I have long been a fan of feminism’s topless wonders —the Ukranian activists Femen, with their “sextrimist” manifesto, flowing locks, naked stunts and slogan-strewn bosoms. So, when I heard there was a new women’s movement flourishing in this region my interest was piqued. The Asgarda are a group of modern day warrior women who claim to be descended from the Amazons and spend their summers living in the mountains learning the only martial art specifically designed for women. It’s called Asgarda, hence the name. Armed to the hilt with a variety of lethal weapons such as pickaxes, chains and scythes, and dressed in fantasy warrior costumes, these are Girl Guides with attitude.
The Asgarda are the subject of a new film by Vice, which was presented and produced by Milene Larsson—an expert on this new wave of eastern bloc feminism, which encompasses the protest activities of imprisoned Russian female punk group Pussy Riot, Femen and the Asgarda. I met up with Milene, who has worked closely with Femen on previous projects, for a chat about the film and the time she spent at the Asgarda recruitment camp in the remote Carpathian Mountains in western Ukraine.
SK: Why has the Ukraine become such a centre for feminist activity?
ML: I can see why it might look like the Ukraine has become a hot bed of girl power, but it’s not that simple. The Asgard…