop. The training centre is our territory, our base. There is a law allowing people to make use of empty territories in France – if you are ready to make it comfortable and make use of it, you can do it. We did it. If you want to see how we live, just come – cook cereals with us, sit near the heater as there is no central heating and try walking around the city unable to pay the fare.


                                     Alexandra Shevchenko and Ganna Gutsol

Euroradio: Have you forgotten about the Belarusian President in Paris?

Ganna Gutsol: Of course, we haven’t! Unfortunately, we are not ready to go to your country now because it is would mean risking our lives. We keep watching the situation and are looking for a way to have a dig at Lukashenka.

Photo: Zmitser Lukashuk, video: http://femen.org/