Liana Klevtsova is a 19-year-old Russian from the Siberian city of Irkutsk. Although she is better known as a model, she is an aspiring photographer and is also a fashion designer. However, in recent months, Klevtsova has embarked on a new path – that of a political activist.
Klevtsova is the ‘poster girl’ of a small protest group ‘Golaya Pravda’ (Naked Truth). In a series of protest actions, members of the group used nude protests in an attempt to show their displeasure at the economic conditions in Russia.
The Golaya Pravda carried out its first protest in December 2014. In a campaign to protest at high mortgage rates, Klevtsova appeared wearing nothing but a pair of red stiletto shoes and holding a passport and mortgage contract in front of the local Sberbank branch. The advert stated: ‘I’ve paid off my mortgage’.
The message was that the government is forcing people to pay back so much that there is no money left for clothes to wear.
The second naked campaign shows Klevtsova filling up a large off-road car next to a half-dressed man filling up his little car. The photo shoot took place secretly at 3am. It was done to oppose the fuel prices. The theme was, ‘gasoline prices make us beggars,’ Klevtsova told this writer.
Klevtsova’s third naked protest was aimed at the cost of public transport, with three photos of her and a bus driver.
The first photo depicts a naked driver and a clothed passenger, Liana, with a caption that reads: ‘That’s how it was’. The second shows a naked passenger and fully dressed driver, and reads: ‘That’s how it will be.’ The final photo depicts both fully dressed, with the words: ‘That’s how it should be.’
As the fourth protest action, Golaya Pravda released a poster for the International Workers’ Day. It shows six figures. The left side shows representatives of different professions – a teacher in strict clothing, a soldier in full uniform and a doctor in her coat.
The right hand side shows the same faces in the half-naked form – perhaps including representatives of the sphere of sex services. The underlying idea was to convey that people would be attracted to ‘decent’ jobs if they were paid well in return.
Klevtsova says that protesting naked was chosen as the naked body attracts more attention. However, she said that she was not seeking mere popularity. She said that she found it a bit embarrassing to go nude in public, especially for the first protest action near the bank. There were a few people at that time on the streets. However, she overcame her embarrassment and faced the challenge, she said.
The activist says that although her team is small, some people support their action. “One does not need to be involved to support a protest,” she said. She acknowledged that certain people find it hard to support since the method of protest is unacceptable for some people. For example, her family thinks her protests are pointless and stupid, Klevtsova said.
Interestingly, despite her protest actions, Klevtsova does not seek the overthrow of the government. When asked if Russia can develop an effective opposition group, she said that there was no need to form such a group. “People must penetrate into echelons of power with ideas to improve the country”, she said. “It is necessary to combine the power of the people and the authorities in the joint creation of a strong state”, Klevtsova argued.