Topless Jihadis : Inside Femen, the world's most provocative activist group

A dramatic story of rage, revolution, and the daring young woman at the center of a new fight for the future of feminism. 

They came for Inna Shevchenko in the middle of the night—thugs sent by Ukrainian authorities to arrest the beautiful and angry young activist. When she jumped out of her apartment’s back window and into a speeding car, Shevchenko’s life changed forever. The 22-year-old, who had inspired the Russian activists Pussy Riot, fled to Paris and, almost overnight, built a movement that now spans Europe and beyond.

Femen—the self-ordained “shock-troops of feminism” and “the watch-bitches of democracy”—today boasts more than 5,000 members, with branches in 10 countries. It has quickly become the most provocative and daring activist organization in the world, thanks in part to its audacious topless demonstrations. Physically attacking world leaders, brawling with police, and enduring beatings and arrests in its militant fight against the oppression of women, Femen is impossible to ignore, but—until now—difficult to fully understand.

Granted extensive and exclusive access to Shevchenko and her inner circle in Paris and Venice, Jeffrey Tayler, The Atlantic’s longtime Russia correspondent, takes readers deep inside the movement and paints a powerful, revealing portrait of the women waging an urgent, angry battle to shape the future of feminism.


Jeffrey Tayler is a contributing editor at The Atlantic and has, since 1993, reported from Moscow for publications including National Geographic, Harper's, Condé Nast Traveler, Smithsonian, and Men’s Journal. He is the author of seven books, including River of No Reprieve and Facing the Congo, which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

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