17 August 2012
krainian activists from the Femen movement have cut down a cross in central Kyiv in a gesture of solidarity with the members of the Russian feminist performance-art group Pussy Riot, on trial in Moscow.
The cross -- erected during Ukraine's 2004-05 Orange Revolution in memory of the victims of communism -- was located near the International Center for Culture and Arts in Kyiv. A topless Femen activist used a chainsaw to cut down the cross.
Femen said in a statement, "On the day of the sentencing, the Femen women's movement expresses its support and respect for its Russian colleagues from the group Pussy Riot. ... By this act, Femen calls on all healthy forces of society to mercilessly saw out of their heads all the rotten religious prejudice that serves as a foundation for dictatorship and prevents the development of democracy and women's freedom."
The three women from Pussy Riot have been charged with hooliganism motivated by religious hatred after performing what they called a "punk prayer" at a landmark Moscow church in February.
The women deny intending to offend believers, arguing the February 21 protest was part of a broad movement against Vladimir Putin's decision to return to the Kremlin as president for a third term.
A verdict is expected shortly.