Topless protest leaves Putin nonplussed
Russian President Vladimir Putin got more than he bargained for when, on a trade mission to Germany Monday, he and his security detail were stormed by five topless female protestors. While known to appear topless in public himself on occasion, none of his bare-chested photos have been of the protest variety.The activists, members of the Ukrainian protest group Femen, all had anti-Putin slogans painted on their backs. One of the protesters, Alexandra Shevchenko, told the Telegraph that her stinger, “F*** You Putin” was chosen “because it’s really simple.”
The clearly surprised Putin later told reporters that he’d received reports a protest might be in the offing. It is doubtful however, at least based on his initial reaction, that he expected something quite like this.
Femen has been highly critical of Putin for stifling freedom of expression. The arrest and conviction of members of the all female punk rock band ***** Riot has, in particular, drawn their ire. The group was accused of publically performing an anti-Putin song.
While German Chancellor Angela Merkel disapproved of the protest, she herself had earlier in the day chastised the Russian President for its crackdown on non-governmental organizations.
Nonplussed, Putin told German authorities they should be grateful to the girls for helping make the trade fair more popular.
If a protest is measured by the amount of press it generates, this one was an unqualified success. Media the world over have picked up the story