Who pulls the strings of Femen and Pussy Riot?

Francis Carr Begbie


Christmas is a wonderful time at the Paris city centre church of La Madeleine. The magnificent vaulted ceilings echo to the sounds of baroque organ music and the choir rehearsing for the famous Christmas Eve concerts.  But mainly it is a haven where generations of devout Catholics sit, pray and re-charge their spiritual batteries.

Then last December 20 it became the scene of an obscenity. A young woman, naked to the waist apart from a blue veil, marched to the altar and proceeded to enact an “abortion” using a calf’s liver as a foetus. Then while screaming pro-abortion slogans she proceeded to urinate on the altar.  After striking defiant poses for photographers she walked calmly back out.

Radical feminist street outrage group Femen had struck again and were duly rewarded with a flood of fawning international TV, print and online coverage.  Six years after they were launched in Kiev, Femen have become the one of the most fashionable brands in radical politics with guaranteed coverage for their lurid antics and an endless stream of pretty young women willing to make spectacles of themselves for the cameras.

The toxic combination of narcissism, weaponised female rage and bare breasts has made them media darlings. They now have chapters in nine cities across the world including Rio, London, Frankfurt, Paris and Tel Aviv.

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Their hallmarks are slogans spray-painted on bare breasts and floral garlands. They’ve embraced  many trendy causes from gay marriage to cis-gender rights  and have even protested outside the Davos summit, Euro Cup 12 soccer tournament and even mosques but there is no doubting  their main targets — Russia, and the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.

 

Some of the scenes of their desecrations defy belief as in Argentina last year where Femen-inspired women, snarled, spat and then had sex in front of devout men defending a church from vandalism.  Last month another topless group ran screaming around St Peter’s Square in Rome apparently violating themselves with crucifixes before they were bundled away by the police.

So who are Femen and who is paying for them? Who is pulling the strings behind these obscene, marionettes? And why are their offensive actions treated with kid-gloves in a Europe so hyper-vigilant about “hate crimes”? These are among the many questions that surround them.

Femen were launched by a group of Kiev University students campaigning against sex tourism in 2008 and quickly got attention. But as their topless fame grew, the nagging questions increased. How are they able to rent such nice flats in Kiev? How do the girls make a living? The Italian magazine IL Foglio did its own investigation and uncovered some tantalising facts.

Every activist in Kiev gets about one thousand euros per month, the salary of the leaders is 2,500 euros (note that an average salary in Kiev is about 500 euros). In Europe, spending is even higher, and the girls from FEMEN receive €1,000 a day,” the Italian newspaper wrote. (Aug. 20, 2013)

Il Foglio identified an American Jewish businessman called Jed Sunden as a key funder of Femen.  Sunden is an enigma himself because of his puzzling business success. After majoring in history at Macalester College in Minnesota, Sunden ended up working in 1993, “sort of by chance,” on a privately funded research project compiling a register of Jewish cemeteries in Ukraine.

Less than two years later, he decided to set up his own English-language newspaper, the Kiev Post. “I was just a poor kid from Brooklyn with a dime and a dream,” he says of himself at the time. Knowing nothing about the publishing business and having a limited knowledge of journalism, Sunden relied heavily on two experienced Jewish journalists, Igor Greenwald and Brian Bonner.

The dream of an English language newspaper in an emerging former Soviet satellite, has brought many experienced publishers to disaster. But Sunden’s paper not only survived, it thrived. He seemed able to effortlessly summon up advertising from airlines and huge corporations such as Coca Cola and Phillip Morris that eluded much bigger independent English-language circulation papers in Poland, Czech Republic and elsewhere.

His magic touch aside, he has been described in his own paper thus: “”He is a libertarian who believes in low taxes and minimal government regulation, in free speech and in free markets. He also takes a critical view of Kremlin political leaders and the threats they pose for Ukraine’s newfound independence.”

Said Femen founder Anne Hutsol: “Jed was the very first influential person who noticed us, helped us with all the resources he had, gave use some useful advice, generously donated and said we were special. Jed was the very first person who helped us in promoting the organization and creating our website.”

