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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Russian state TV employee fined for live anti-war protest

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An employee of Russia’s main state newscaster has protested the war in Ukraine on live TV. She was arrested for that action and now faces a year-long prison sentence.

It concerns Marina Ovsiannikova, who has been working for the Russian state channel Channel 1 for years. Footage shows how she storms into the studio during the news and stands behind the TV presenter with a poster in her hands. It reads in English and Russian, among other things: “Stop the war, do not believe in propaganda, they lie to you”. At the bottom, you can read “Russians against the war”.

Before her action, Ovsiannikova distributed another video on social media, in which she can be seen wearing a necklace with Russian and Ukrainian colors. “What is currently happening in Ukraine is a crime and Russia is the aggressor,” Ovsiannikova said in the video.

“The responsibility for this aggression rests with only one person: Vladimir Putin. My father is Ukrainian and my mother is Russian. They have never been enemies. Unfortunately, in recent years I have worked for Channel 1 and spread Kremlin propaganda. I am ashamed I am deeply sorry for that now. I am ashamed that I told lies on television and lied to the Russians. We, Russian people, are thoughtful and smart. It is in our power to stop all this powerlessness and stupidity.”

With her action, Ovsiannikova risks a prison sentence of up to fifteen years. Her protest is seen as illegal in Russia. This is because it is illegal in Russia to demonstrate against the war. A new law prohibits posting other than what the Kremlin prescribes. For example, it is not allowed to talk about an ‘invasion’ or ‘war’ in Ukraine.

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