Ukraine: Lviv feminist group Bilkis harassed by fascists


Patrick Le Tréhondat

December 5, 2022

For several days, the Lviv feminist group has been campaigning against the liquor brand Drunk Cherry, which displays a nude woman on its bottle labels.


The feminist group explains their campaign as follows, "Yesterday [Saturday 26 November] we held a rally near one of П'яна вишня's [Drunk Cherry] locations[1]. We were with posters "Stop sexualising women", "The female body is not your advertisement", "Boycott the sexists", and an activist painted a man in the style that П'яна вишня sees women, that is,  naked and with a cherry. Our demands are unchanged : no to the representation calling for violence and no to the sexualisation of women. Unfortunately we are not heard. So today we continue our fight and demonstrate again in front of the same establishment from 3pm to 5pm, join us!"

Bilkis organised weekend rallies in front of one of the Drunk Cherry shops in Lviv. But in the week following one of these rallies, the fascist group Katarsis issued threats against Bilkis in view of his mobilisation on 3-4 December 2002 and Bilkis immediately reacted:

"However, we must warn you: the other day we received a message from Katarsis. We believe that this is a call for intimidation. Therefore, we want to warn you that there may be provocations or attacks during and after the mobilisation. And we know that activists from Katarsis or similar organisations may attack activists after the action. For us, these intimidations are not a reason not to have actions, because this is exactly what they are trying to achieve. But we don't want to put you in danger, so honestly we are warning you about the situation.

Katarsis is a neo-Nazi group with a strong street presence that publishes personal information about left-wing activists. Its Telegram channel has 135,000 subscribers, mainly neo-Nazis and fascists, and its active activists are numerous. Maxim, a left-wing activist in Lviv, told us "It sucks because they posted a lot of my personal data".


On Saturday 3 December, Katarsis was present at the Bilkis rally and there was a mini clash between an activist from Sotsialnyi Rukh (Social Movement) and a Nazi. The next morning Blikis said: 'On Saturday 3 December we organised a street action for the third time in front of one of the establishments of The Drunk Cherry. Katharsis supporters also came with their posters: 'Nudes are cheap', 'leave the woman naked and send the radicals to the front'. These are the lies and manipulations in the public space that are engaged by those who are for discrimination in advertising. Very imperial, because these are the mechanisms of Russian propaganda. We are still surprised by the arguments of the proponents of sexism and rape culture. So come to the mobilisation today Sunday from 3 to 5 pm!"

The Sotsialnyi Rukh (Social Movement) on Sunday morning said:

"Drunk Cherry is known for its terrible treatment of workers' rights, corruption and the parroting of gender stereotypes. The demonstration on 3 December attracted attention on social networks and raised questions about the right to free demonstration during the war. There were no immediate threats of physical violence from anti-democratic ultra-right youths, but an attempt to "catch" activists after the mobilisation had ended. In addition, unidentified young men who came to the rally took pictures and carried fake posters in order to discredit the activists."

On Sunday, December 4, Bilkis activists were again present in front of the shop with their sign from 2pm to 5pm (by -1 in Lviv). The fascists were there too, but due to the presence of the police, things went well. Bilkis had organised a live on instagram of the picket.

Monday morning December 5, taking stock of their mobilization, Bilkis declared:

“Yesterday, we held our mobilization in front of one of the Drunk cherry establishments. Despite provocations from right-wing youth and some negative comments from passers-by, we had incredible support both on the streets and on our social networks this weekend ! The police present tried to explain to us that there is no sexism and discrimination at Drunk cherry. One of the officers even urged passers-by to visit the store. In total, we organized 4 mobilizations. We remind you that these actions took place within the framework of the international action of 16 days of active action against gender-based violence. Violence against women must be completely eradicated from our society!”


[1] A brand of liqueurs in Lviv whose bottle labels show naked women. On its website, the brand says "every housewife in Lviv made this liqueur and every young woman knew this taste. It has been helping to find love since the 17e century." PLT