Sunden has always refused to say how much he gave to Femen or give precise details why he is doing it. “I confirm that I do give money to Femen,” Sunden said. “I will not state the amount. After meeting with Anna Hutsol, I was impressed with her ideas and have been a supporter. I believe Anna is a young, independent voice in Ukraine. While I do not agree with all of her positions, I believe it is important to give her, and groups like hers, support.”  However he appears to have dropped his support since 2011 when Femen switched its focus from the Catholic Church and began protesting against sexism at the soccer’s Euro cup.

But Sunden is not the only person backing Femen. Behind every strong, independent-minded girl pop group there are usually a lot of men pulling the strings.  It was true for the Spice Girls, whose “Girl Power” slogan was invented by marketing men. and it is true for Femen for whom the Simon Cowell/Svengali role appeared, at one point, to belong to a staunch Ukrainian nationalist called Viktor Syvatski.

All this emerged during the screening of a documentary about Femen  when Syvatski was revealed to be giving these strong independent women, orders. Like Jed Sunden, his main political agenda seems to be keeping the Russian bear at bay.

The Australian film maker Kitty Green revealed  “It’s his movement and he hand-picked the girls. He hand-picked the prettiest girls because the prettiest girls sell more papers. The prettiest girls get on the front page. … That became their image, that became the way they sold the brand,” she says.  “He is Femen. … He is quite horrible with the girls. He would scream at them and call them bitches.”

The documentary records a phone call between Victor and an activist called Inna. Victor is instructing his topless subordinate on how they will protest the 2012 Euro Cup, held in Ukraine. The conversation is as follows:

Viktor: Well done. Ok, Inna, just between you and me, I’m putting you in charge of tomorrow’s protest. I can’t come and get Alexandra ready, you have to do it. The most important thing is to make sure Alexandra is ready. Also, if the police get close, then beat them with those sticks.

Inna — Just beat them?

Viktor — Beat them on the backs. Don’t be scared. Those idiots won’t do anything. Alexandra, explain it all to her in detail. Tell her that, fuck, you know, we gave her $200 to get her here. Explain that. Be strong with her. Explain that after the last fucking protest disaster, if she doesn’t perform then she won’t be invited back. She can go fuck herself. And we won’t give her money for her ticket back. Be very strong with her. Very strong. And don’t let Anna talk to her. Alexandra will be dressed as a dictator. On her back, we should write, ‘Create History Together,’ in English.

Inna — Got it. What should we chant?

EURO CUP = KGB? Something very simple and translatable. EURO CUP = KGB. Or KGB 2012? Write these down.

And then last year Syvastki seriously overstepped the mark when he organised a Femen barracking which embarrassed Vladimir Putin at a Hanover trade fair.  Bearing the slogan “Fuck the dictator” the women had to be dragged away.

Now Syvatski appears to be in fear of his life and is seeking asylum in the West after being beaten up and nearly kidnapped by “mystery men.” He no longer has anything to do with Femen, apparently.

For the Ukrainian authorities the last straw came when a Femen  activist sawed down a huge cross in a Kiev park in 2012 in support of the jailed Russian punk rock group Pussy Riot.  The cross was a memorial to the victims of the Cheka and NKVD in the thirties and outraged Ukrainians demanded a criminal prosecution.

Finally facing serious criminal charges, the Femen skipped town and set up in Paris where they have plush city centre offices and a “training centre” for their groups across the world.  Who is funding them now is a mystery. They certainly seem to have a sympathetic ear in Paris and applications for welfare benefits were said to be fast tracked.

Femen were inspired by another radical feminist group called Pussy Riot who first came to fame when they desecrated Christ the Savior,  Moscow’s largest cathedral, with an obscene punk prayer performance aimed at the Patriarch Kirill and Vladimir Putin. Three organisers were jailed in 2012.

Like Femen, the key Pussy Riot motivating force seems to be a demented hatred of Christianity in general and the Orthodox Church in particular. But It was the writer Israel Shamir who first pointed out that Pussy Riot’s prominent supporters from the Russian arts and media are overwhelmingly Jewish.

