Russian live TV protester may face further charges for her antiwar 'stunt'

Russian live TV protester may face further charges for her antiwar ‘stunt’


The courageous editor at a popular Russian state-owned television station who interrupted a nightly news broadcast on Monday may face further fines and charges

Marina Ovsyannikova stormed onto a live TV news broadcast in protest against the war in Ukraine, holding a sign in support of Ukraine that read “no war:  don’t believe the propaganda, they are lying to you here,”  shouting remarks against Russia. She then went missing for almost 24 hours. 

She told journalists she was held without access to lawyers or her family for more than 14 hours.

On Tuesday night, Ovsyannikova reappeared in a court in Moscow with lawyer Anton Gashinsky, where she was issued a 30,000 roubles (AUD$390) fine.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has publicly praised her actions. The Kremlin called the act “hooliganism”. A spokesperson issued a warning, saying “The channel and those who are supposed to will get to the bottom of this.” 

“As far as this woman is concerned, this is hooliganism,” Dmitry Peskov said.

Before being fined, a source from Russia’s state-run Tass news agency said the Russian Investigative Committee, the main federal investigating authority in the country, launched an inquiry on Ovsyannikova and announced that “the woman is currently in custody”.

“A preliminary inquiry is being conducted regarding Ovsyannikova to determine whether her actions constitute a crime under Article 207.3 of the Russian Criminal Code (‘Public dissemination of deliberately false information about the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation’).” 

State investigators are currently assessing whether Ovsyannikova will face prosecution under a new law created by Putin where Russians who declare the invasion of Ukraine as a ‘war’ or spread what the Kremlin considers ‘fake’ information may face up to 15 years in jail. 

A friend of Ovsyannikova’s told The Guardian that her friend had confided in her about the stunt before it took place.

“The anger has been building up with her ever since the war started,” the friend told The Guardian. “Two days ago, she told me how she was going to do it.

“Like someone who has been working for the state, she was extremely scared of the system and losing the life she built up. Until last night.”

Before her act of bravery on Monday night, Ovsyannikova recorded a video message where she said, “What is going on in Ukraine is a crime.”

She describes being “ashamed” to work for Russian media and that “I allowed myself to tell lies from the television screen.”

“I am very ashamed. I am ashamed that I’ve allowed the lies to be said on the TV screens. I am ashamed that I let the Russian people be zombified.”

According to the BBC, Ovsyannikova’s fine on Tuesday was for the anti-war video she produced — she had not yet been charged for her live TV protest. 

“It was my anti-war decision,” she told reporters. “I made this decision by myself because I don’t like Russia starting this invasion. It was really terrible.” 

Image: Kommersant Photo Agency/REX/Shutterstock


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