Ukraine protest over NZ 'win a wife' competition prize

Activists of Ukrainian feminist movement Femen demonstrate in front of marriage registration office in central Kiev on 1 March 2011 The "win a wife" competition has angered feminists in Ukraine

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Ukrainian women's rights activists have held a protest over a New Zealand radio station's competition for listeners to "win" a Ukrainian wife.

Nine women protested topless outside Kiev's marriage registration office, holding banners with slogans such as "Ukraine is not a brothel".

The Rock FM announced the prize winner on Monday as a winemaker named Greg.

The competition has caused controversy in New Zealand too, but the station said it was just "a bit of a laugh".

"At the end of the day, it's up to both people if they decide to get married and return to New Zealand. We're not actually marrying anyone or bringing women back to New Zealand," Rock FM programme director, Brad King, was quoted as saying when the competition was first announced.

But the information about the competition on the website suggests the radio station had anticipated a reaction.

"It's actually going to happen. And oh boy are there going to be some people with their panties in a twist over this one," the website entry reads.

The competition winner is due to fly into the coal mining town of Donetsk on 23 March, before travelling to Zaporizhia, as part of a 12-night holiday in Ukraine.

As part of the prize terms and conditions, the winner chooses a woman from the Endless Love dating agency in advance.

The agency then arranges the holiday to Ukraine and brings the two together. The prize also includes such things as the use of a translator and a river cruise.

The website points out: "The prize does not include visa application or travel for the Ukraine woman to come to New Zealand, this is the responsibility of the winner and can be arranged through Endless Love Agency at an additional cost and will only happen with full consent from both parties."

The women who staged the protest in Kiev were members of the group, Femen, which campaigns against the targeting of Ukrainian women by international agencies that organise sex tours.

"Ukrainian women are not a commodity," the group's leader Anna Hutsol says.

"Femen warns the 'lucky' winner of the New Zealand competition that he can expect an unhappy ending in Ukraine," said activist Olexandra Shevchenko, in a statement on the group's blog.

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