This photo-essay at Planet magazine of a purported "new tribe of Ukrainian Amazons," shot by French photographer Guillaume Herbaut, is receiving a lot of attention online. The magazine article is the only source I see for the following background on the women in these photos:
In the Ukraine, a country where females are victims of sexual trafficking and gender oppression, a new tribe of empowered women is emerging. Calling themselves the "Asgarda", the women seek complete autonomy from men. Residing in the Carpathian Mountains, the tribe is comprised of 150 women of varying ages, primarily students, led by 30 year-old Katerina Tarnouska. Reviving the tribal traditions of the Scythian Amazons of ancient Greek mythology, the Asgarda train in martial arts, taught by former Soviet karate master, Volodymyr Stepanovytch, and learn life skills and sciences in order to become ideal women. Little physical documentation existed on the tribe, until recently, when renowned French photographer, met the Asgarda back in 2004 in the midst of the Orange Revolution.
Is this the official Asgarda website? Does anyone know more about them? Are they a cult? A lesbian martial arts club? A planned community? Or manufactured narrative for a sweet series of photos by some French dude in an art magazine? I was inclined to think the whole thing was a hoax, like the "motorcycle ride through Chernobyl" hoax that made the blog rounds years ago, but maybe that's because a tribe of noble Ukrainian girl-warriors sounds too awesome to be true in this cold, cruel world.
[[Editor's note: I was the Electronic Frontier Foundation's first-ever European Director, which was a crazy and amazing job at a time when the organization was much smaller; now EFF is much bigger, and international issues are a much bigger deal for us, with bad policy ideas ricocheting around the globe and needing a coordinated response; […]
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