France - Russia - Ukraine

Femen protester fined for stabbing Putin waxwork topless

Femen's Iana Jdanova impales the waxwork of Vladimir Putin on 5 June
Femen's Iana Jdanova impales the waxwork of Vladimir Putin on 5 June AFP/Eric FEFERBERG

A French court has fined a Ukrainian member of the topless protest movement Femen 6,000 euros for stabbing a waxwork of Russian President Vladimir Putin with a stick with “Kill Putin” scrawled across her chest.


Iana Jdanova, 26, is the first member of the feminist group to be fined in France for staging one of their signature topless protests.

On 5 June the self-styled “sextremist” went to the Heads of State room of Paris’s Musée Grevin waxworks, took off her top and stabbed the Russian president’s waxwork with a red-pointed stick while shouting “Putin dictator!”

The court fined her 1,500 euros for sexual exhibition - the first time the French legal system has judged Femen’s bare-breasted demonstrations to be sexual in nature – and ordered her to pay the Musée Grevin 3,004 euros for material damage to the waxwork, 1,000 euros for causing offence and 500 euros in legal costs.

Jdanova came to France two years ago from eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists are in conflict with the government in Kiev.

"It is very strange, it is really a joke," she said after sentence was passed. "This is the first time that we have been sentenced for exhibition. This is our way of protesting, I have done it in Ukraine, in Turkey and it is the first time."

She claimed that far-right French nationalists, including Marine Le Pen’s Front National, support Putin and that some have gone to support the pro-Russian militias in Ukraine.

Her lawyer Marie Dose said they would appeal the decision and take it to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary.

"In a society like ours where exhibition for commercial purposes is everywhere, a sentence for exhibition sends a political message," she said. “It is nonsense.”

French supporters of this year’s Euromaidan protests in Kiev were in court to support Jdanova.

Former Femen member Eloïse Bouton was to face court in Paris on sexual exhibition charges on Wednesday afternoon following a topless protest against the Spanish government’s proposals to restrict abortion rights in Paris’s Madeleine church.


Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning

Keep up to date with international news by downloading the RFI app