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Oksana Shachko of Femenvia Femen

Femen founder, artist, and activist Oksana Shachko found dead in Paris

The 31-year-old spear-headed the radical Ukrainian movement

Oksana Shachko, a founding member of provocative protest group Femen, an artist, and passionate activist, has reportedly died in Paris. 

According to RFE, fellow Femen co-founder Anna Hutsol confirmed Shachko’s death by apparent suicide on July 24.

“RIP. The most fearless and vulnerable Oksana Shachko has left us,” the Femen website reads. “We mourn together with her relatives and friends and (await) the official version from the police.”

The group detailed that the 31-year-old was found in her Paris apartment and had left a suicide note. Calling her a “heroine of our time”, the group added that she “fought against injustice, fought for equality, fought like a hero for herself and for other women.”

In 2011, Shachko was one of three demonstrators arrested for their topless protest against Belarus president Alyaksandr. She and the other protesters were taken by police, stripped naked and covered in oil. When protesting against Putin she was beaten by authorities. 

Femen, founded in 2008 in Kiev, is known for its direct action against political corruption, sexism, and homophobia – many of their protests include topless women. They protested at the Olympics, invaded Notre Dame Cathedtral, and previously set up a feminist training camp.

Shachko had been living in Paris since 2013, where she had been granted political refugee status. Working as a painter, her first solo exhibition took place in 2016, featuring Orthodox icons with a feminist, political lens.