Ukrainian Women's Sex Boycott Against Russian Men

Ukrainian women's sex boycott. "Don't give it to a Russia" logo and slogan.

Ukrainian women's sex boycott. “Don't give it to a Russian” logo and slogan.

In the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, talk of international sanctions, it seems, has become just another humdrum fact of European politics. That could be changing, however. This week, a creative boycott began in Ukraine that is drawing the attention of Russian Internet users. Ukrainian women are organizing a new campaign called “Don’t give it to a Russian”—a sex embargo against Russian men. The effort complements a larger boycott against Russian consumer goods, which even features some billboards along highways throughout Ukraine.

The sex boycott already has its own line of t-shirts, all carrying the official logo: two hands clasped together, creating a shape that suggests an open vagina (see above). There is also a slogan: “Don’t give it to a Russian!” followed by a verse from Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko’s 1838 poem “Kateryna”: “O lovely maidans, fall in love, but not with the Moskaly [the Russians].”

One March 23, Russian Internet users began circulating a photograph of opposition figure Valeriya Novodvorskaya wearing the sex boycott t-shirt. Novodvorskaya, who is notorious for her strange appearance and for promoting conspiracy theories, is Russian, but many online were ready to believe that a Russian oppositionist would join the boycott in solidarity with Ukraine against the Kremlin.

Russian parliament member Robert Shlegel, for instance, tweeted the image, with the following commentary:

With one photo, Valeriya Novodvorskaya has killed the entire Ukrainian sex-boycott at its core. :)

As it happens, the image is photo-shopped. The photograph comes from an interview Novodvorskaya gave in July 2013 on Russian-Israeli relations (hence the Israeli flag in the background). Someone with exceptional editing skills produced the boycott t-shirt version, leading to the avalanche of mockery and bad public relations online.

What you can do with photo-shop, apparently.

What you can do with photo-shop, apparently.

Right now, the Facebook group dedicated to the sex boycott has just 156 members, but the campaign has gone viral among Russian Internet users, who have widely circulated a photo of two women wearing the official t-shirts (see below). Unsurprisingly, most of the Russian netizens responding to the boycott are men keen to crack sexist jokes about the effort. Egor Prosvirnin, chief editor of the Russian nationalist website Sputnik & Pogrom, wrote on Facebook about the sex embargo, calling its participants prostitutes. Many others on LiveJournal and elsewhere have made the same joke.



Poster girls for the sex boycott?

In fact, the two women in the photograph above are prominent professionals (and not of the “oldest” variety). There is Katerina Venzhik (left), chief editor of the news website Delo.UA, and Irina Rubis (right), CEO of the business web portal Ekonomika Communication Hub. The photograph is from March 21, 2014, at an event by Delo.UA, where Venzhik announced the finalists in the website’s “Top 100 Businesswomen of Ukraine” competition. Rubis attended, where she and Venzhik posed for a few photographs. In one picture, both women wore the sex-boycott t-shirts over their clothes.

The concept of a sex boycott is at least 2,425 years old. That, anyway, is how long ago the Greeks first performed Lysistrata, a comedy about the women of Greece withholding sexual privileges from their husbands and lovers to force an end to the Peloponnesian War. The play was written seven years before Athens lost that war.

Hopefully, a kinder fate awaits Ukrainians seven years from now, in 2021.


  • Анон Аноныч


  • fabiano

    Бразильцы любят по-украински, дем для нас, российские мужчины хотят заниматься сексом со стволом ружьями

  • Mark

    Great to see the debate on Ukraine rising to such a mature level; I guess we can give that Ukrainian argument “I don’t hate the Russians, I just hate their government” the consideration it deserves; which is to say, none.

    Here we have Ukrainian schoolchildren being educated about Stepan Bandera’s heroic struggle against the Moskali.

    Good luck with the EU, Ukraine. Maybe they will buy all your products that Russia used to buy, but I doubt it. Did you know that every year since 2003, Ukraine has run a trade deficit with the EU? That means that every year since 2003, Ukraine has bought more goods and services from the EU than the EU has bought from Ukraine. Kind of hard to turn a profit as a nation that way, don’t you think? In the second quarter of 2013, which was only average, it amounted to €2.55 Billion more in the EU’s pockets than Ukraine sold to the EU.

    Just by way of contrast, Russia regularly ran a trade deficit with Ukraine, buying more in goods and services from Ukraine than it sold to it. Not to mention one of Ukraine’s biggest exports to the EU was gas, which did not come from Ukraine but from Russia, through Ukraine’s pipeline network. Once the South Stream pipeline is complete and joins the already-in-service North Stream line, Russia’s entire gas delivery to the EU can be accomplished without going through Ukraine. Bye, bye, more euros. But you can comfort yourselves with how cute your T-shirts are.

    Maybe you can introduce a lined winter version, to keep you warm when the inside temperature is the same as outside. Oh; and make it fireproof, too – you’ll probably be burning the kitchen table for heat.

  • The Moose

    You all should get honorary doctorates in Rhetoric for your movements! I know
    you would never choose to abandon your fertile soils and beautiful wheat
    fields to the hordes, but consider this invitation.
    If “Putzin the Grifter” and his hooded little green
    men plunder more of your country, we invite you to vote with your
    feet and immigrate to the USA. Sometimes it’s best to retreat and fight another
    day. We have a very liberal immigration policy for political refugees. You
    can bring your whole family! Diversity has always been America’s best
    asset. The Ukrainians I know here have always been the best. In the
    meantime keep up your resolve and we’ll turn up the pressure.

  • Alex

    Your hate spreads conflicts! Your love spreads peace!

    • Javi puss-able

      Love and divorce brings you closer to the west fresh as a lark isn’t it Love??
      I never hated anyone but disliked at times. just choosy”!

  • […] This article by Kevin Rothrock was originally published by Global Voices Online, a website that translates and reports on blogs from around the world. […]

  • Andrej Sedow

    Very soon in Ukraine…

  • […] The initiative borrows its slogan from the Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko’s 1838 poem, Kateryna: “Fall in love, O dark-browed maidens, but not with the Moskaly [the Russians],” according to the news site Global Voices. […]

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  • […] Sanctions just got real. Ukrainian women are urging others to “fight the enemy by whatever means” by boycotting sex with Russian men. Global Voices reports: […]

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