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Russian state TV’s Marina Ovsyannikova arrested, fined for live anti-war protest

Mar 15, 2022

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An employee of the Russian state TV station Channel One was fined 30,000 rubles for interrupting a live news bulletin to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 30,000 rubles equates to about $270.

Marina Ovsyannikova’s protests unfolded Monday night. She walked into the studio, held up a sign behind the anchor that read “don’t believe the propaganda, they’re lying to you here,” and shouted “no to war.”

“Russia is the aggressor country and one person, Vladimir Putin, solely bears responsibility for that aggression,” Ovsyannikova said in a video recorded before her protest. She then urged Russians to join anti-war protests.

After briefly disappearing, Ovsyannikova was taken into custody Monday night. On Tuesday, state investigators were looking into whether she could be punished under a new law that made actions aimed at discrediting Russia’s army illegal. That law carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. Instead, Ovsyannikova was only found guilty of organizing unsanctioned actions.

“It was my own anti-war decision,” Ovsyannikova said after leaving the courthouse Tuesday. “I made this decision by myself and I don’t like Russia start this invasion and it was really terrible.”

The Russian State TV employee’s anti-war protest caught the attention of officials on both sides of the conflict. In a video address late Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised Ovsyannikova.

“I’m grateful to those Russians who don’t abandon attempts to tell the truth, who are fighting against disinformation and who tell the truth and real facts to their friends, close and relatives,” Zelenskyy said. “I’m also personally thankful to that young woman who came in to the studio of the Channel One with the banner against war, to those who are not afraid to protest.”

Meanwhile, a Kremlin spokesperson dismissed the Russian state TV protest as “hooliganism”. He also pushed back against Ovsyannikova’s claim that Channel One’s programming is propaganda.

“Channel 1 is a trademark,” Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday. “Just like the presenters on that channel, it’s a trademark of a quality, timely, very accurate and objective information.”

Jimmie Johnson: THIS MOMENT ON RUSSIAN STATE T-V IS GOING VIRAL.
A JOURNALIST AT THE STATION – INTERRUPTED LIVE NEWS COVERAGE MONDAY TO PROTEST THE WAR. SHE HELD UP A SIGN THAT READ, “DON’T BELIEVE THE PROPAGANDA. THEY’RE LYING TO YOU HERE.” WHILE SHOUTING “NO TO WAR.”
THE BRAVE JOURNALIST HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED AS MARINA OVS-YANNI-KOVA.
SHE BRIEFLY DISAPPEARED AFTER THE STUNT AND THEN WAS TAKEN INTO POLICE CUSTODY.
A COURT FOUND HER GUILTY OF MAKING CALLS FOR UNSANCTIONED PROTESTS AND FINED HER 30-THOUSAND-RUBLES — THAT’S ROUGHLY 300-AMERICAN DOLLARS.
HER PROTEST CAUGHT THE ATTENTION OF TOP OFFICIALS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE CONFLICT.
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY PRAISED HER ACTIONS — SAYING HE WAS QUOTE “PERSONALLY THANKFUL” FOR HER.
MEANWHILE — A SPOKESMAN FOR RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN DENOUNCED HER ACTIONS AS “HOOLIGANISM”.


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