These include satirist and cartoonist Viktor Shenderovich, sociologist Igor Eidman, art gallery owner Marat Gelman, socialite and TV presenter Xenia Sobchak and TV station owner Alexey Venediktov.

Pussy Riot’s cause has also been aggressively taken up by a leading anti-Putin opposition group called the Union of Solidarity with Political Prisoners which is led by another two high-profile Jews, Garry Kasparov and Boris Nemtsov.

And yet another Jewish promoter and thought-leader,  Alek D. Epstein, has celebrated them in a publication called  “Art on the barricades: ‘Pussy Riot’, the ‘Bus Exhibit’ and the protest art-activism.”

“None of them is a practicing Jew,” wrote Shamir “but they apparently inherited their hatred to the Church from their forefathers.” Russian allegations that both feminist groups are effectively Jewish sock-puppets have been met with the usual spluttering outrage.

All of which has moved Israel Shamir to make the acid comment. “Russians proved that they care for Christ as much as the French care for Auschwitz, and this shocked the Europeans who apparently thought ‘hate laws’ may be applied only to protect Jews and gays. The Western governments call for more freedom for the anti-Christian Russians, while denying it for holocaust revisionists in their midst.”

Pussy Riot is also supported — in a circuitous route — by the Soros-funded National Endowment for Democracy. Could it also be that support of groups like Pussy Riot is part of a parallel Jewish strategy of debasement and corruption of Christian morality? As Professor Nathan Abrams in jewishquarterly.org /issuearchive/articled325.html?articleid=38 (now a hijacked site) wrote, the very prominent Jewish involvement in porn was a result of the “atavistic hatred of Christian authority” and a desire to “weaken the dominant Christian culture.” Is it so much of a stretch to view Jewish support of these groups as part of the same agenda?

If Femen has learned anything from Pussy Riot, it is to keep its source of funding hidden. But not all is well with Femen. Recently there has been mutiny in the ranks when Tunisian activist Amina Sboui quit the group after her questions about funding went unanswered. “I don’t know how the movement is financed. I asked … 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.”

The group were also attacked by their former Brazilian organiser in a dispute about allegedly mis-spent funds. The Brazilian woman, Sara Winter, said that Femen was not what it claimed to be. “Femen Ukraine works as a company or a marketing agency. It is not a social movement. They may have had real good intentions in the past, but nowadays it is entirely corrupted.”

She released a damning email chat in which the Ukrainian leader Inna Shevchenko complained about the sub-par appearance of the Brazilian girls. “(The protest) in the embassy was not sexy because the panties were too tight and the girls appeared to be fat. Be aware of that”, warned the Ukrainian to the Brazilian. (source Opera Mundi)

So has Femen slipped the bonds with their puppet masters? Or are they and Pussy Riot both part of elaborate NATO psy-ops operations to destabilize Russia and at the same time further a Jewish agenda of weakening the hold of the church?  Throughout the Cold War Western intelligence agencies funded an unlikely assortment of radical arts and feminist movements ranging from modern jazz, the New York intellectuals, experiments in LSD to the pop art of Jackson Pollock and Situationist street pranks that were said to have inspired the Paris riots of 1968.

One of the most interesting is the recruitment of Jewish feminist firebrand Gloria Steinem who helped pioneer feminist street demos in the bra-burning sixties. It is now known that she worked for the CIA via a string of Agency funded organisations, to promote left-liberal chic in opposition to the Soviet Union.  Steinem helped create magazines, attended Communist-sponsored youth festivals in Europe, published a newspaper, reported on other participants, and helped to provoke riots.

At any rate, the questions will continue to be asked.  In particular, why, after so many obscene actions do the Femen girls still seem to have free pass in the media to stir up hatred?  In England recently a man was jailed for more than a year for throwing bacon at a mosque after the killing of soldier Lee Rigby. The Femen women rarely get more than a slap on the wrist or a fine, and they face no movement restrictions or travel impediments.

So is the notion that the unhinged viragos of Femen is Western/ Jewish sock-puppet subversive so ridiculous?  No more so than the idea that the CIA-backed the LSD experiments of Timothy Leary or supported the Modern Art movement of Jackson Pollock.

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