Russian journalist who protested invasion of Ukraine by holding up a banner in live TV broadcast has been detained by the country’s police, lawyer reveals
- Ukrainian-born Marina Ovsyannikova was dubbed ‘bravest women on television’
- 43-year-old was detained by Russian police on Sunday and location is no known
- Mother-of-two interrupted Kremlin broadcast shouting: ‘They are lying to you’
A Russian journalist who protested the invasion of Ukraine by holding up a banner during a live TV broadcast has been detained by the country’s police, her lawyer has revealed.
Ukrainian-born Marina Ovsyannikova, 43, dubbed the ‘bravest women on television’, was detained by Russian police on Sunday and her location is unknown.
The mother-of-two famously stood up to Putin’s propaganda machine by interrupting a live broadcast clutching a sign that read: ‘No to war, stop this war – propaganda lies to you’.
She was arrested and fined after shocking viewers of Russia’s state brainwashing organ Channel One by jumping in front of the camera with a large placard and shouting anti-war slogan.
In a message on the journalist’s Telegram account, her entourage said: ‘Marina has been detained. There is no information on where she is.’
Ukrainian-born Marina Ovsyannikova, 43, dubbed the ‘bravest women on television’, was detained by Russian police on Sunday and her location is unknown
The mother-of-two famously stood up to Putin’s propaganda machine by interrupting a live broadcast clutching a sign that read: ‘No to war, stop this war – propaganda lies to you’
In April, she was hired by German media outlet Welt as a ‘freelance correspondent’ to report for the Welt newspaper as well as for Welt’s TV news channel, including from Ukraine and Russia.
Welt is the respected flagship publication from the Axel Springer publishing group, with a daily circulation in Germany of around 180,000 and is most similar to The Daily Telegraph.
Welt Group editor-in-chief Ulf Porschardt said that he was excited to be working with Ovsyannikova, adding that her on-air protest ‘defended the most important journalistic ethics – despite the threat of state repression.’
‘At a crucial moment, Marina Ovsyannikova had the courage to confront Russian viewers with an unembellished view of reality,’ he went on to say.
Ovsyannikova made international headlines when she stormed a live broadcast at the state news station where she was a senior producer, shouting: ‘They are lying to you’.
The transmission very quickly cut to a different segment and Ovsyannikova was detained and arrested.
She disappeared for a number of days and the worst was feared for her as the Russian parliament had only just passed a new law punishing journalists with 15 years in jail if they did not toe the Kremlin’s line.
Marina Ovzyannikova with her lawyer Anton Gashinsky at the hearing for her case after she had been detained and arrested for her on-air protest, in which she was ultimately fined £227
Through this law Putin has strong-armed independent media outlets into referring to a ‘special military operation’ instead of a ‘war’ or ‘invasion’ and denying mass casualties.
In the end she was only handed a £227 fine by a Russian court – a mere fraction of the retaliation expected, sparking a number of theories about the true nature of her protest.
Some of those theories range from Ovsyannikova being a plant by the Kremlin to her being a ‘British spy’ by the head of news at Channel One.
Ovsyannikova has remained in Russia after her arrest and fine, seeming to have dodged the worst of state retaliation, but she told Reuters last month that she was worried for her safety and hoped her protest would open Russians’ eyes to propaganda.
She has continued to describe what Russia insists is a ‘special operation’ in Ukraine as a war and invasion, risking further wrath and a potential 15 year jail sentence.
Some of those theories range from Ovsyannikova being a plant by the Kremlin to her being a ‘British spy’ by the head of news at Channel One . Pictured: Russian President Vladimir Putin
In her first report for her new employers earlier this year, she spoke about petty persecution she has faced since the protest.
Her membership of a swimming pool was revoked, a pet shop refused to supply her with dog food, and she found her car with all four tyres deflated and a flat battery.
During an interview with American media, the 43-year-old journalist also said had turned down French President Emmanuel Macron’s offer of asylum because ‘she is a patriot’ and wants to live in Russia.
‘I want to say to everyone, the Russian people are really against the war,’ Ovsyannikova told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week. ‘It’s Putin’s war, not Russian people’s war.’
‘[It] was a spontaneous decision for me to go out live on air, but dissatisfaction with the current situation has been accumulating for many years because the propaganda on our state channels was becoming more and more distorted,’ she added.
Her status as a senior television editor at the Channel One station meant she was able to get access to the broadcasting centre to make her protest
‘I came to work and, after a week of coverage of this situation, the atmosphere on the first channel was so unpleasant that I realized I could not go back there.’
Ovsyannikova said she thought of assisting an anti-war protest at Moscow’s square – likely referring to the city’s Red Square – but quickly realized being jailed was going to be ‘rather useless.’
‘I decided maybe I could do something else, something more meaningful where I could attract more attention and show to the rest of the world that Russians are against the war,’ she said on Sunday.
‘I could show the Russian people this is just propaganda, expose this propaganda for what it is and maybe stimulate some people to speak up against the war and I was hoping that my performance in a way would help people change their mind,’ she added
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