Fine for editor
Russian TV protestor escapes severe penalty
A television editor who staged an audacious on-screen anti-war protest during Russia’s most popular news bulletin has escaped severe punishment.
Marina Ovsyannikova interrupted the news show live on air by waving a placard denouncing the war behind newsreader Ekaterina Andreeva.
Ms Ovsyannikova was arrested shortly after her stunt and was held for over 12 hours in an undisclosed location amid fears for her safety and concern that she could have been handed a long jail term.
The authoritarian regime has brought in a new law which punishes “public dissemination of false information” about the invasion of Ukraine. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the protest as ‘hooliganism’.
However, in a surprise move, she was granted legal counsel and later given a 30,000 rouble fine – equating to just £210.
Ms Ovsyannikova’s protest gained worldwide publicity and sympathy, with some describing her actions as courageous.
The channel has been transmitting anti-Ukrainian and anti-Western rhetoric, but Ms Ovsyannikova was able to move freely around the studio and interrupted the news programme by waving a placard telling viewers: ‘Stop the War! Don’t believe the propaganda. They’re lying to you here!’
In a video recorded prior to her arrest she explained that she has a Ukrainian father. Before her protest she said she was ashamed to be peddling the Kremlin’s lies.
“What’s happening in Ukraine is a crime and Russia is the aggressor. The responsibility for this aggression lies with one man: Vladimir Putin.
“My father is Ukrainian, my mother is Russian and they were never enemies.
“Unfortunately, for the last few years I’ve been working for Channel One. I’ve been doing Kremlin propaganda and I’m very ashamed of it – that I let people lie from TV screens and allowed the Russian people to be zombified.
“We didn’t say anything in 2014 when it only just began. We didn’t protest when the Kremlin poisoned Navalny. We just silently watched this inhuman regime.
“Now the whole world has turned away from us, and ten generations of our descendants won’t wash off this fratricidal war.”
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky praised her show of defiance.